Changing Kids’ Lives One Guitar at a Time

Changing Kids’ Lives One Guitar at a Time

Fender and Girl Rock Nation hosted 30 girls of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Boyle Heights to the ultimate musical retreat.

On Dec. 4 I had the pleasure of hosting an event that changed the lives of 30 young girls and touched the lives of many others.

Fender’s Girl Rock Nation offered the ultimate musical retreat at the House of Rock in Santa Monica to 30 very lucky girls from the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Boyle Heights (VB&GC).

The girls took a 3-hour-long workshop taught by the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles (RNRC4G L.A.) that kicked off with a super energetic performance by gifted bassist Nik West and Sugarland’s Annie Clements, who performed a special bass arrangement of Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’. Afterwards, classical guitarist Radical Classical (Jocelyn Celaya) and I took the stage to perform a medley of Spanish guitar favorites like “Malagueña” and “Pica Pica.”

The 30 girls received bass, guitar, and songwriting 101 from West (who, by the way, is about to embark on a tour with none other than Prince), Celaya, Clements, and more. I, too, along with staff and volunteers from the RNRC4G L.A. taught classes and performed for the girls.

RNRC4G L.A.’s Megan Toohey teaching girls from the VB&GC of Boyle Heights

At the end of the workshop, we surprised the girls with a brand new Fender acoustic guitar. You can imagine how ecstatic they each were.

They weren’t the only ones ecstatic. Cris Arzate, Executive Director at the VB&GC of Boyle Heights, was equally as thrilled.

“Our members, and specifically our female members, are unfortunately underexposed to the arts and resources specifically in the field of music,” he said. “Fender and Girl Rock Nation not only provided our girls with an amazing workshop, but gave each of them their own acoustic guitar. Our club will now be able to hire a music instructor to continue what Fender and Girl Rock Nation has started.”

Not only did we collectively inspire these girls to play music, but we also provided them with the tools to do so. It was truly a touching and unforgettable experience, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of it all.

The festivities continued at night at the House of Rock with a party celebrating women in music. Prominent members of the music industry and celebrities of all sorts graced the occasion, including football player Terrell Owens and accomplished guitarist Malina Moye. 

Watch a video recap below, check out coverage on the event in Guitar World, and visit Girl Rock Nation’s website and Facebook for more images and information.

1 thought on “Changing Kids’ Lives One Guitar at a Time”

  • What an awesome, amazing program. If this sparks just one girl to take up guitar it is a major success!