Helping kids a guitar at a time

In late October 2011, a group of 12 high school students and eight adults from La Cañada Presbyterian Church took a week-long trip to Tutwiler, Miss. to build a home for the local Habitat for Humanity branch. During our seven days in Mississippi, we framed a house from the foundation up, and spent a portion of each day mentoring the local kids at the community center.

Tutwiler is one of the poorest locations in the U.S., and deals with extreme poverty and high unemployment. The community center acts as the cornerstone of the town. The after-school program offers the kids a place to get a healthy snack, a safe place to play, participate in gym, computer classes and a wonderful music program that is based on the blues music that fills the South.

Two musicians travel to Tutwiler twice a week to teach the kids guitar, drums and bass. During our time in Tutwiler I was able to experience first-hand how important this program is to the kids of the community center. The program offers them a chance to use their minds, and to feel accomplished and proud.

A group of us were so inspired by the program and the joy it brings the kids that we decided to collect used guitars to send down to the community center. Our goal was to send a few instruments down so the kids have the opportunity to practice, even when the music teachers are not in town. Over the last two months we collected 10 guitars and are preparing to send them to the community center.

I am reaching out to our community and asking for help in sending these instruments down to Tutwiler. The kids at the Tutwiler community center are anxiously awaiting the arrival of these guitars, and I am looking for a few partners who are willing to help with the transportation of these guitars.

If you would like to donate to help send these guitars to Tutwiler, please email me at For more information on the music program and the Tutwiler community center, please visit

Sarah Beattie

La Cañada Flintridge

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