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....
“Fore” a Good Cause

“Fore” a Good Cause

by Josh Flanders, Director of Development As the new Director of Development, I am thrilled to have recently joined the Guitars Over Guns family. Our 2nd Annual Jimmy Ranoha Memorial Golf Tournament at the picturesque Pine Meadow Golf Course in Mundelein was a huge success! The picture-perfect day featured 18 holes of golf, followed by a delightful evening of music, dancing, delicious food, and amazing auction packages, including a 3-bedroom vacation home on St. Johns island and a 3-day stay at an oceanfront resort at the Mandarin Oriental Canouan, raising over $75,000! Friends of Guitars Over Guns danced to music by The Shades featuring our very own Andrew DeMuro, mingling with friends, and getting fun pictures in our photo booth. Board President Bob Bernstein introduced the Guitars Over Guns team, including Andrew our Regional Director, who shared memorable words about the impact of our music mentorship programs and the dynamic, creative youth who tell their own stories through music rather than rely on the “single story” the media perpetuates about youth in Chicago. He also shared an incredible video montage featuring music videos produced by youth at all three of our Chicago program sites in 2018! Ricardo Flores, a Guitars Over Guns mentee and rocking bass player, received the “Gimme a Jimmy” award in recognition of his accomplishments during four years in our program, as a supportive and positive force with other youth, and as a future leader. Ricardo joined The Shades onstage for the first time ever, followed by Chad on trombone and the legendary Augie Haas on trumpet. Ricardo is now a freshman in high school and...
Friends, French Fries and Philanthropy

Friends, French Fries and Philanthropy

by Chicago mentor Adam Stein Adam here, one of the Guitars Over Guns mentors. Not only have I been privileged to see my Evergreen Academy students grow musically and maturely, but I have also felt myself grow. My confidence as a leader and strength as a representative of this organization have become, unforeseeably, life-changing. To confirm my growth within the organization, I was recently asked to accept a donation on behalf of Guitars Over Guns – a true honor and an incredible reassurance that I was in the right line of work. The sugar on top was accepting this donation with one of my best students, Ricardo Flores, by my side. The donation was an incredible gift from Röhlig of four custom-built guitars. Awesome! A little unsure and apprehensive, we walked through the hall of Chicago Athletic Association, and there we found Röhlig’s team-building event. It was an honor to strut through alongside Ricardo and Chicago Regional Director Andrew DeMuro, as well as fascinating to see this type of production. Andrew explained our mission to the group, and I shared a few words. Finally, Ricardo shared a moving story that had the room silent…and a bit choked up. In retrospect, this process was much easier than I expected because of how passionate I am about this organization. Furthermore, it is easy to talk about something you love and effortless to promote a business that is looking out for the youth in your city. When your boss and your students are also your close friends, it never feels like working. Nothing is more rewarding. Before we officially left, Ricardo had...