Alana Mantel, Repair the World Fellow for Guitars Over Guns
Guitars Over Guns
Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders through Music Education
Judaism teaches that our words have the power to create and destroy. This week’s Torah portion, Korach, tells the story of Korach’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron. We learn about the impact words can have on our individual relationships as well as on relationships with our entire community. Korach also explores how we exercise leadership through the way we communicate, so we are featuring an organization that offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds a powerful combination of music and mentorship to find their voice and reach their potential as future leaders.
Thank you to Rabbi Aderet Okon Drucker of The Den for contributing this week's lesson.
Read our interview below with Repair the World Miami Fellow, Alana Mantel, who volunteers at Guitars Over Guns. Repair the World fellows volunteer at different organizations to address social justice issues in their communities.
What is the mission of Guitars Over Guns?
Guitars Over Guns (GoGo) aims to provide free after school music classes to students. Through music, they provide emotional, academic, and social mentorship to the students in their program.
Why did you decide to get involved with GoGo?
After seeing the community GoGo created for their students, I knew I wanted to get involved. Each staff and mentor in Guitars Over Guns genuinely cares about their students and goes above and beyond to make sure every student feels comfortable and supported. Seeing that care, made me want to help GoGo in any way possible so that they could keep providing the services they do for their students.
How would you connect GoGo to a Jewish value?
In Judaism there is a big emphasis on community. The community is responsible for caring for and providing assistance to all of its members. Guitars Over Guns creates a community of people and cares for each person.
What are some non-monetary ways for others to get involved?
They are always looking for volunteers! (Currently, Guitars Over Guns is based in Miami and Chicago.)
Who or what has inspired you to support this organization?
The students inspired me to support this organization! Not only are the students incredibly talented, but they are also some of the strongest humans I have ever met. Guitars Over Guns provides these students with opportunities that they did not know they had and gives them the support they need to pursue their dreams.
Share a story that has happened in your work with GoGo that has inspired you.
While doing a site visit to one of their elementary school programs, I got the chance to participate in one of their emotional support activities. The students each got the time to speak about something that was bothering them or something that was lingering in their mind. I saw how the mentor interacted with the students and clearly helped them feel supported and cared for. The students also showed a lot of respect for one another, giving advice when they felt they had it, embracing one another, and saying phrases such as “I am here for you.” That moment was inspiring to me, that a room of elementary age school children was able to give each other emotional support and comfort.
To learn more about Guitars Over Guns visit www.guitarsoverguns.org.