Greetings from Miami!
During the last stop of our Kindness in Community Fund visits, our team gathered in Miami for a community-building studio session with Guitars Over Guns staff, mentors, and students from some of the city’s most vulnerable communities.
Guitars Over Guns 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. Established in 2008, they have served more than 6,000 students across Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Together, we built “circle kits” to provide mentors with materials for their workshops throughout the school year. These kits will help build community and trust between mentors and students, as well as reinforce the values of kindness, respect, and empathy. The group then engaged in an appreciation circle, a restorative practice to help build community and address harm in a safe aspirational space. This was an emotional moment for everyone in the room, as many of the young people had never been in a space like this before.
Then, under the guidance of their mentors, the students performed and recorded a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Applause” in a professional recording studio space offered by JOY Studios, a music studio, art gallery, and creative collective where conscious creators collaborate to bring joy to the world through music, movies and art.
This experience was truly powerful and showed the importance of music education and mentorship in helping young people reach their full potential. The students’ energy and enthusiasm was contagious, and it was clear that they had formed strong bonds with their mentors through their shared love of music. We are so proud of what they accomplished and can’t wait to see what they do next!
It was an honor to be able to use our platform to amplify the voices of these young people, and we can’t wait to continue working with Guitars Over Guns in the future.
We also supported The Alliance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth provides mental health and care coordination services, leadership development, and policy advocacy that centers the lives and experiences of LGBTQ youth in South Florida.
They serve, nurture, and empower LGBTQ youth, their families, and their communities while advocating for the equal rights and equitable treatment of young people in affirmation of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Learn more about their work at https://all4lgbtqyouth.org/ and give them a follow at @all4lgbtqyouth.