Set Me Free
http://www.gngdc.org We recruit volunteers to teach guitar lessons to classes of DC youth. We provide classes at various times all over the city.
701 Delaware Ave SW
Washington D.C., DC
Creating Solutions vs Relieving Symptoms Behind each need is a problem to be solved. An ideal solution will address needs, provide immediate relief, remedy the cause of adverse circumstances, and prevent the problem from recurring. This is a difficult, but not impossible, challenge. Non-profits coordinate with both us and government to bridge the gap between we we need and what can we can provide, either individually or through government. In an ideal world there would be no non-profits. We’ve yet to create an ideal world, so there are myriad non-profits addressing unresolved issues in every aspect of our society: health care, shelter, food, legal services, education, social support, etc. for those who otherwise can’t afford it. The non-profit community has grown to be a significant part of our economy; it is a major employer, collects billions of dollars in donations, and generates millions of volunteer hours. While our investment is being put to good use by helping those in need, critics charge that too little is being done to solve the problems that are creating those needs. Poverty, along with its adverse effects on the impoverished, has been around forever. Every generation debates poverty's causes and effects and the role/responsibility of government, society, and the individual to address the issue. Programs and initiatives have come and gone, yet no solution has evolved. Perhaps social psychologist Roy Baumeister’s research on cognitive dissonance can provide some insight into how a better understanding of human behavior might lead us to be a more active participant in the solution. Different people dealing with the same kinds of hurt may perceive hurtful actions in entirely different ways, depending on whether they are the ones causing the hurt or the ones being hurt. The differences in perceptions between victims and perpetrators are a result of social phenomena. When we do something that hurts others, there is a part of us that recognizes our action as despicable. But that comes into conflict -- cognitive dissonance -- with our belief that we are good people. The solution is that we reinterpret our hurtful actions to minimize our perception that we are responsible and to minimize the amount of pain we have caused. On the other hand, when we are victims, it feels dissonant to empathize with our wrongdoers; it is much easier to see their actions as cruel and immoral. This process happens at an entirely subconscious level; that is, we do not realize our perceptions depend on whether we are victims or perpetrators. Of course, while our subconscious, in an effort to protect us, can influence how we see ourselves; it can’t obscure how others see us. The more we understand ourselves, the smaller the gap between our self-image and the image others have of us. This concept will be used further below. Substantially reducing the poverty rate requires a sustained, coordinated effort by everyone – government, business, and individuals – to provide those currently living in poverty with the education, social services, and support necessary for them to become productive, self-reliant members of society. While there are government and non-profit resources addressing many aspects of the poverty issue; they lack the coordination and capacity to solve the problem. They are doing great work and their efforts are making a significant difference for many of those currently in poverty, but the fact that the poverty rate is not declining tells us that the problem is not being solved. How does cognitive dissonance come into play? Perhaps there’s an unconscious gap between how we perceive our commitment to a solution and the actual actions we’re taking. Some strategists argue that, if private businesses bring poor communities into the market and provide them with affordable basic goods and services, these businesses can stimulate commerce and development and fundamentally change the paradigm for addressing poverty. Achieving this goal need not require businesses to get directly involved in social development, only that they are committed to acting in their own self-interests. Synergy between the needs of the poor and the needs of business would mean enormous benefits for companies entering and investing in low-income markets. Many innovative companies - entrepreneurial startups and large, established enterprises alike - are already serving the world’s poor in ways that lead to expanded revenues, greater operating efficiencies, and new strategies. For examples one only has to look at how China, India, Brazil and, gradually, South Africa have become new engines of global economic growth. Poverty reduction and other collateral social benefits will help stabilize our troubled communities. The challenge is to more clearly articulate the connection between Government, the non-profit sector, and the business community so that we may become complementary partners in the solution and recognize the true magnitude of commitment toward addressing poverty. Government can facilitate the necessary connections; non-profits know the needs and understand the people who have them; and business has the entrepreneurial expertise to fuel the market. Independently, each is a necessary, but not sufficient, part of the solution. Collectively they can solve the problem.
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Gun Violence was an unfortunate part of Gregg Hammond's life since he was very young. Playing with neighborhood kids in grade school, in an old barn, the group of youth found a small pistol. One boy, not trained in gun safety aimed the gun at Gregg and pulled the trigger. The round was a dud and bluish white smoke rose up from the little gun. Later that afternoon, bullets did fire and the little boy shot his own brother.
Gregg had been trained in gun safety and took care not to replicate dangerous situations.
Late one night, a man in camouflage frantically emerged from a dark street and tried to overtake Gregg with force throwing him on the hood of a pickup truck and forcing a pistol into the back of his head, above his right ear screaming "don't move or I will blow your head off" Gregg used training to disarm the man and break free, and a physical battle began. A swat team of police arrived and they soon discovered it was an undercover detective and a case of mistaken identity. Gregg experienced the mental terror of a gun against his skull, and a physical battle with the man until he was bloody. Apologies were made, but the experience never leaves his mind.
In SW DC Gregg and his father were attacked by a gang of teenagers in front of Arena Stage. These youth attacked with fists and objects and fortunately, there were no guns fired.