‘Form of therapy’: Program helps veterans heal with music
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Guitars for Vets is a non-profit organization that teaches veterans how to play guitar and gives them an instrument free of charge.
We stopped by one of their practices to see how this program benefits our local service men and women.
Guitars for Vets is a non-profit organization that teaches veterans how to play guitar and gives them an instrument free of charge.
For veterans, like David Marrero, this is more than a chance to learn a new instrument.
“That’s another form of therapy for me,” said Marrero, the Augusta chapter’s administrator.
It started as a way to help him, while he was battling mental health challenges brought on by a more than 30-year career in the army.
“I was having mental issues sleep family life was going down the drain. And I just, I wasn’t in control, like I normally was used to being,” said Marrero.
That’s when he found Guitars for Vets whose mission is to help veterans like him who struggle with PTSD.
“Sometimes just a minute or two minutes of that, you know, we’re just getting lost in space, that gives you that reprieve,” said Marrero.
He wanted to start a chapter here to help not only himself but and other veterans like Bruce Neal.
“It started a lot of emotional and mental healing,” said Neal, a former student turned instructor for the program.
That healing is something he has noticed in other participants in the chapter.
“You talk to a lot of veterans and they don’t say a word and um they get into this and it’s like a lightbulb goes off,” said Neal.
Neal said it also fosters a community, which is something air-force veteran Jen-Liz Maldonado said she needed after coming back home from the service.
“Just coming back here and meeting new people who can relate to what I relate to,” said Maldonaldo. “We all can bond and feel kind of normal in this transition time.”
Between healing and a sense of community, it’s changing lives one strum at a time.
“You get to playing music and it does something for you, It changed me, it changed them, it’s going to change others who come through this program,” said Neal.
“It does give you a purpose. It gives you something to strive for something to continue to perfect,” said Marrero.
The program is twelve weeks but also has an advanced class for those who want to keep playing after graduation.
Veterans who graduate will receive a free guitar.
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