Jaguars linebacker Ryan Davis believes that if you're going to give back to the community, you should do it in a big way.
The Tampa native says that is his plan for the second annual "Back to School Bash" in his hometown.
The event, which takes place at his childhood middle school, offers free food, games and school supplies to students in the Tampa area.
Davis has a strong desire to give back to his community and has targeted education as his area of focus. The Bethune-Cookman alum wants to help prepare Tampa students for the upcoming school year and beyond.
“It was very important for me, having seen a lot of guys come through there,” Davis said. “My cousin, who is a rapper [in Tampa], he had little block parties and stuff like that, so that inspired me to give back to the part of the neighborhood that essentially raised me.
Davis understands the power of education, especially in a profession that offers limited opportunities.
“[Education is] very important to me, especially as an athlete,” Davis said. “I left college without completing my degree initially in 2012. I know football doesn’t last forever, so I made a promise to myself that I’d go back and finish and that’s what I did in 2014. I’ve always held education in a high regard, without it you basically limit yourself and the possibilities you want to achieve.”
Davis has achieved quite a bit since earning his degree in 2014. He is now entering his fifth season with the Jaguars and recently got engaged with a baby on the way.
“It makes all the difference in the world,” Davis said. “I know a lot has changed within a year, but that’s just prayer working out. It’s prayer and hard work really. I’ve been blessed to be in Jacksonville and start my family now, so for me, I just want to keep it going and improve next year.”
The 27-year-old is living his dream on and off the field and by giving back to his community, he is helping others achieve their goals. While he is happy to help those in his hometown, he has bigger aspirations in mind for future charity events.
“My dream is to expand this to Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami,” Davis said. “Those are all places I frequent. Sometimes I like to go hangout in certain cities, so I feel like if I can hangout and party in certain cities, I can definitely try to go down there and give back.”
The "Back to School Bash" will take place Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Dowdell Middle School. No signup is required and all are welcomed to attend.