Two years ago Michael* was a high school sophomore with marginal grades. He didn’t see the need to apply himself in school; after graduation he assumed he’d follow in the footsteps of all his family members before him; he’d get a low wage service job.

Then he joined the Guitars Not Guns (GnG) music program.

He learned he had a talent for playing guitar even though it was something he never thought he’d have a chance to do. He earned his guitar his junior year and during his senior year he helped teach guitar to new students entering our program.

Finding a positive and nurturing recreational activity, with the support of caring adults helped Michael start to see things differently.

His resignation to follow in the family footsteps was replaced with hope for a brighter future. He learned that there were other opportunities for him if he applied himself. His attitude changed, his grades improved and last June he graduated high school with honors.

This fall he’s enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College. His ambition is to become a music educator and his family could not be more proud of him.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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