Guitars Over Guns Founder & CEO Chad Bernstein Named CNN Hero


Chad Bernstein, Founder & CEO of Guitars Over Guns, has been named a 2015 CNN Hero in recognition of his efforts to empower at-risk youth through mentoring and music education. CNN profiled Dr. Bernstein and his work with Guitars Over Guns in a segment which was broadcast on April 2, 2015.



Every year, CNN honors “everyday people changing the world.” From artists and activists to teachers and changemakers, CNN Heroes work hard across disciplines to make a difference in their communities and around the globe. Chad’s leadership, compassion and commitment to transforming the lives of at-risk youth in Miami make him the perfect CNN Heroes nominee.


“Music is the most important tool we have in reaching these kids,” Chad told CNN’s Marissa Calhoun in an interview. “My hopes for the children that we work with are that their vision of the world and their vision of themselves is changed in some way.”

Here at Guitars Over Guns, 90% of our students have improved their academic performance and school attendance since joining our program. It’s clear that Chad’s vision for this organization has had a major impact on young lives in our community.

“I am extremely humbled to be recognized in this way by CNN Heroes. I share this accolade with all of the inspirational mentors, team members and students involved with Guitars Over Guns,” said Dr. Bernstein. “I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve collectively accomplished, or more appreciative of our team. If not for them, we would not be able to make such a positive difference in so many lives through the transformative power of music.”

Our Community Impact:

  • Guitars Over Guns has mentored more than 240 students since its launch in 2008.
  • In the last two years alone, the program has worked with 126 students, of whom
    • 92 percent saw an increase in their grade point averages
    • 97 percent improved their school attendance.
    • 99 percent of those suspended from school prior to their participation avoided further suspension after joining.

Guitars Over Guns seeks to replicate these results in other cities across the country. In October 2014, the program kicked off its “Second City” partnership with the UCAN Academy on the West Side of Chicago, the oldest—and among the most highly regarded—youth trauma centers and therapeutic day schools in the Midwest.

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