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January 28, 2011

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January 28, 2011

I have volunteered with GNG for almost a year now. I taught music as a chorus and band director for 4 years in NC and was looking for a way to be involved in music education once I relocated to DC. I have been impressed with the organization and the clear focus of its leadership; it is easy to volunteer because of the consistent dedication of the DC president and the continued commitment and support by the school and the students. I feel honored to be part of an organization that positively supports students in school by capitalizing on student interest and creating success that then multiplies into success academically and socially in many areas of these students' lives. On a personal note, I am proud to take part in each of these students' lives; they are polite, hardworking, creative, interesting, passionate and inspiring.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have watched the students continually improve their guitar skills weekly throughout the program. There are even 'graduated' students that returned for a second year and they are becoming quite accomplished guitarists! Of great importance as well, the students gain confidence and an outlet of self expression through this program. We sometimes have improv freestyle 'rap' or 'spoken word' that is both sincere and inspiring (and enlightening regarding how the students are making sense of their world).

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It is organized so well and the school is very supportive of the program, the volunteers, and the students. I would provide more financial support for guitars and other accessories. It would be great, for example, if the kids had tuners to keep once they have 'graduated' and learned how to tune their instrument on their own.

January 26, 2011

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January 26, 2011

The growth is this program in the National Capital Area is astonishing, from around 25 participants in 2006 to now more than 300. The program is based on a great idea, to provide opportunities that otherwise may not exist for at-risk kids to learn to play a guitar. Learning music whether it is the guitar or any other instrument provides so many more benefits than just learning the instruments. This program builds self-esteem and provides an alternative path rather than one that is self-destructive.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

witnessing a kid that was on the path to self-destruction change his life through music. I've seen him perform in "open mike" night at a coffee house and heard him perform original songs.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

no suggestions

January 26, 2011

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January 26, 2011

A coworker and guitarists challenged me to volunteer in the GNG program and I took the challenge. Instructing small groups of little fingers and hands moving up and down their new guitar neck together making music was beyond my expectations. To hear boys dreaming of playing with there buds and girls strumming and singing a new song takes one back to the beginnings. Success means practicing and that takes time and that time keeps them focused along with a weekly commitment to attend the lessons. Witnessing the smiles and claps from parents and friends of these young musicians upon graduation is the reason GNG does impact my local community and needs your support as well..

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Instructing the young kids to understand the guitar as a instrument and then enjoy the benefits of plays songs that bring a joy the there hearts.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get the word out to the community for support and have more local musicians be aware that they can volunteer of the program for the youth.

January 25, 2011

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January 25, 2011

My name is Barbara Gorin, and I am VP of Fundraising for the Contra Costa County (California) chapter of Guitars Not Guns. I have such a deep passion for this program, and the benefits I have seen first hand for the deserving kids that we help to make music a part of their lives. I am proud to be part of this program, and anything I can do to help make it grow and help get recognition is a goal in my life.



I have been very fortunate in getting some International exposure for this program, specifically, the April 2010 issue of Guitar Player Magazine, where I was interviewed about my involvement with this wonderful program. I am greatful to be part of such a wonderful organization, and the great volunteers I have met along the way.



I was also given an honor for my volunteer work with this program by Diablo Magazine called the "Threads of Hope" which recognizes volunteers in our community that help make a difference. I am so thankful for the recognition of such a wonderful award.



I am also very greatful for the sponsors I have met along the way that help our program by donating strings, picks, guitar cases, straps, and other items we are great need. Without the support from these companies and the music community, and our volunteers, we would not be able to continue.



Thank you Ray and Louise Nelson for creating such a beautiful way to help kids make music a part of their lives. I will continue to dedicate my life and passion for music and kids to this fantastic organization and will continue to make you proud. Thank you!!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen kids on the first night of our 8 week class be very shy and withdrawn, but after a few weeks, they run up to me and with such excitement. I have seen the positive results of helping kids build confidence with encouragement and love. I am proud to have made a difference in these kids lives through music.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wish I could donate more time to this program to help spread the word, but my day job that I have been working for the past 23 years limits my time. I just wish I personally had more time to dedicate and help this program continue to grow

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

I wish we had a budget for promotions. All of the money we raise goes to buy guitars for the kids. If there was a budget to help promote, we could get more exposure. I try my best to get everything for free, but sometimes, that is not possible.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

This program help me realize that deserving kids who are at risk youth, need to have a positive outlet and through music is an awesome way. I have met some wonderful people along the way.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

The satification I get from seeing the smiles on the kids faces each week during our 8 week class, and at the graduation is worth a zillion dollars! I see how happy we make these kids, and the feeling is like no other.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

January 25, 2011

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January 25, 2011

Guitars Not Guns is agreat organization. They introduce music through guitar playing to at urban youth at risk of gun violence. Music not only gives them an alternative to hanging out on the street, where trouble lurks around every corner, it also gives them the unique satisfaction of having created something that truly makes the world a better place.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have watched young adults experience the joy of learing how to play a musical intstrument.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make this program accessible to all youth, not just those at risk from gun violence.

January 24, 2011

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January 24, 2011

I have taught for GnG and it is an exemplary program. There is nothing better than hooking kids on the power of music making.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

students returning week after week.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide sound systems for the teachers.

January 24, 2011

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January 24, 2011

Fantastic charity. GnG has played a significant role in my life ever since I stumbled upon its website three years ago. It has changed not only the kids who were helped through it but me as well. Some of them I honestly believe will continue their music, a thing they would have had no access at all to had it not been for GnG, but I know that just being given the opportunity to try was huge for all of them. I'll never forget my experiences with those kids and I hope to spread this organization to other places around and encourage anyone else who wishes to do the same.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own life and in how the kids took such a high interest in the music.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it bigger so that more kids could enjoy this amazing charity.

January 23, 2011

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January 23, 2011

I have volunteed with the DC Chapter of Guitars Not Guns on numerous occasions, performed at fundraisers,etc. and I will firmly attest that this is a great cause, and provides sorely needed access to music for an underserved community.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the kids reactions.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them more resources,human and fiscal.

January 23, 2011

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January 23, 2011

I have been teaching guitar for 4 years at Philips School, a special ed. school in Annandale, VA. The children at Philips are handicapped in many different ways: physically, emotionally and economically.

GnN provides starter guitars (from Gibson) free to any students who learn basic
guitar knowledge such as parts of the guitar, tuning and playing some chords.

My goal has been to get the kids playing a few chords and singing some fun songs. I've had some success with the teaching them songs like Happy Birthday and some carols which I encourage them to take home and sing to and with their families. Some of the stories of their efforts has been my reward.

Their progress varies greatly but their enthusiasm does not. A couple of the students have performed on stage in their school talent show. A couple have developed and written their own songs.

A student named Michael has hands that are severely physically impaired. I got him to be able to form a G chord and taught him a couple songs he could strum along with the other kids. Pretty soon this shy and reclusive teen was singing with gusto and a great big smile that melted my heart.

I shall never forget my student Mary who passed away over a year ago. Mary was a troubled and frail young teen, with nails chewed to the quick, and other signs of emotional distress. She was working on learning You Are My Sunshine and Happy Birthday so she could surprise her Mom. She rarely missed guitar class. She suddenly got sick and never recovered. Philips School dedicated a small garden plot on the school grounds to Mary. I was invited to sing and play at the dedication with Mary's parents and Grandparents in attendance. I played Over the Rainbow and You Are My Sunshine and her fellow guitar students and many of Mary's teachers sang along.

Life is short. GNG is touching childrens lives, individually, for the better. Please help them make a difference.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

see above

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

upgrade the quality of guitars for the students that really improve and show an interest in prgressing.

January 22, 2011

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January 22, 2011

Everyone who has the joy of music in their lives knows its power to "tame savage beasts" in all of us. This non-profit group embodies that power by aiming to bring instruments to inmates and help be parto f the road to permanent rehabilitation.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The bassist who plays with me most regularly is a recovering drug addict, homeless person and was formerly incarcerated. Much, if not most, of his energy is now poured into music. We all will reap benefits when people are encouraged to reenter our society (from prisons) with options for productivity, creativity, and personal expression.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give them more financial and personal support.

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