Our mission is to empower youth through music & mentorship.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, our programming continues through virtual music instruction and mentorship sessions, while our team connects our students, mentors and families to vital community resources. Now more than ever, our most vulnerable young people need a space to express themselves creatively, connect with one another, and receive mentorship and support from a caring adult in their lives.
Who We Are
Guitars Over Guns is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Miami and Chicago that offers students from our most vulnerable communities a powerful combination of music education and mentorship with professional musicians to help them overcome hardship, find their voice and reach their potential as tomorrow’s leaders. Guitars Over Guns creates safe spaces for youth to express themselves through music and empowers them to make positive choices at school, at home and in their communities.
What We Do
Guitars Over Guns’ unique curriculum emphasizes social-emotional learning and outcomes through music and arts instruction. After each session, mentors assess students’ academic performance, school and program attendance, artistic progress and peer interactions. We use social-emotional learning measurements to evaluate key competencies such as empathy, teamwork, initiative, responsibility and problem solving. Recent evaluations indicate that over 90 percent of Guitars Over Guns students improved their academic performance, overall conduct and decision-making skills. These measurements are byproducts of a greater shift that is occurring in the way these young people think about the world and their place in it.
Don't just take it from us...
"When I started at a new school, I was fighting, getting bad grades, skipping class, and just being disrespectful. I was doing this because I want to fit in with the crowd to be popular, not realizing that it was ruining my future. It seemed like it was never going to end. But then I heard about Guitars Over Guns. When I walked in that first day, I saw kids dancing, singing, playing guitar, trumpet, drums, painting... I mean, it was an amazing experience. It felt like a place where I could be myself and where I belonged." —Santamarie Arocho, alumna
"Being in Guitars Over Guns has taught me to believe in others as much as I believe in myself." —Yailin Rojas, alumna
"Guitars Over Guns has shifted my perspective on life and what it truly means to live a life of purpose. This organization has inspired true happiness and a desire to not only help myself but the people and community around me." —Gabriel Pierre, alumnus
"Guitars Over Guns makes me feel like I could express myself – like I could be me. [...] Music makes me feel like I'm unstoppable." —Daniel Bogan, alumnus