Mentor Institute 2019

Mentor Institute 2019

Our mentors are the backbone of Guitars Over Guns. These guys give their time, talent, and hearts every single day to uplift and inspire youth through the power of music education. So when our entire mentor crew convened at Camillus House this week for our 2019 Mentor Training Institute – some coming all the way from Chicago, some repping their home turf right here in Miami – it was so much more than just a workshop among colleagues. It was a reunion of friends and family with so much passion and talent to share.  Our team took part in a series of lectures, team-building games, and hands-on training exercises to get them ready to serve 800+ youth this coming academic year. We learned about supporting students through challenging times, supporting one another in the work that we do, and how to build a learning environment that is engaging, inclusive, and welcoming. The activities culminated with the highly anticipated presentation of our annual “Mentor of the Year” Awards, presented to our incredible team members Pinqy Ring (Chicago) and Sierra Shaw (Miami). Congratulations! Finally, on Wednesday, August 7th, we gathered at Wynwood’s Veza Sur Brewing Co. for a happy hour gathering filled with lots of love and laughs, as our Chicago and Miami families celebrated their accomplishments this week and prepared to say farewell until next year. We’re so proud of this amazing crew and can’t wait for an exciting school year dedicated to empowering youth through...
The Experience of a Lifetime

The Experience of a Lifetime

On April 15th and 16th, nearly 80 students from our program sites across Chicago came together for our First Annual Regional Recording & Music Video Project! Students from Evergreen Academy Middle School, Beethoven Elementary, Sawyer Elementary, CICS Lloyd Bond Elementary, and the Guitars Over Guns Haven Studio at Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church had the opportunity to professionally record and film one epic music video with the support of AT&T’s Believe Chicago initiative. Creating an original mash-up of the hit songs Sunflower by Post Malone and Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara, our students convened at Fort Knox Studios, one of Chicago’s largest music production facilities, with the incredible video team from Tall Tale Productions on site to capture our students’ vision. With their mentors there to cheer them on, our students laid down a truly rockstar track, and wowed the production crew with their professionalism, talent and exuberance.  We’re so grateful to AT&T for investing in Chicago’s youth. Believe Chicago is an AT&T employee initiative to improve lives and lift 19 Chicago neighborhoods most affected by gun violence and high unemployment. By focusing the company’s people, hiring, services and contributions, AT&T strives lift these neighborhoods and help residents find opportunity they deserve to succeed in education, careers and life. For many students in our program, this special experience in a professional recording studio is an avenue toward exploring potential career paths and opportunities within the music industry that will inspire their future decisions. For all of our students, it’s a memory that will last a...
2018 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report on Guitars Over Guns Guitars Over Guns Organization is grateful for the tremendous individual and institutional support during 2018. Founded in 2008 by Dr. Chad Bernstein, Guitars Over Guns has employed over 60 professional artists and musicians to provide positive outlets of expression for over 3,000 students throughout under-resourced neighborhoods in Miami and Chicago, establishing its reputation as a leader in arts education and mentorship. By providing high-quality music instruction, community-based performance opportunities, and meaningful relationships between professional musicians and youth, Guitars Over Guns is on a mission to cultivate the next generation of empowered students, artists, and local leaders. Highlights of the 2017 – 2018 school year Led by 40 professional musician mentors, Guitars Over Guns provided mentorship for more than 700 youth in 24 unique programs at 16 school and community sites during the 2017 – 2018 school year. Affirming its commitment to community engagement as well as building camaraderie and teamwork among students, the youth bands performed in 80 community performances, 60 in Miami and 20 in Chicago. For the second year, Miami held a graduation at Marlins Park on May 29, 2018 featuring live performances with hundreds of youth, mentors, and beloved family members celebrating their accomplishments. New Partnerships The Children’s Trust in Miami awarded Guitars Over Guns with its first million-dollar grant ($1.5M total; $300,000/year for five years). Social Venture Partners (SVP) Miami welcomed the organization as a Member of their 2017 Investee Cohort, awarding them with $100,000 plus pro-bono expert support from SVP’s partners over a 3-year period. Repair the World (RTW) began providing coordination as well as ongoing support...
Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a Legacy

by Julie Fouts, Events Co-Chair, Chicago R.I.S.E.   On Saturday, January 12th, our Evergreen Academy Middle School alumni took the stage at Martyrs’, a well known and highly attended music venue in Chicago. Martyrs’ has a lot of history. Their stage has been graced by the likes of Jack Johnson, Spoon, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Beck and Andrew Bird, just to name a few. Now add The Legacy to the list.   The Legacy is a group of eight top-notch high school students, all graduates of Evergreen Academy Middle School and the Guitars Over Guns after-school program. They have since parted ways during the day to separate high schools, but come back to their roots once a week after school to practice together. And these kids ROCK.   This group works tirelessly on their craft. Not only do they come in to jam out and fine-tune their musical skills; they are also giving back to their own community. They spent the month of July developing and refining their leadership skills, and now come into the after-school program weekly to serve as peer mentors and guide the current middle school students through their own challenges.   The event that Saturday was electrifying, with over a hundred guests. They played some hits like “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and “Come Together” by The Beatles. They had so much energy throughout the whole performance, and set the tone for the other bands – BRUCE, Spacebones and Bully in the Hallway. But best of all, this event was put on with Guitars Over Guns in mind....