FAIRMONT — Shardinae Adams wants to make a positive impact on kids in Marion County, and her music career is one outlet for that mission.
Adams makes rap music under the name TK Blockstar, but two years ago, she used the platform to collect backpacks and distribute them to hundreds of kids in Marion County, which she said was one of the most fulfilling impacts of her career.
“Resources aren’t the same right now,” Adams said. “Good things promote other good things; positivity breeds positivity.”
On Saturday, Adams will distribute more than 1,000 backpacks to kids in the county, through help from other musician friends as well as the Marion County Commission. The distribution will take place at Palatine Park and will function like a drive thru similar to the Connecting Link food drives held in the same location.
“TK and her crew will be set up under the pavilion and will hand out book bags to every kid who comes through in a vehicle,” Marion County Administrator Kris Cinalli said via email. “We’re basically going to do what the Connecting Link does for their food giveaways.”
Adams said she is happy to be able to supply so many backpacks this year, because the coronavirus pandemic hit a lot of people hard financially. Being in an area like Marion County, saving money on backpacks and school supplies could make a difference to many parents.
“It’s important right now, unfortunately because of COVID-19,” Adams said. “We are in kind of a poor area. With COVID, I feel like we got affected the worst because we’re already on the low end. So I’m happy that we were able to triple from 300 to 1,000.”
To Adams, it is important to talk to the kids she sees as well, because she wants to be a source of encouragement for those who may be underprivileged.
“First and foremost I ask ‘How are your grades,’” Adams said. “I let them know how important education is. Whether you like it or not, take it serious, because it does matter, you learn a lot of responsibility.”
Cinalli said Adams’ work to provide for the kids in the county has provided aid to hundreds, soon to be thousands after Saturday.
“I’d just like to thank her for agreeing to come and do this event,” Cinalli said. “We had to scale it back so much to meet the current guidelines that it really speaks to her character and how passionate about this she is that she didn’t just cancel the whole thing.”
According to Cinalli, there were originally plans to make an entire event out of the distribution day, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented this possibility. Still, though, he said the distribution alone is an important initiative for the county.
“At the end of the day though, it’s very important that we still do this for the kids and that they receive encouragement going into this school year, especially with everything going on,” Cinalli said.
Adams said she is looking forward to next year, when she hopes to give out even more backpacks and even have some kind of event around the distribution. She encouraged kids who get backpacks this weekend to say hello so she can offer words of advice.
“It’s all hands in, I would like everybody to get involved,” Adams said. “All in all, it’s about the backpacks, but really I want to give the kids a good time, that’s what it’s about for me.”
The backpack giveaway begins at noon Saturday, and cars can line up at Palatine Park beforehand.