Thursday, January 5, 2017

Classes Start Again on Saturday, January 7, 2017

We will start classes again this coming Saturday at the Marina Teen Center.  Advanced Beginners and recently graduated beginners at 10:00 AM and intermediate and advanced students at 11:00 AM.

We will be starting a new class for beginners starting on Saturday February 4th.  If you know someone who is interested have them and a parent sign-up on a Saturday morning during class.

Any questions you may contact Amy at 831-717-7981/ or Ed Tobin at

Friday, December 30, 2016

First Night Monterey

We will be participating at First Night Monterey on Saturday, December 31st.  All students wishing to participate should meet with Miss Amy, Miss Suzanne and Mister Tim on the steps of Colton Hall by 4:30 PM.  Below is a map showing the meeting place, schedule and the parade map.  Any questions, contact Miss Amy.  Her phone number and e-mail are at the bottom of the map.  Dress warm and wear you Guitars Not Guns T-shirts if possible.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Guitar Not Guns Christmas Party/Graduation

Sunday, December 11

4 - 6 PM

Marina Teen Center

Dinner provided for students and their families by the City of Marina.  We will have the graduation ceremony and student performance of Christmas songs at 4:00 PM followed by dinner around 4:30.

Regular Saturday Class: There will be regular class on Saturday Dec. 10th  and Dec. 17th at the normal times at the teen center.  There will be no classes on December 24th or December 31st.  We will resume classes on Saturday, January 7th. 

Bluegrass Music: Also on Sunday afternoon there will be a bluegrass jam concert at the Marina Library from 1:00 to 3:00 PM sponsored by the Friends of the Marina Library.  GNG teacher Amy Warren will be leading the performance.  All students are encouraged to attend to learn about this type of music which is played on acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjos, dolbros and stand-up bass.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Guitars Not Guns Monterey County was again selected to be a recipient of donations raised through the Monterey County Gives! campaign that is underway.  You may make a donation directly to Guitars Not Guns Monterey County by going to the web site  below.

With donations in part raised through Monterey County Gives!, this chapter provided guitars and instruction to 270 children in 2014 and almost 300 this year.  Over the life of the program we have trained over 1,000 children throughout the County.  We thank you for your support and hope that you can help contribute to our success in 2016.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Graduations

Guitars Not Guns Monterey County has been busy this Spring with classes in King City, Gonzales, Salinas, Marina and Seaside.  Here are some pictures from the programs around the county:

Pictures above are from graduation ceremonies at Rancho Cielo (upper left), Fairview School in Gonzales and the Marina. 

Another picture from Fairview Middle School with students and their instructors Brian Shaw (L) and JerrWillis.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guitars Not Guns Monterey County - Year in Review

By Steve Vagnini
The Monterey County Chapter of Guitars Not Guns will hold a graduation ceremony for two more classes this Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at the Rancho Cielo Youth Campus in Salinas, California.  Volunteer instructors Jim Hansen, Jeffrey Richman and David West will present certificates to students in the Silver Star Youth Program and the Drummond Culinary Academy that have also participated in the free music program.  13 students will receive their certificates and a guitar and will perform songs that they have learned during their 8 week course.   

During the last year 215 students in Monterey County have received free guitar instruction and guitars.  In addition to classes at Rancho Cielo, the local chapter of Guitars Not Guns have held 20 classes this year at the Castroville Middle School; at King City High School; at the Marina Youth Center; at Marina High School; at Fairview Middle School in Gonzales; with Community Partnership for Youth in Seaside, at the Boys & Girls Club in Seaside; and at the Alisal Center for Fine Arts and the Salvation Army in Salinas.  New classes are in the works in Soledad, in South County with CHISPA and in Big Sur.   

The goal of Guitars Not Guns is to help prevent violence in schools and on the streets by providing at-risk youth with focus and self-actualization.  Guitars not Guns aims to empower children with the most fundamental tool to succeed: Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything. Using music as a catalyst we encourage children and teens to use their creativity to foster personal development and to help divert them from self-destructive influences such as drugs, alcohol and gang-related activities. By providing free guitars and lessons we hope to engage their creative potential and help them achieve their dreams. Our programs are for children and teens ages 8 – 18. 

The Monterey County Chapter of Guitars not Guns is an all-volunteer organization.  All funds go to the purchase of guitars, instructional books, certificates and a pizza party for the graduates.  The Chapter, based in Sand City, annually receives proceeds from the West End Celebration and have received grants from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation the last two years and also previously from the Arts Council for Monterey County.   

Last year at the West End Celebration an autographed Epiphone electric guitar signed by Joe Bonamassa was raffled off and raised $2,500.  Guitars Not Guns students performed on the Main Stage of the West End Celebration and live on KPIGs Please Stand By Sunday morning show which was broadcast on the internet to the world from TCK Gallery in Sand City.   

The founders of Guitars Not Guns are Ray and Louise Nelson. They became foster parents in 1992 and it was through this experience that Ray decided to provide foster kids with guitars and lessons. He began asking friends and strangers for their used guitars to pass along to foster kids. This act of kindness became his passion and as a result there are classrooms across the USA and in Canada. 

GNG's goal is to help stop violence in schools and on the streets by providing a music program for at-risk teens and other deserving children. We want to divert as many children as possible from the self-destructive behaviors of drugs, alcohol and crime connected to gang activity. By providing children and teens with guitars and lessons we hope to engage their creative potential. It's all about helping underprivileged kids and teens. 

On June 27, 2000 "Guitars Not Guns" became a federally exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

More Graduations

Salvation Army Salinas

King City Graduation

Alisal Center for fine Arts

Boys and Girls Club Seaside