Second-grader Tyj'Wan Robertson said he's excited about getting back to class this school year; but Saturday, he enjoyed the last couple of days of summer vacation by eating hot dogs and getting his arm painted.


“I'm having fun playing with my friends and playing kickball,” he said at the Free Riders Motorcycle Club back-to-school event at Perry Park.


The event featured hundreds of local kids who received school supplies, played kickball and enjoyed snacks before they go back to school on Monday.


In addition, several local officials attended the event, including Sgt. Dave Flanders with Aiken Public Safety.


In between serving up helpings of popcorn and snowcones, Flanders explained that participating in the event gives the officers a chance to interact with the community.


“It lets the kids and parents know that we support education and that we're willing to help them out anyway we can,” said Flanders.


In addition to the Motorcycle Club, another local group, True to Your S.O.L.E., also held a back-to-school giveaway on Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Aiken.


There, several hundred parents, kids and community leaders gathered for more food, drinks, fun and inspirational messages to kick off the school year.


The group gave away 100 free book bags and school supplies to all of the kids in attendance, as well as several pairs of shoes to the lucky raffle winners.


Group founders Denzell Washington and Marcus Schoultz said the feeling of being able to give back in such a big way meant the most to them.


“We just thank God for the opportunity to serve the CSRA,” said Schoultz. “We wanted to show that a few hours of our time can mean the success of the next generation.”


“We wanted to show the kids that you can do something positive. And like Marcus said, it's just a blessing for us to be able to do something this big for our community,” Washington added.


Derrek Asberry is the SRS beat reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the paper since June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.