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Sitka Shines!

“I was able to bring a large number of fifth graders to the camp through a scholarship offered by my school social work program.  The students come from families experiencing poverty and significant family stress.  The opportunity for them to learn to play the guitar in a way that will be sustainable because they will have their own guitars at home has already felt transformative for these students.” – Jeanine Brooks, School Social Worker

“It is so important for children/teenagers to have access to the arts, especially when items are inaccessible due to money and location. This directly relates to the guitar donation and that access can help them create and tell their own important, impactful stories” – Alexis, Sitka Fine Arts Camp Instructor

As Free Guitars 4 Kids, we were thrilled to be part of a remarkable collaboration with Alaska Airlines, Gibson Gives, and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, which resulted in an incredible guitar giveaway. This special event was organized to celebrate the 50th season of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, and we couldn’t have been prouder to contribute.

We donated a total of 156 acoustic and electric guitars to the camp, with the aim of providing young musicians with the tools they need to embark on their musical journey. Witnessing the excitement and joy on the faces of over 100 high schoolers at the camp as they received their brand new Epiphone power-player guitars was truly heartwarming. We knew that these guitars would complement their arts experiences and become lifelong instruments for them.  In prior weeks of camp, 56 fifth graders took intro to guitar class and all left with a brand new Epiphone acoustic guitar at the end of their camp experience.

This was all made possible because our Executive Director, Ben Dudley, was approached by Sarah Cice, the wife of an Alaska Airlines pilot, who noticed him wearing our Free Guitars 4 Kids hoodies at Sea Tac airport. Sarah offered to connect her pilot husband, Chris, with Free Guitars 4 Kids. This connection paved the way for our collaboration with Alaska Airlines and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, ensuring that our guitars could reach young musicians throughout Alaska.

We were overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these aspiring musicians. The impact of our work reaches far beyond Sitka as the camp served over 47 different Alaskan communities and 23 different States.

As we look back on the guitar giveaway at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, we are filled with pride and joy. The smiles on the faces of the campers and the passion they displayed for their newfound instruments reinforced our belief in the profound impact of music education. We are honored to have played a part in bringing children back to the arts, fostering cooperation, and creating a sense of community through shared musical interests.

Our efforts would not be possible without the support of generous individuals and organizations. Alaska Airlines Cargo division flew the guitars from Seattle to Sitka, Alaska which is a remote place that is difficult to access with large shipments.  Gibson Gives helped provide guitars and helped by providing the shipping from Nashville to Seattle.

We are still raising funds to cover the cost of the Alaska project, with the goal of reaching $30,000 by the end of August. We firmly believe that music and the guitar are incredible tools for transforming lives, and we are committed to providing resources to mentor and support children who are eager to pursue their musical dreams.