A program in Red Deer aims to get guitars into the hands of less fortunate youths.
GuitarZ For KidZ, a committee of the Red Deer Arts Council, was started earlier this year by David Gilmore, owner of Gilmore Guitars.
“I’d been thinking about doing this for quite some time,” said Gilmore. “There comes a time in life when it’s your turn to give something back.”
A five-person committee was formed in May and the program was pitched to the Red Deer Arts Council; GuitarZ For Kidz officially became a part of the council in July.
“We’re taking old guitars that are under beds or in closets collecting dust as donations and handing them to the kids in need,” Gilmore said.
The Red Deer program was inspired by the Guitars For Kids program in Cambridge, Ont., which was started by Dan Walsh Blue Rodeo’s Bob Egan.
Playing guitar can be more than just a hobby, Gilmore said.
“Music is the great equalizer. There are all kinds of benefits to a musical education – there’s research saying playing music helps you learn math.
“It’s a creative outlet too,” he said. “There’s nothing like sitting down and playing a guitar with a group of people who are picking up what you’re laying down.”
More than 30 guitars have been donated to the program so far; two of those guitars have been given to youths in need.
“We’re just getting started and I’m pretty pleased with the recognition we’ve gotten so far,” he said.“We’ve had some really cool guitars donated and we just had our first fundraising event last weekend.”
The goal is to giveaway 25 guitars in the program’s first year, said Gilmore.
Don Routley, GuitarZ For KidZ committee member, said he is very excited to give away more donated guitars.
“We want to help out people who can’t afford it or people who have been involved in music and due to circumstances beyond their control … have lost access to play,” Routley said.
To apply for a guitar donation, visit www.guitarzforkidz.ca, click on the contact section and share your story. Donations can be brought to Gilmore Guitars or The Hub on Ross.
If a donated guitar is beyond repair, it will be donated to an artist who can use it for an art piece. The work would then be sold in a silent auction.
Five guitar lessons will be offered through the program as well.