Cambridge initiative collecting, repairing used guitars for underprivileged children


  • Music & Arts   Wednesday, August 4, 2021   Spencer Seymour



By Spencer Seymour
Guitars For Kids is a program based out of Cambridge that collects used guitars, repairs them, and donates them to kids who can't afford musical instruments. Although it services the Waterloo region, it does also collect instruments from the St. Marys and Stratford areas.
While slightly outside the region, people in and around St. Marys and Stratford can go to guitarsforkids.ca to arrange a pick-up with one of the program's over 200 crew. Guitars of any style are accepted, as well as accessories like amps, cables, cases, tuners, stands, strings, and picks. People can also make donations to help fund the repairs of the donated guitars at the program's website.
Dan Walsh leads the initiative and recently spoke with the Independent about Guitars For Kids, which has been operating full-time since 2014. To date, more than 700 guitars have been donated by the program. Walsh noted that, in the event of a guitar being damaged beyond repair, they'll still accept those guitars and are ecstatic to have local art students paint them as a form of advertising for the program.
Walsh was also keen to emphasize the mission of the program is not just to get kids interested in music, but also to experience an act of kindness at an early age. To illustrate this, he told a story of a kid who was somewhat of a prodigy. "When Eddie Van Halen passed away," Walsh said, "the family put up a video of him playing one of Eddie's guitar solos." He didn't have a real, high-quality guitar, as the family couldn't afford it. Until, that was, the Guitars For Kids program gave him a beautifully restored guitar and amplifier.
"We can put a guitar in the hands of a kid, but it doesn't always mean they will become a musician," Walsh explained when asked about the meaning of the program, "However, our main goal is even when they go into their adulthood, and they remember some crazy guy with a beard walked up and gave him a guitar, that if they show an act of kindness remembering that, that's our big goal."
To contact the Guitars For Kids program, visit guitarsforkids.ca or email info@cambridgelivemusic.com.