Nonprofit helps students tap talent - Albuquerque Journal

Nonprofit helps students tap talent

Casper Gomez, right, with one of his students receiving a guitar from No Instrument Left Behind. (Courtesy of Casper Gomez)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Casper Gomez knows the importance of music education.

As a middle school student, Gomez was one of those students who wanted to perform, but couldn’t because he didn’t have money.

“I played French horn,” he says. “But to have my own, they were $800. I gave up music.”

Flash forward a few decades and Gomez is at the helm of the Albuquerque-based nonprofit No Instrument Left Behind, which was started last year.

“Because I was one of those kids who didn’t have the money for their own instrument,” he says, “I’m working to give music students a chance.”

The organization dedicates time and effort into acquiring any donated music resource in order to provide it to music students who need it.

Gomez says some of the donated items accepted are:

• Playable or repairable instruments of any kind.

• Strings, cases, straps, picks, reeds, amps, etc.

• Donated time in the form of music classes and other resources (software, music, etc.).

• Anything you can think that might help music students that may struggle finding these items.

Those interested can also visit noinstrumentleftbehind.org for information on how to make monetary donations.

While No Instrument Left Behind is new to the nonprofit scene, Gomez has worked with Albuquerque Public Schools for more than 15 years through their music programs.

It was here the idea was cultivated.

“There is so much waste when it comes to musical instruments,” he says. “Instruments sit unplayed by their owners. If the owner can part with the instrument and donate, it gives it new life.”

Even before starting the nonprofit, Gomez gave instruments to kids who needed them while he worked with APS music programs.

Crysta Williams was in middle school when she met Gomez as part of her after-school guitar club in 2011.

She credits Gomez’s passion in every lesson as the impetus for her music education.

“I truly loved going,” Williams says. “Eventually, I didn’t have a guitar anymore but still went to lessons soaking in all the information. Casper saw potential in me and gifted me my very first guitar. At an age where I was still learning so much about who I was and who I wanted to be, this meant the world to me.”

 

Williams practiced guitar in every spare moment.

“I won ‘most talented’ that school year,” she says. “I was happier because I was given a means for my creativity to flourish. It says a lot about the genuine kindness that’s the foundation for No Instrument Left Behind. I’m honored to have been … blessed by it and still cherish my guitar today.”

Gomez has given away 100 instruments during his time as a teacher; with No Instrument Left Behind, he’s given 10 to students.

“With this organization, the community helps us build up the students,” Gomez says. “We will always find a better use for the instruments and a gesture like this changes a student’s life.”


“The Good News File” is a series of uplifting stories in partnership with KOAT-TV and KKOB Radio. The Journal will publish a “Good News” feature the first Friday of the month, KOAT-TV will present its feature each second Friday and KKOB each third Friday.

 

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