Violins Not Violence nonprofit gifts instruments to two Pico Rivera students

The nonprofit was founded by two Los Angeles police officers.
PICO RIVERA, Calif. (KABC) -- It was a day of socially distant celebration at North Park Academy of the Arts in Pico Rivera, on Tuesday.

There was mariachi, clapping and dancing. All that led up to a big moment when a nonprofit, Violins Not Violence, gifted instruments to two students.

"It's special to me because I've never owned a guitar before and I'm kind of excited to use it," said Edwin Figueroa, a sixth-grader at the school.

Edwin's mother said the instrument will be of help because her son is on the autism spectrum.

"This means a lot because he loses his focus in class and on what he does. Then I see [with] music little by little he focuses," said Maria Figuera, Edwin's mother.

Violins Not Violence also gifted an instrument to sixth-grader Alexa Menchaca-Lopez who was nominated by her music teacher to receive a violin.

"I'm really happy, excited and thankful because I really wanted to play the violin next year. So now I have a chance to," said Alexa.

Alexa is an academic superstar, according to the school. Her mom said she's grateful.

"Always, if the children want to be in music then ... because the instruments are expensive and hard to buy them, then it's always mostly borrowed through school," said Herminia Lopez Rodriguez, Alexa's mother.

Los Angeles police officers started the nonprofit about four years ago. This was their first instrument donation at a school since the pandemic started.

"We hope to get bigger and reach more people," said Chris Reza, an L.A.P.D. detective and one of the founders of the nonprofit. "It's really provided us an amazing opportunity to meet people and children in the communities that need music."

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