I have volunteered and supported this charity for a couple of years. It is an incredible orginization and has the most awesome people working for it. The most inspiring thing I have done outside of my family in my life.
Guitars not Guns is one of the truly great nonprofits. It targets the most disadvantaged, damaged, and vulnerable children in the communities it serves such as; foster children, children who been in detention, and children can't function in regular schools. It is an after school music program that is free and provided entirely by volunteer teachers. In fact, the whole organization is volunteer. The children are lonely guitar in giving eight weeks of lessons. If after that period of time they've learned six chords and name the parts of the guitar they get a brand-new Yamaha guitar. But much more important, is that once they become involved with the music they undergo an amazing transformation. They become focused, able to concentrate and no longer disruptive. They are living proof that music heals.
Not only are GNG NCA's outstanding and serving a unique and needy clientele, the organization goes to great lengths to ensure all donations go to the programs. I will continue to support GNG NCA and believe in them so strongly I am personally promoting them during my office's CFC fundraising month.
I have seen first hand what music and guitar playing can mean to youngsters and in particular troubled kids. I teach guitar at a Special Ed school with physically and emotionally handicapped children. To see and hear them progress from children who will not speak or look you in the eye to singing and strumming in their school talent shows, playing Happy Birthday for their Moms or making up their own verses to When the Saints Go Marchin' In, has been a special reward for me. What a joy when you tell them they have Earned thier guitar. GnG is truly a worthwhile organization.
I think Guitars Not Guns NCA has an extraordinary mission and an extraordinary history. I first became involved in it after the tragic death of Aaron Brown in 2006. In response to his death, his parents asked that we donate to Guitars Not Guns based out in California, and the donations were so massive that they saw a place for GNG in Virginia. This eventually became GNG National Capital Area. I was one of those first donors, and to this day I am impressed with the depth and breadth at which this charity has grown. I believe it currently has over 300 students, making it one of (if not the) largest branch of Guitars not Guns. All of this in six years! This charity reminds me of the St. Francis of Assisi quote, “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” While we might only help 300 people a year, we change their lives irrevocably, and that is the true power of Guitars Not Guns.
I have supported Guitars not Guns by sponsoring a grant from the Kiwanis Club each year. We are delighted to be able to fund this marvelous and unique after-school program. We know that when you contribute to the life of a child, it's a game-changer! Music is skill for a lifetime.
I have been volunteering with GNG for the past year, and I have to say that the impact it has on kids is great. They are so, so proud of themselves when they learn something new and they become more outspoken and confident as the year goes on. Learning a musical instrument is an excellent source of confidence for a young student and they think it's cool to say they can play guitar. I would love to see GNG expand and be able to reach more students and provide more for them as the years go on and as students level of experience goes up.
I was part of the original management team that brought GnG to the metropolitan DC area and I still volunteer nearly fully time with the organization. It has been a rewarding experience to work with the hundreds of volunteers that have served our program over the years and to see the positive impact our program has had on the youth we serve. You'll find more reviews about us on our parent organizations guidestar page - search for Guitars Not Guns.