Stillwater Martial Arts hosting back to school drive

Jordan Bishop/Stillwater News Press Students at Stillwater Martial Arts pose behind the supply drive table. The business has done the back-to-school drive the past few years and is accepting supplies until Saturday, but will take later donations.

Alex Evers is willing to do whatever it takes to help the youth of Stillwater.

Evers, the owner of Stillwater Martial Arts, has been having a school supply drive the past few years to help out kids who might not have the means to be prepared for school starting back up.

With the new semester right around the corner, Stillwater Martial Arts and the Stillwater Kids After School Program have been asking students or parents to bring an extra pencil or box of crayons to drop in the tub.

Evers had a good response every year that the business, located at 824 S. Main St., has had the supply drive.

“I put it up on Facebook and we have quite a few shares and quite a few likes,” Evers said. “We have people bringing stuff in. We have two bins in the front that are semi-full and then we had some backpacks we are getting so we can stuff everything in. Our after school building is right next door and it has supplies too.”

Evers, an Oklahoma State University graduate and Stillwater native, opened the business about six years ago and it’s hard for him to believe that they have enough students now to make the drive successful each year.

There has even been an impact made in Enid, where a sister studio opened up recently.

“This is the first year we have done it there,” Evers said. “Enid was just getting a lot of stuff, so many donations. Stillwater is a week later from their schedule so when we started doing it here, we wanted to outdo those guys in Enid.”

Stillwater Martial Arts is taking pretty much any type of school supplies until Saturday, including things like rulers, binders, glue sticks.

“We have kind of a list, but common items like crayons, notebooks, pencils, erasers,” Evers said. “All of that kind of stuff. We have been encouraging our students that when they are out and about, getting their back to school stuff, to grab an extra box of crayons and drop it in the bucket when they come by for karate class. There are a lot of kids who don’t have that equipment to be successful.”

The company has a good relationship with the schools over the years thanks to things like the supply drive and the work Evers and his staff – Lauren Sneed, Craig Nichols and Trenton Barnes – do with their students.

Since he opened up the studio, the number of kids involved have doubled every year with Evers and crew picking them up after school and providing a good place to learn karate and use their energy in a positive way.

“I love doing it and I feel like there is a need of kids activities,” Evers said. “If your kid is here and having fun sweating and exercising, they are not out doing something they don’t need to be doing something they don’t need to be doing so it is a win-win all around.”

Although Evers doesn’t get to see the smile on a kid’s face who perhaps wasn’t able to get supplies, he feels happy that his studio helped in some way by providing kids like that means to have a good school year.

“When I go to the schools, they are really grateful because even if they don’t have a lot of kids, which I assume they do, then it can be extra stuff for the teachers,” Evers said. “… For me, when I am buying supplies, I am fortunate enough where I can just grab another notebook and donate that to a kid. It has been good. Everyone is always really helpful and polite.”

Even if someone brings something by after Saturday, Evers will make sure it gets taken to the school.

“I am in pretty close contact with the school,” Evers said. If anyone is interest in donating, we would love to have as many donations as possible going to the kids who might not have the stuff they need.”