Gang Shooting at Washington DC National Zoo

Youth Guitar Program Provides Mentoring For at Risk Youth to Prevent Violence in the City


Washington DC – WEBWIRE – Sunday, May 04, 2014

Easter Monday there was a suspected gang related shooting at the National Zoo. Washington DC has seen a great deal of gang related youth violence, and the use of guns has been part of it. The city is working to do it’s best to reduce the violence, through agencies like Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) with more police presence throughout neighborhoods in all districts.

On Monday, multiple officers from several agencies packed the zoo, and when they spotted trouble, they quickly asked patrons to leave. Not long afterwards, the shooting broke out on Connecticut Avenue just outside the zoo’s entrance.

At a standing-room only meeting on Wednesday night, Woodley Park residents wanted to know what went wrong, despite the heavy police presence.

“What are we going to do about intervening with the gangs?” asked one concerned resident.

Gregg Hammond of DC Guitar Lessons http://www.dcguitarlessons.com a local guitar teacher and mentor, has a plan in action to help reduce youth violence. His role as founder and president of the Washington DC chapter of Guitars Not Guns Youth Music Program http://www.gngdc.org spurred from him and his father being randomly attacked by a DC youth gang in 2004, and later held at gunpoint by teens is 2005. 

“My experience mentoring with music, specifically guitar, creates miracles in the classrooms”, said Hammond. “I have seen tremendous changes in behavior of youth participants. We are asking for responsible adults to volunteer some time to help us run our program. Together we can make the changes that we want to see in our city. We also accept donations online, and folks can donate instruments too” 

Hammond describes why the program works: “The ability to weave the magic of learning guitar with mentoring done well creates a basket of life enriching experiences during weekly classes that help build self-esteem through goal setting/accomplishments providing a foundation for the participants of our program, that are not available to them otherwise.”

The goal of Guitars Not Guns is to help prevent violence in schools and on the streets by providing foster kids and at-risk youth with focus and self-actualization. We aim to empower them 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 using low teacher-to-student ratios. Each class consists of a maximum of 10 students with three adult instructors. In addition to learning how to master changing from one chord to another, children learn perseverance, discipline and self-esteem. More importantly, the kids learn to enjoy the interaction and have fun in a group setting. Those who complete the full 8 week program are allowed to keep the guitar and are encouraged to return for Level 2, 3 and advanced. 

For more information contact the volunteer coordinator Cameron Dolby at cdolby@guitarsnotguns.org.


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 Shooting at National Zoo
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 Knockout King Game
 Youth Music Programs
Contact Information
Gregg Hammond
President Teacher Mentor
DC Guitars Lessons Guitars Not Guns DC
(1) 305-731-6818
ghammond@guitarsnotguns.org


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