Smiles I Can't See
December 22, 2022
Happy Holidays to everyone!
‘Tis the season of giving and this month we had the great pleasure of meeting Vincent Rodriguez, an IT professional that lives in New Milford, Connecticut. Two and a half years ago, Vincent received $500 from his employer with the challenge of finding a way to make an impact on others. Vincent had an idea of what to do with the money, but he had no idea that it would end up changing his life.
At the age of 9, Vincent’s family made a pretty abrupt move from the Bronx out to Yonkers, NY. He struggled in his new surroundings socially and found it difficult to make friends and find a way to fit in with the new crowd at school. But in all the chaos, Vincent did have a friend he could lean on. A best friend in fact…. his guitar.
He would play for hours and hours in his room throughout his childhood always trying to learn new chords and eventually new songs he was listening to on the radio. He would continue playing throughout his teen years and formed a band as a young adult. Music has always been a huge part of Vincent’s life and especially the guitar. “Music is a gift of life” Vincent told us. “It’s always there, you can pick it up, you can put it down, you can play for a lifetime and still learn new songs and still hear new things.” Vincent knew he wanted to give kids today a chance to find that connection for themselves.
So with his $500 challenge, Vincent purchased 3 brand new guitars to give away to families who otherwise would not have enough money to buy them for their children. He found great joy knowing now he was the one giving the gift of music. It was such a rewarding experience that he has found a way to keep giving away guitars and ultimately formed a nonprofit organization called Smiles I Can’t See. (Smilesicantsee.org). To date, Vincent has given away 178 guitars and going strong!
What Did We Give?
For the holiday season, Vincent started a program called the 12 Smiles of Christmas. His goal was to give away 12 guitars this month in time for Christmas (and hoping for maybe even more). It was a lofty goal as 12 guitars is about 3x his typical month. When we met him, Vincent was up to 8 guitars that he had acquired from donations from local businesses and individuals. And now, thanks to you, Vincent has fulfilled his goal! The 9dollarclub has helped Vincent purchase 5 more guitars that he has given to families this Christmas season! We are honored to be a small part of the joy and success that Vincent is working so hard to create from his organization. He is so excited about our donation and thrilled to surpass the goal he set for the holiday season. Vincent told me if any of the 9dollarclub members happen to know a deserving child or family that might benefit from a new guitar to let him know and he would absolutely work hard to fulfill that opportunity!
What a way for the 9dollarclub to end the year! We are so thankful that you are along this journey with us and we look forward to continuing to create positive impact of people’s lives all over the world in 2023! Please watch the Thank you video below for Vincent's 9dollarclub thank you!