Co-Founder / CEO
Chad Bernstein is a husband and father of four amazing kids, the co-founder of Guitars Over Guns, and a professional musician who has been instrumental in the evolution of the “Latin Funk” sound of Miami. Through the universal language of music, Chad galvanized the artist community to use music as a bridge to reach and empower Miami and Chicago’s most vulnerable youth.
Chad received a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami in 2012, turning the focus of his academic studies to Guitars Over Guns in his dissertation, “The Effectiveness of Music Mentoring for At-Risk Youth Through the GOGO Program,” published in 2012. This paved the way for Guitars Over Guns’ research-based methodology and set the stage for Chad and his father, Bob, a Chicago investment professional, to collaborate on the organization’s creation in 2008. Chad took on Guitars Over Guns as a full-time career upon graduating (while continuing a rigorous performance schedule) and was named CEO in 2012. Today, Guitars Over Guns has a $2,000,000 budget with 90 musicians serving nearly 1,000 students a year in 30 sites between Miami and Chicago. In April of 2015, Chad was honored as a CNN Hero for his work and has since been featured on the Steve Harvey Show and in People Magazine. Most recently, Chad received the Ruth Shack Leadership Award, an honor held in Miami’s highest regard.
Chad remains one of South Florida’s premier Latin, jazz, and funk artists. While trombone remains his primary instrument, he also plays conch shells, sousaphone, and keyboards with multiple bands. He performs most prominently with the Latin Grammy-nominated Spam Allstars, with whom he has toured throughout Europe and the U.S., and the highly popular Miami-based Latin-funk band, ¡Suénalo!, the inspiration for Guitars Over Guns. He has also worked with Pitbull, Shakira, will.i.am, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Chaka Kahn, John Legend, Phil Ramone, and many more.
Chad is currently serving his second term as a Governor on the board of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), where he co-chairs their Education Committee. In addition to his work with The Spam Allstars and ¡Suénalo!, two groups that have pioneered Miami’s signature Latin-Funk sound, Chad also works with James Brown’s long-time musical director, Pee Wee Ellis, and Latin pop star, Jencarlos Canela.
Chad released his first full-length CD, Suite for 2nd Lieutenant, in 2012, an original body of work he wrote in dedication to his brother, Max Bernstein, upon his first deployment to Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine Corps combat platoon leader. He released that CD after his brother completed his very distinguished service as a Captain and Company Commander in 2014.
Chief Operating Officer
Jono De Leon earned a Master’s degree in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami in 2011 after joining Teach For America in 2007 to help close the achievement gap for high-need students in Miami-Dade County. He joined the Guitars Over Guns family in 2012, acting as a mentor, Site Coordinator and Director of Education before stepping into his current role as Chief Operating Officer.
During his eight years in the classroom, Jono co-founded a guitar program that reached over 2,000 students. He pursued several leadership roles within his school community, serving as the Activities and Athletics Director and the Enrichments Department Chair. From 2011-2015, De Leon was also Director of the Museums and Communications Magnet Programs, planning and overseeing the implementation of magnet curriculum through academic and enrichment courses, and co-facilitating all countywide recruitment efforts along with the school’s International Baccalaureate program.
Passionate about civic engagement, Jono is an active member of the Miami chapter of Miami’s Next Leaders – an organization focused on training and engaging our nation’s next generation of progressive leaders. After completing his fellowship in 2013, he remained a fixture at the MNL Institute, serving on the Curriculum Council in 2014 and as Capstone Director in 2015 and 2019. Jono also joined Miami’s Next Leaders Executive Board in 2019.
Walker Moseley was born and raised in Boone, North Carolina, a small town located in the Appalachian mountains. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 2010, he moved to Miami to complete an AmeriCorps year of service with City Year. Upon completing his year of service with City Year, he accepted a Program Manager position with the organization and oversaw City Year’s implementation in Allapattah and Liberty City public schools.
In the fall of 2014, Walker moved to Philadelphia to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and completed a master’s degree in Public Administration and Organizational Development. While in graduate school, Walker was a Lipman Fellow with the Wharton School of Business and worked for the Committee of Seventy, a think tank focused on ethical governance, where he launched a successful pilot program that engages juniors and seniors in Philadelphia high schools through elections-focused service learning.
Upon completing his graduate degree, Walker accepted a position at the School of Education at Drexel University. At Drexel, he oversaw the creation, development, and implementation of a pilot program called DragonsTeach Middle Years, which aims to expand the middle school teacher pipeline in Philadelphia by creating a pathway for Drexel undergraduates from any major, to add a teacher-certification track to their plan of study without changing their major.
Regional Director Chicago
Since the release of his mixtape Tale of Two’s City Vol.2 in 2008, Add-2 has been captivating listeners’ and tastemakers’ ears and imaginations with his unique blend of hip hop, jazz and soul. Through his acrobatic wordplay, his detailed storytelling and his no holds barred social commentary, Add-2 has emerged as a respected voice of clarity in a chaotic world.
After years of perfecting his craft, Add-2 has earned a list of accomplishments many emcees dream of. Having appeared on MTV 2, MTV U, FUSE, HOT97, and Shade 45, he is currently sponsored by major clothing company LRG, has performed alongside legendary hip hop band The Roots and is one of Common’s favorite new emcees. Common had this to say:
“Add-2 […] is somebody who seems like he really cares about the culture and cares about uplifting people, and that’s inspirational to see; I get inspired by people that do that. No matter what age you are or where you’re from, when you’re really trying to do something good, I see that and I’m like, ‘man…’ It’s a good reminder of what I should be doing.”
Add-2 grew up on Chicago’s notorious South Side surrounded by an environment that exposed him to many harsh realities at an early age, from gang violence to drug use and poverty. Born the second of three kids, Add-2 found refuge in his writing, determined not to suffer the mistakes of his friends and peers. Through song, Add-2 began telling his story – a story that he felt wasn’t told often but was desperately needed. A story about survival.
After releasing several critically acclaimed projects such as Save.Our.Souls, More Missed Calls and Between Heaven And Hell, Add-2 gained the attention of Grammy Award-winning hip hop producer 9th Wonder. In October 2013, Add-2 officially signed to 9th Wonder’s music label, JAMLA Records.
Director of Program Quality
Andrew DeMuro has long balanced a “double life” between music and education. As an undergraduate at the University of Miami’s School of Education & Human Development, he logged over 700 hours in Miami’s low-income schools and communities, including a culminating student- teaching experience at Booker T. Washington Senior High School which earned him UM’s “Excellence in Student Teaching” Award in 2012. He also put his musical talents to work at the renowned Frost School of Music, and became the first freshman non-music major selected for the Jazz Vocal 1 group.
After graduation, Andrew moved to Chicago to join Teach For America, and was employed at an all-boys charter high school on the city’s West Side. While teaching, Andrew developed a passion for shifting and rebuilding adult mindsets around students from marginalized backgrounds, particularly those with disabilities. He also started his charter network’s first sustained extracurricular choir, UPliftment, which twice earned superior ratings at the Illinois “Trills & Thrills” Music Festival at Six Flags: Great America.
In an effort to better combine his two passions, Andrew joined the Guitars Over Guns family in the fall of 2015 as a founding mentor and site coordinator at Evergreen Academy Middle School on Chicago’s South Side. During this time, he wrote and played music extensively with his acoustic trio, The Shades – a trio University of Miami alumni – and was honored with the unique opportunity to represent “Team Adam” on Season 11 of NBC’s The Voice.
Following his time on The Voice, Andrew immediately returned to the Windy City to begin working as Chicago’s founding Regional Director for Guitars Over Guns. While managing the experiences of nearly 350 students, fifteen mentors, and four local school partners, he was recognized by his alma mater as one of the University of Miami’s “30 Under 30.” Through his work with Guitars Over Guns, Andrew hopes to continue to strike a balance between his two passions.
Special Assistant to the President/CEO
An innovative collaborator both on stage and behind the scenes, Carly Gordon enjoys a multifaceted career as an oboist and arts administrator active throughout South Florida and Canada. Lauded for her “warmly phrased” playing (Classical Voice of North Carolina), Carly has performed for two seasons as Second Oboe with the Palm Beach Symphony and Florida Grand Opera, joining the Miami City Ballet orchestra in the 2019-20 season.
Carly is passionate about blending research, storytelling, and new media with creative performance. Specializing in contemporary music, she is an alumna of the Toronto Creative Music Lab, Labo de musique contemporaine de Montréal, and Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity. With Against the Grain Theatre, Carly was part of the “awe-inspiring” 2017 debut (Calgary Herald) of a new production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, rejoining the “heroic” instrumental ensemble (Bachtrack) for the opera’s 2019 Toronto premiere and receiving a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her role.
As an administrator, Carly completed a Public Relations internship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. After two years serving a roster of nonprofit clients as a copywriter/strategist for Miami-based communications firm theAOinsight Group, Carly now works as Special Assistant to the President/CEO of Guitars Over Guns. Here, she implements innovative administrative practices to support the organization’s nationally recognized music education programming.
Carly completed her undergraduate degree in Oboe Performance at the Eastman School of Music, simultaneously pursuing a dual-degree in Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. In 2017, she completed a Master of Music degree at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.
Director of Mental Health & Wellness
Natasha Santana-Viera is a Florida native who has a deep passion for supporting others and strongly believes in the power of young people. Deeply rooted in restorative and transformative practices, and trauma-informed healing justice, Natasha cultivates spaces for people to heal and step into their power in brave and authentic ways. As a Social Worker and certified youth facilitator, Natasha has focused her life’s work on advocating for equity and liberation for marginalized and systems-impacted individuals.
Natasha has 10 years of experience in the field of social work and youth development, including individual and family therapy, group facilitation, case management, racial justice education, gender-based violence and consent education, college readiness, curriculum development, and program management. Natasha holds a Master’s degree from New York University Silver School of Social Work—focusing her studies on adolescents, group work, criminal justice and organizational leadership. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in Sociology with a minor in Theories and Politics of Sexuality.
Director of Marketing
Amanda Hale has joined the team at Guitars Over Guns to support in marketing, communications, and development. Amanda has over fifteen years of experience in managing all facets of marketing. Amanda worked for The Standard hotels for almost a decade, starting in Miami Beach and then moving cross country to oversee marketing for hotels in Downtown LA and Hollywood. Amanda is skilled in building complex marketing plans with a creative yet calculated approach. She’s known for being collaborative, adaptable, and hard-working.
Director of Donor Impact
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Director of Donor Impact, Brax Tinkler, noticed the difference in people’s circumstances at a young age, and has always been passionate about social justice, youth empowerment, utilizing art as a creative outlet and community engagement.
Brax worked in leadership positions in non-profits since 2008, inclusive of North Carolina, Texas and Florida and has extensive experience working in direct service helping individuals experiencing homelessness find jobs and housing. Additionally, Brax has worked significantly with programs supporting young people, LGBTQ and marginalized populations.
In 2016, Brax pivoted from the direct service non-profit realm and shifted into a full-time Operations and Development Director position at Power U Center for Social Change, prior to their more recent work as Senior Development Officer at The Posse Foundation, where they utilized strategic thinking and mapping to build the organization’s local visibility and fund development plan.
Brax is enthusiastic about storytelling, networking, and connecting people to resources and each other. Brax is very authentic and enjoys executing events and supporting the leadership development of others.
Brax received their Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Sociology/Anthropology, with a Minor in Political Science, from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2008 and a Master of Science in Social Work, with a concentration in Community Administrative Leadership, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.
Passionate about Civic Engagement, Brax completed the New Leaders Council Fellowship program in Broward County in 2019 and co-led the SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Miami chapter from 2018 to 2021. Driven by a Human Rights Framework and a vision for a more equitable world, Brax is committed to collective liberation.
During Brax’s extra time, they perform stand-up comedy, and produce comedy shows with their production company, Brax Productions, where they unify people through laughter, and enjoy spending countless hours with their three little nieces.
Director of Donor Impact, Chicago
Lisa Thompson is a lifelong Chicagoan. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she majored in Criminal Justice. Eager to continue learning about the relationship between crime and poverty, she held positions at several nonprofit organizations before founding Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe. The social enterprise offered jobs and provided case management for youth who had been affected by domestic and neighborhood violence, trauma, and unstable housing.
After sixteen years, Lisa decided to close Blue Sky Bakery and shifted her love of music, supporting her community and elevating young Chicagoans to the work of Guitars over Guns in November 2022.
Miami native, Carlos Gonzalez, is a jazz saxophonist with a passion for music education. Carlos is a two-time Florida International University graduate, holding a bachelors degree in Music Education and a masters degree in Music Management and Production. During his studies, he performed as a member of the Studio Jazz Big Band, Latin Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and FIU Saxophone Quartet. Additionally, he studied classical saxophone technique and repertoire under the direction of the late Carlos Averhoff. Carlos strives to be an active member in Miami’s music scene, and has worked as a performer, producer, and live sound engineer. Carlos’ passion for fostering community participation in the arts has been his driving force in his professional life. He hopes to continue helping the Miami arts community grow in scale and provide access to similar music experiences that have inspired him for others in the community.
After School Programs Manager
High School Programs Manager
Guitarist Mark Anderson is an active performer, composer and arranger in Duo Tandem (with Necati Emirzade), an instrumental guitar duo with a focus on storytelling through music. Their music has been hailed as a “new and exciting polyglot” (Classical Guitar Magazine) and a “wonderful melange” (Minor7th.com), with their latest album Watching the World Go By being chosen as one of the top 10 albums of the year (2018) by Classical Guitar Magazine.
Mark has performed throughout the United States and Europe including at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and at the historic Bellapais Monastery in Cyprus with the president of North Cyprus, President Mustafa Akıncı, in attendance. He has also premiered many works for guitar including “Inventions on Um a Zero” (written for Duo Tandem) by João Luiz and “Rising Spirals” by award-winning composer Chinary Ung (U.S. premiere).
In addition to mentoring with Guitars Over Guns, Mark is currently on faculty at Millikin University, Illinois Wesleyan University and the Academy of Movement and Music, as well as maintaining a private studio in Chicago.
Regional Coordinator, Chicago
De’Jah Perkins is a Chicago native inspired and impacted by culture, creativity, and community. She comes to Guitars Over Guns with an extensive history in Chicago’s performing arts programs as an actor, vocalist, social dancer, teaching artist, and community organizer. As both storyteller and administrator, she aims to enrich Chicago’s cultural landscape through curating joyful and inviting artistic spaces.
De’Jah is a proud Theatre Alumni of Columbia College Chicago, The National YoungArts Foundation, and The Chicago High School for the Arts. She remains a prominent performer and musician with The Black Ensemble Theatre, Firebrand Theatre Company, The Paramount Theatre, and The Old Town School of Folk Music.
Studio Director, Haven Studio
My name is Jeremiah Fristoe. I’m a songwriter and producer who uses my talents to educate, entertain and better my community. I volunteer my time teaching children and young adults about self-expression and creativity. I use lyricism and digital production to help nurture people’s talents and fine-tune their gifts. My goal is to increase communication, unity and self-love through music and art.
Mixed Media Specialist
Raised on Chicago’s Southside, Dennis Thompson’s musical education began at the age of 4 with the piano, transitioning to the violin then alto sax and finally drums though his college career. During his undergraduate years at NIU, Dennis began to develop his production skills, working with local artists and finally focusing on producing the group he co-founded, H2O Soul. Upon graduating from NIU, he attended Columbia to pursue his Masters in Music Business. Dennis worked in music advertising at a Chicago Production House called Genuine Music, creating original compositions and sound design for major brands from 2006-2011. Now focused on teaching production and engineering at the Haven Studio, collaborating with other artists and serving the local music community through his nonprofit, Khemistry, Dennis hopes to work through music to make his voice heard and make a positive difference.
My name is Sarah Stephens but I’m also known as SJ or Sarah Jean. I was born is colorful Colorado, traveled a bit and have called Miami home for five years. I’ve been passionate about music since I first found rhythm as a toddler. I’ve been singing since I could talk and never wanted to stop.
Although I studied vocal performance formally for over 10 years, my formal education is in Cultural Anthropology. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and ever since have loved visiting cities around the world, finally ending up in Miami. I was fortunate enough growing up to have music classes both in school and outside of the classroom. I’m proud to share music with children in Miami schools. The best part about the gift of music is that it is meant to be shared, and sharing builds community.
I’ve had many amazing opportunities in life, including working with children in Brazil, Colorado and Miami. I’m currently a singer and songwriter for myself as well as for a band in the Miami area. I love to create and share stories with others through music and to watch what happens when people connect. As long as there is something left to say, there’s a song to sing.
Born and raised here in Miami, FL, I have been passionately giving back to the after-school community since I was 15 years old. I have journeyed through numerous programs as both a student and mentor.
I like to describe myself as a very layered individual who loves fun and to focus. A self proclaimed Urbanologist, I LOVE reading, going to the beach and listening to an array of music. I studied English Lit in undergrad and Urban Education as a Grad.
2 fun facts about me are…
I am secretly great at karaoke.
I am an awesome WRITER who hopes to publish my very own book one day.
Programs Manager, Miami
My name is Antonio Correa. I’m a lifelong musician and an undergrad for music therapy. Music has been a safe place for as long as I can remember, and I look forward to applying the art form I enjoy in order to guide as many people possible.
Regional Coordinator, Miami
Born and raised in South Florida, Tif Boom has been passionate about art and music for more than two decades. At a young age she fell in love with poetry, and began writing, performing and competing locally. At the age of 16, Tif published her first poem, and later went on to perform at Jazz in the Gardens and featured on Maybach Music Group (MMG) projects. She believes poetry and music are tools of empowerment, and uses her voice to deliver messages of equality, love and injustice.
In 2015, Tif joined forces with Papa Keith and 103.5 The Beat, Miami’s urban radio station, where her affection for underserved communities and upcoming artists flourished. She sits on the Papa Keith 4 People Matter (PK4PM) 501(c)(3) board, where she aids in bringing useful resources to forgotten neighborhoods.
Annually, the PK4PM team organizes a free hip hop concert for Liberty City that includes arts, sports and family fun. Tif books unsigned artist, including high school and middle school students, to perform positive music in front of thousands.
Year round, Tif Boom can be found servicing client’s public relations needs, hosting events and offering artist development tools to rising talent.
Romania Dukes is from South Dade and understands the problems, and solutions, South Dade youth face better than anyone. As a result of losing a son to gun violence, and another to incarceration, Romania created an organization called Mothers Fighting for Justice that educates youth, builds understanding and respect with law enforcement, and partners with elected officials and community leaders to create programs that reduce crime among youth. While she has made strides in increasing program offerings, there still isn’t nearly enough, and current programs focus on students who are high performing and less at-risk. Romania provides programming to over 100 youth who have been turned away from youth programs. She pays out of pocket to take them on field trips and broaden the lens through which they see the world. In addition to youth programming, Romania has organized and led dozens of food drives and peace marches. She has supported Guitars Over Guns and so many others with no official affiliation, but we hope to change in the creation of the Community Coordinator position. Pairing her hustle, dedication, South Dade knowledge and relationships with our infrastructure and desire to elevate her leadership and platform will result in transformational impact.
Caleb Alcime has been playing drums since the age of nine. Skilled in genres ranging from jazz and gospel to hip hop, R&B and Latin, Caleb is in high-demand, performing with multiple bands across Miami. An alumnus of Guitars Over Guns and Young Musicians Unite, two programs serving Miami-area youth through the power of music education, Caleb is passionate about youth development and giving back to his community. With the Guitars Over Guns alumni band, Unistiq, Caleb has twice been a featured performer at TEDxCoconutGrove, an independently organized TED event, and has headlined at the annual Choose Your Sound Benefit Concert, performing for an audience of esteemed donors, community stakeholders, and public officials. “Drums have somewhat become a part of me,” Caleb says. “I can’t let it go no matter how hard I try.”
Lawrence J. Cohen (Larry) is currently the bookkeeper for Guitars Over Guns. Larry was born in Miami Beach and grew up in Philadelphia. Following graduation in 1976 from American University in Washington, D.C., with B.A. in accounting and urban development, Larry moved back to the west coast of Florida to work for Lehigh Corporation, a land development and time-share company. Upon leaving Lehigh Corporation, Larry became Vice President of Romivest, Inc. and subsequently Preferred Equities Corp., both land development and time-share companies. Larry owned and operated five Subway locations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties after departing the corporate world. In his spare time, Larry plays golf, enjoys the theater and spending time with his five grandchildren.
Director of Advancement & Donor Impact
Tiffany Cannava is a seasoned nonprofit executive with a proven ability to build and lead dynamic development programs, including major gifts, capital campaigns, galas, peer-to-peer fundraising and government/private grants. She specializes in donor and staff relations, excels in the ambassador role and has over 20 years of experience with nonprofit education and social service organizations in board development, operations, staff restructuring, budgeting, strategic planning and program management. Tiffany is a collaborative team-builder working alongside board members, volunteer committees and all levels of staff.
Most recently, Tiffany successfully created and executed all aspects of a feasibility study on behalf of the Church by the Sea to assess and determine the overall viability of the creation of a church-funded nonprofit foundation, while she simultaneously expanded the church’s volunteer network and community engagement efforts. As Director of Advancement, Major Gifts and Capital Campaigns at The Cushman School, Tiffany launched Cushman’s first-ever capital campaign, raising over $6 million. Before joining Cushman, Tiffany served as Vice President, State Operations & Programs for Best Buddies International, where she oversaw the organization’s expansion and operations of 21 state offices across the country with a combined annual budget of $14 million and a department of 180 employees.
Tiffany currently facilitates a monthly nonprofit forum with The Commonwealth Institute, serves as a volunteer on the Executive Committee for the Northeast Corridor Together for Children Coalition, and as the Development Chair on the Early Learning Foundation Board. She holds a B.A. in Special Education and Psychology from the University of Miami, and lives in Miami with her husband and three children.
Marte Siebenhar, founder of Cultured Innovations, creates success on purpose. A classically trained musician and strategic planner, she sparks creativity to catalyze innovation. Marte is a speaker, facilitator, author and consultant with a knack for translating vision into value. Among her achievements are the creation of New World Symphony’s annual Open House program, later adopted by a six-figure sponsor, and Bakehouse Art Complex’s triple-digit increase in annual attendance, funding growth in excess of six figures and the U.S. premiere of a Pablo Picasso exhibition, during her tenure as Executive Director. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, she created strategic plans and training resources used by hundreds of organizations worldwide, and she led elementary education programs at Carnegie Hall. An alumna of Manhattan School of Music and fellowships with the Kennedy Center and The Miami Foundation, Marte also coaches leaders worldwide and social impact accelerators including the Watson Institute and Radical Partners.