Strings for Hope utilizes hand-me-down instrument strings to provide job skills and opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking, domestic violence and addiction. Makers are able to focus on their recovery while maintaining a source of income.
“What we say is something broken into something beautiful,” says Emily Winters, chief executive officer, “because we’re taking these broken guitar strings, and giving them to these women and a lot of them feel broken inside.”
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Founded in 2010, the organization was originally created to give to wherever the need was, including food banks, medical clinics, schools and more. “When I took over, we were working with women in transitional housing,” Winters says. “I grew attached to them.” Winters now operates Strings for Hope with that focus in mind. Currently, the company partners with End Slavery Tennessee, an organization that provides specialized case management and comprehensive aftercare for human trafficking survivors, and Recovery Community, Inc., a transitional living facility that provides safe and affordable housing for people with alcohol and drug dependency issues. “We go in weekly to these facilities and have a class,” Winters says. “We introduce Strings for Hope and what it is: an opportunity, art therapy, supplemental income, job skills.”
Being able to offer flexible work while people are undergoing a difficult transition is key. “Our main goal is just to provide opportunity for these women,” says Devon Rideout, general manager. “What we ultimately want to do is bring them into our office, and either full-time employ them, or at the very least, be a stepping stone towards the right direction.”
In jewelry classes, workers learn to craft baubles in a variety of styles including cross- and music note-shaped earrings, classic hoop earrings, guitar-themed bracelets, knot-style bracelets and more. With prices as low as $10, Strings for Hope rings make great stocking stuffers.
Strings for Hope receives unmarked donations from musicians near and far. “We have gotten some from different tours like Vampire Weekend, Ariana Grande and Steven Curtis Chapman,” Winters says. “We have a box in the back of Ascend Amphitheatre, so I don’t even know who has given there.” Strings for Hope also collects strings from various music shops and string manufacturers, including Carter Vintage Guitars, Corner Music, Eastside Music Supply, Ernie Ball, Stringjoy and more.
Strings for Hope will be hosting multiple events this winter, including songwriter rounds and music showcases, held at the company’s main office located in the 100 Taylor Arts Collective. Event details can be found on the brand’s Facebook and Instagram channels. Strings of Hope operates two cart locations in the heart of Nashville, on Broadway, next to Savannah’s Candy Kitchen (open Monday-Sunday from 11-7 p.m., closed on Tuesdays), and in the Gulch by the ultra-popular wings mural (open Monday-Sunday from 10-3:30 p.m.).