Art & Culture

Free Summer Guitars/Lessons: Guitars Not Guns to Partner with Youth Alliance

Guitars Not Guns San Benito County Chapter to partner with Youth Alliance for free guitars/lessons this summer. Community Volunteers Needed.

This article was contributed by Michael Smith with Guitars Not Guns San Benito County chapter.

Guitars Not Guns San Benito County is seeking volunteer officers to serve on the board of directors as well as guitar players to serve as volunteer instructors to teach Level 1 classes this summer. The program provides simple to follow teacher instruction books and guidance to work with students on developing their guitar skills. Volunteer teachers are subject to background checks to protect its students. 

Last year, Guitars Not Guns San Benito County formed an official chapter of the national nonprofit organization after its successful pilot program concluded in September. Twenty students ages 8 to 16 (14 girls and seven boys) graduated from the 8-week, 1-hour classes at Veteran's Memorial Building in downtown Hollister.

The nonprofit organization will partner with Youth Alliance this year to offer free guitar classes and guitars to students who need one starting in June, according to discussions between both organizations.

But of course, there are strings attached.

Students must commit to have fun, study, and practice playing guitar for a half-hour every day during the 8-week session that includes learning to play chords and simple songs by graduation day.

The 2017 program was funded by the Community Foundation for San Benito County, Supervisors Jaime De La Cruz and Mark Medina, and Hollister City Councilman Ray Friend. Volunteer teachers included local guitar instructor Bruce Gilsenan, Zachary Freitas, Richard Primont, and Ramona Hill. 

For more information about the program and opportunities to volunteer, contact Michael Smith at [email protected] or Hollister Youth Alliance Executive Director Diane Ortiz at: [email protected] or Rosio Valadez, Assistant Program Manager, at [email protected]


Michael Smith

Pro-economic growth, pro-music, pro-science, pro-retirement.