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54 Reviews
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January 31, 2012

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1 previous review
January 21, 2011

I have been volunteering with guitars not guns as a teacher and as the President of our DC Affiliate in Washington DC. The results are amazing. The students come each week eager to learn, eager to pla... more

January 31, 2012

“One of the most important things that we can do as a society is to include music in our local communities. We can reach across the divide of cultures with music. We can bring forth change with music. We can and we must embrace the power of music. It is a very important thread in the fabric of our consciousness as a society.”- Gregg Hammond 2011 interview with Bittersweet Magazine Guitars Not Guns is an all-volunteer and donation based non-profit with no paid employees. It comes from our hearts and our desire to make our city a shining example of what we can do around the nation and around the globe. I taught a class at a therapeutic day school. Here is what the principal said about the program. From: Bellamy, Bettye
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 2:47 PM
To: Lopez, Julia
Subject: Guitars not Guns Program Statement

The Guitars not Guns Program was introduced to students at Rock Creek Academy last year(2009) as an avenue for inner city, urban students to explore options to the proliferation of violence among youth in Washington , DC . Rock Creek Academy is a therapeutic day school for students with learning and emotional disabilities. When told about the program, initially, I was hesitant to embrace it because my thinking at the time was that our students probably would not be receptive because they would not be learning ‘gangsta rap’ or “hip-hop.” After exploring the inner landscapes of the Guitars not Guns Program, I agreed to move forward and introduce it to our students. By all means, it is probably one of the best decisions that I have made as Principal of the high school program at Rock Creek Academy .

Our student participants are eager and enthusiastic about their weekly adventure. Other students are trying to get into the program. I have had the pleasure of observing our participants. Their faces tell the story. Expressions of joy and accomplishment permeate the room. Often students will let you know emphatically that the program is lots of fun. As an educational administrator, the essence of the educational process should be fun. This unique and wonderful program has allowed our special needs population an opportunity to learn how to play the guitar while they are engaged in concept building and the acquiring of a variety of learning skills. The Guitars not Guns Program is a tremendous asset to Rock Creek Academy .

Bettye A. Bellamy, Ed.D.
High School Principal
Rock Creek Academy
Challenging Minds and Building Character

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

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

January 21, 2011

I have been volunteering with guitars not guns as a teacher and as the President of our DC Affiliate in Washington DC. The results are amazing. The students come each week eager to learn, eager to play. I feel blessed to be part of making a difference in the lives of children who would not have the opportunity to play music and believe in themselves if it were not for this program. The fact that the students have the opportunity to earn their guitar is very rewarding to them. I see the smiles and hear the laughter each week and it warms my heart. This program is one of a kind. Worth all the hours of time volunteering. Rewarding to both students, and teachers. A plus!



Gregg Hammond Washington DC

The Great!

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

The principal of the school I teach GnG classes for wrote a testimonial about the program: The Guitars not Guns Program was introduced to students last year as an avenue for inner city, urban students to explore options to the proliferation of violence among youth in Washington , DC . Our school is a therapeutic day school for students with learning and emotional disabilities. By all means, it is probably one of the best decisions that I have made as Principal of the high school program

Ways to make it better...

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

I would like to see it expand to global proportions and I am working on avenue to do so.

January 25, 2012

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1 previous review
January 21, 2011

I had been a math and art teacher in the public schools for decades. After I retired, I returned to my music for a new career. During one evening's performance I learned about Guitars Not Guns. This w... more

January 25, 2012

This is my second year volunteering as a guitar teacher for GNG. Although I have played for half a century, and taught math, science and art in the schools, teaching guitar is a new challenge. Today's kids have no culture of traditional song and finding that connection has been an education for me. It is truly pleasing to have students actually returning week after week to pick up tips and learn to play. I see a real need fulfilled for all of us, students and teachers alike.

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

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

January 21, 2011

I had been a math and art teacher in the public schools for decades. After I retired, I returned to my music for a new career. During one evening's performance I learned about Guitars Not Guns. This was the outlet I had been looking for; a different teaching opportunity, a new way to reach those kids whose lives might not be as free and easy as my own. I have thoroughly enjoyed the program, it has all the elements necessary for sound music instruction at no cost to the families. It gives kids a chance to begin a hobby that they can lean on in tough times. Perhaps some day one or two may find true respect and happiness in music.

The Great!

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

There is a real joy in seeing kids come to the next session having spent time with the guitar and improved their playing during the week.

Ways to make it better...

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

The greatest difficulty is the sheer number of students sharing the same space. We need to spread ourselves into more rooms so we can hear and teach. We also need cheap tuners to give the kids so they can keep their instruments in tune between sessions.

January 29, 2011

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January 29, 2011

Under less than ideal conditions Guitars Not Guns works with kids who desperately need a positive outlet and source of creative inspiration in their lives.

I've attended a public performance of a group of six Guitars Not Guns students - some mentally and physically disabled even - and
these kids thoroughly impressed the scores of other students, parents, and teachers in attendance.

I also attended a small graduation ceremony where a separate group of students received certificates recognizing their attendance and accomplishments in the Guitars Not Guns program.

This kind of public recognition is a powerful thing in the lives of these kids, even if they never pick up a guitar again.

The Guitars Not Guns works in such a variety of ways to improve the outlook for these kids, it is something that should be supported and implemented everywhere.

Photos

The Great!

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

At the public performance, I've personally witnessed the great pride these kids had in their progress in learning the guitar and the ability to showcase a unique talent to their peers, teachers, and parents. The smiles say it all.

Ways to make it better...

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

Like anything else, this organization is in need of volunteers and money to make things happen on a larger scale and help more people. It is run by a single tireless individual, spending his personal time and money to drive the effort forward. Given the results driven by this one person, one can just imagine what could be accomplished with more resources.

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

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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

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.

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