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January 22, 2011

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January 22, 2011

Giving our youth a positive program such as Guitars Not Guns, allows them to seek a positive after-school experience that not only keeps them off the streets and out of trouble, it also gives them the opportunity to discover and develop a talent they may otherwise have never known they had. The Guitars Not Guns program not only teaches them how to play a guitar, it even provides them with a guitar so that they can continue to play even after they have outgrown the classes. This is a wonderful way to keep children engaged in a positive activity and keeps them away from gangs, drugs, guns, etc. at no cost to the child or family.

The Great!

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

As a volunteer and donor, I not only helped keep children in a positive environment and away from gangs, drugs, guns, etc., I also witnessed the pride they felt when they mastered notes and songs.

Ways to make it better...

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

I have no changes. It is a wonderful organization!

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

Guitars not Guns is a wonderful all volunteer non profit that helps kids by teaching them music, guitar, and self esteem. It gives them a place to go and a wonderful skill to learn and fall in love with. It affords them a respite from the normal world and an alternative to finding trouble in the streets. Children who study music do better in school and in life. Music, like all the arts, expands the mind and lifts the spirits. This is a very worthy cause that could use all the help it can get!

The Great!

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

I have volunteered to help with this program at a street fair and in promoting it on the web.

Ways to make it better...

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

Get many more volunteers helping to make it happen and grow bigger

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

I'm the lead instructor for the Contra Costa County, California Chapter of GnG and its California Vice President, but titles hardly matter. This organization can change lives.

We focus on foster kids, at-risk youth and other special children. You won't hear a lot about us even though
we never turn down and opportunity toi promote the organization. We provide guitars and beginning guitar lessons and no kid is turned away due to lack of funds. Why? Because we provide opportunity to the child victims of our society - children of women in a domestic violence safehouse; kids at a church or Boys & Girls Club in a gang-riddled area; youth in a homeless. mentally or physically disabled housing shelter, a group foster home. We do not seek publicity - we only ask the you help in what has been an incredibly rewarding altruistic endeavor. What we provide is solace through music and music instruction. In California none of our volunteers are paid and it is much the same with chapters in the United States and in Canada.

This organization is about heart with the hope that a better, engaged populace will deter individuals from destructive behaviors endemic to their environs and situation. The kids are taught responsibility for their instruments which are loaned to them. If they successfully complete the two month course they get to keep the guitars that are loaned to them. The kids are eight to eighteen years old and taught by volunteers of up to 12 students at a time. Most continue to play and there is evidence that many improve in school and has redirected at-risk youth.

The Great!

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

For about 5 years I have helped teach in the organization and have helped the organization access it target students. I have also recruited the volunteers who provide the lessons, seek grants, fundraise or otherwise volunteer to help us. The positive impact is not just upon the kids it is also upon the volunteers.

Ways to make it better...

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

Obttain sufficient funding to ensure every foster child, at-risk or special needs kid could have the opportunity to learn to play the guitar.

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

GnG is an amazing organization, and the particular chapter of which I am a member has an amazing back-story. A dear friend of mine was lost to gun violence at a young age. His kindness and talent with music will never be forgotten, and Guitars not Guns provides an avenue for such tribute to the unfairly departed.

The Great!

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

Elementary schools, where donations have been provided to sustain the music program.

Ways to make it better...

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

More awareness.

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

I have been a volunteer for this organization to help bring the arts and music to at risk underserved kids in Eastern Contra Costa County including the city Richmond, CA, which has a very high rate of violence, drugs, murders, shootings, and gang activity. We are trying to provide these kids with a positive outlet for their energy and steer them away from these destructive activities and into more positive and life affirming activities and to show them that someone actually cares about these kids. A lot of them are from foster homes, split up families, and/or being cared for by relatives due to their parents being unable to care for them, due to drugs, jail, etc.

The Great!

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

We also have received good media exposure and write ups in local newspapers, internet and magazines and have pictures from the graduating classes and even have some of the kids have gone on to produce their own music as well as some becoming teachers. Music and art can change peoples lives for the better and gives them more self-esteem and promotes creativity in a positive way.

Ways to make it better...

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

Expand it even further.

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

Volunteering for GnG is immensely satisfying for me. Quite simply, I love what they are doing. The most gratifying time I've ever spent volunteering my time has been at a Boys & Girls Club after school program as a class monitor with GnG. I don't even play guitar but that didn't hold me back from a guitar-based charity. I love coming to the classes once a week, getting to know the kids and helping the guitar teachers with their classes. It's exciting to see the kids recognize chords and remember how to play a song. The charity is an outstanding way to get into the community and help kids learn a new skill. It's also been fun to attend some of the outdoor music festivals, helping to sign up new teachers and finding new places where GnG can set up new classes. I have met a lot of musicians and non-musicians who are excited about the program.

The Great!

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

I have attended several program end ceremonies at the Boys & Girls' club in Alexandria where the students have earned recognition for their accomplishments. At the end of the sessions, the kids take a test and if they pass, they get to keep their guitars. So it is very exciting to see them receive recognition and their guitars in front of their moms, dads, grandparents, and siblings.

Ways to make it better...

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

I would like to see GnG be invited into more public or private schools' after school programs. I would love to do classes on Saturday mornings.

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?

A lot

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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

Gained self confidence, made some new friends

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Proud, happy

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

It is truly an uplifting and wonderful experience to see these kids, whose stories are not always what we would hope for them in their young lives, learn that they can make music, enjoy playing with along with their friends and accomplish the basics of playing guitar through practice and study. It is a pleasure to see them succeed and show their excitement over passing their test and earning their guitar. One particular student whose handicap is a serious learning difficulty and whose fingers and hand strength prevented her from forming chords or even playing a 3/4 size instrument would not give up. Repeated the class and is now using a slide with good success to make her music - she is presently helping another student, learn the fundamentals she now knows so well. I am proud of her efforts and desire to play music and not give up.

The Great!

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

The results I've seen are mixed - some kids are moved around a bit and need to go to another location where they can continue in a class. The kids I've seen who do well appear so pleased for having learned to play - that is what I enjoy most about teaching.

Ways to make it better...

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

Recognize that some classes need to allow more advanced students to teach other newer students rather than rely only on the class teacher for all instruction. This is an organizational matter and means that a minimum of two adults or class monitors are needed when a class should be broken into sections and continue to give beginner and advanced students the time they need to learn some new chord or picking pattern.

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

This organization really captured a sentiment of compassion and sharing for the sake of spreading love, the essence of music. Guitars not Guns

The Great!

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

seeing how they get others excited about making music.

Ways to make it better...

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

Get more dedicated members to join.

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

Guitars Not Guns became a part of my life when a friend of mine was murdered. We called Aaron the "Guitar God" at school. He was an enormously talented musician with a passion for singing and playing the guitar. The chapter of GnG that we, his friends and family, formed in his memory has helped those who loved him carry on his passion for music and giving nature by raising funds to provide guitar lessons to kids. When I think about what this charity does for at-risk children, providing them with a healthy activity, one-on-one time with a positive role model, an outlet for personal expression and creativity, and a skill they can be proud of, I also know that Aaron's memory is being kept alive.

The Great!

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

the satisfaction of knowing the organization as a whole helps at-risk children through giving them the gift of music

Ways to make it better...

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

have more people involved!

January 21, 2011

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January 21, 2011

I belong to the Aaron Brown chapter of Guitars Not Guns, a memorial chapter for a friend of mine who had the deepest love for music of all of my friends, and the greatest heart I've ever met. This organization couldn't have been a better match to help remember my friend and promote his legacy. Though I had little direct experience with the organization, I can tell you that from the little experience I had, along with the experiences I've heard from others in our chapter, this group is one of the most dedicated, genuine, and compassionate non-profit groups I've probably ever heard of. They're unique mission is unparalleled and potential is astronomical. I only expect great things from this organization and wish them the best.

The Great!

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

I'm not sure what this is asking.

Ways to make it better...

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

I would publicize this organization more because it has so much potential but is not known as well as it should be for the benefits it reaps in the communities.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

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Be a speaker at Kiwanis, Rotary,Optomist clubs and many other places. We furnish the script and DVD for a 30 minute presentation. Volunteer