BENEFITING: GUITARS FOR VETS
HOURS PLEDGED: 10
G4V Richmond pursues its mission to share the healing power of music by providing free guitar instruction, a new acoustic guitar and a guitar accessory kit in a structured program run by volunteers at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.
This project aims to cover the cost of one year of the G4V program at McGuire VAMC. Your tax deductible donation will go directly towards the purchase of new Yamaha guitars and accessories kits for the Veteran students in our program. Twenty of our wounded Veterans will be able to participate and learn to play guitar. The Richmond chapter began in March, 2011– the first in our state! To date, we have had over 40 students go through our program in Richmond.
Helping Our Veterans On The Road to Healing
Today, there may be as many as 400,000 service members living with “invisible wounds of war”, particularly PTSD. Additionally, troops serving in military operations after September 11, 2001 have experienced more-frequent deployments, of greater lengths, with shorter rest periods than previous generations of warriors; they have been exposed to more prolonged periods of combat stress. Thanks to lower casualty rates overall as well as significant advances in many fields, from emergency medical treatment to body armor, warriors are increasingly surviving the battlefield, but with significant psychological and emotional trauma. As a result, there has never been a better time than now to support Veterans mental health wellness programs that are cost effective, safe, do not require specialized equipment or supplies and can be rapidly expanded to meet the very large need we face.
How You Can Help
We rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses who support our wounded veterans and believe that music has therapeutic value in the healing process. The cost of bringing the program to a VA Medical Center is $200 per veteran student. At Hunter Holmes McGuire, we are limited to 20 students in the program per calendar year. This number is determined by limited funding, the need to help sustain current chapters and allow for the funding of new start-up chapters in other localities. Twenty students x $200 = $4,000 - for the just the Richmond chapter. Here are some ways you can help:
- New Guitars For Students: We purchase new Yamaha acoustic guitars at a discounted price. Your money will not be spent on used or electric guitars. If our total goal is not met, the funds raised will go toward the purchase of fewer new guitars for the Richmond chapter.
- Supporting Our Volunteers: We're volunteers who understand the invisible wounds of war and their effects on our Veterans post-deployment. Together, we represent the network of volunteers who give time weekly to our wounded veterans, helping them build relationships and trust while helping them learn the fundamentals of guitar playing.
- Partner With Us: Together, we can bring more lessons and more guitars to our wounded Veterans, helping them on their journey of healing.
The weekly private guitar lessons provided by our volunteers are individualized and designed to help students learn at their own pace while accommodating any physical and/or emotional challenges. Monthly group sessions are organized at each chapter to provide Veterans a communal atmosphere to talk and continue to play music with peers who have shared similar experiences, emotions and traumas. In G4V group sessions, the connection created between individuals who are both warriors AND guitar players serves as a catalyst for positive human interaction. Veterans who regularly attend group sessions build confidence to further pursue creative self-expression and engagement within their communities. Many G4V graduates and group session attendees go on to perform at local fundraisers and teach guitar lessons in their local G4V chapter.
We are very excited to now have clinical trial data supporting our belief in the power of our program. Outcomes from our recently completed study included double-digit percentage reductions in PTSD and depression symptoms and double-digit percentage improvements in quality of life for Veterans enrolled in the study.
A Personal Note
My name is Peg Andrae and I am the Coordinator for the Richmond Chapter of G4V, working with veterans at McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA. Having experienced PTSD and depression in our own family, along with the toll it takes on the individual and family/friends, I felt the need to DO something to make a difference . . . and to help me heal. As a guitar instructor, I know very well how music soothes the soul and lifts the spirit.
Other Ways You Can Help
Some people just can't contribute, but that doesn't mean they can't help:
- Ask folks to get the word out and make some noise about this campaign!
- Talk to your family members, coworkers, friends, etc. Anyone could help!
- When you see a service member or veteran anywhere, please thank them for their service.