Give a Beat
2017 Annual Report

Photo by Eric Herrera from Loom IYD White Party - Omaha

Photo by Eric Herrera from Loom IYD White Party - Omaha


IN 2017, GIVE A BEAT marched oN!

Give a Beat engages and activates the dance music community around mass incarceration in the United States. Thanks to your support, we bridge the dance music community with youth and families impacted by incarceration through DJ workshops, education, and advocacy. This year, we added one more important activity to the mix: mentoring.



On the broadest scale, Give a Beat educates the dance music community through activations at events and festivals across the country. One a community-level, we invite DJs, artists, and community members to get proximate with the issue of mass incarceration through our one-of-a-kind DJ workshops and special initiatives like AirBnB Experiences. And, with the launch of our new mentoring program, we’re now creating an opportunity to drive change through interpersonal relationships.


We believe music is an opportunity-driver and we are in a unique position to bring together our friends from the dance music community with incarceration-impacted youth and their families. Mentoring can be a force-multiplier for our mission by bringing skills, hope, and opportunity to youth one-on-one for an extended period of time.

Kathryn Stellmacher, graphic design instructor, watching the students get their hands on Illustrator. 

Kathryn Stellmacher, graphic design instructor, watching the students get their hands on Illustrator. 

In the fall, we launched a 7-week music-centered graphic design workshop. Eight young people learned graphic design and how to apply those skills to the dance music industry. We developed the program under the careful guidance of our expert mentor program consultants, Dr. Dustianne North and Jerry Sherk, and partnered with another youth-focused gang intervention organization in Southern California, Project Kinship.


The mentorship program develops a young person’s passions and creative talents, which we believe can help them carve a career path, as well as to provide a supportive space for emotional healing and personal transformation.

We also aim to raise awareness and understanding about the needs of adults and families affected by incarceration, through public education efforts and as a byproduct of the positive connections we build between professional artists and the young adults we serve.


We implemented the pilot program thanks to a generous grant from the Aquent Design for Good initiative. Upon program completion, each student received a certificate of completion, a t-shirt with their own logo design, a laptop, and Adobe Illustrator subscription to continue honing their newly learned skills. 

Thank you for providing such a wonderful program to our kids, and for being able to look beyond the tattoos and being able to see that our kids are more than the sum of their mistakes.
— Angel Monzon, Project Kinship Project Coordinator
Kathyrn Stellmacher and Lauren Segal present a Certificate of Completion to Project Kinship member Christian Padilla.

Kathyrn Stellmacher and Lauren Segal present a Certificate of Completion to Project Kinship member Christian Padilla.

We really enjoyed the opportunity to speak to the students about Instagram and how they can use the graphic design skills they’re learning to create possibilities for their futures. We’re honored to help support Give a Beat and Project Kinship in the amazing work they both do. Overall it was a very rewarding experience!
— Crystal Arreola & Casey McCune, Boomagram

A Message from one of our students:

My name is Sam. I’m thankful to have been in the Give a Beat program. People have different reasons as to why they enjoyed the program, here’s mine. Before I joined it, I was struggling. A lot of negative things were going on in my life and I needed to get distracted from those bad things going on. So I was looking for things to do to keep busy. Not many things are appealing to me, so it was hard. But then someone from Kinship told me about the program. And I immediately said yes. I said yes so fast cause graphic design has always been so dope to me. So then I went to the second class cause I missed the first class cause I couldn’t find the location. After the first class I stayed because it was good, the people were amazing. So now graphic design isn’t just something I want to do to keep me busy. So I will continue to get better and familiarize myself with the software. But not going to lie, I wish the program lasted longer, if they do something similar or the same thing again, I will definitely join it again. As of matter of fact, there should be more. So many creative minds out there waiting to find a way to express themselves. Very thankful and grateful for Give a Beats program. Thank you.

Thank you to our additional guests:

DJ Times Editor in Chief Jim Tremayne, DJ Jamie Schwabl, Filmmaker Michael Boidy, music industry social media entrepreneurs Casey McCune and Crystal Garcia, and multi-media wizard DJ Hawkeye.

What a wonderful time attending the mentorship program! It was so heartwarming to see even one students eyes light up with intrigue and excitement! The experience was as much a gift to me as it was for the kids.
— Jamie Schwabl, DJ/Founder of Wülfpack


DJ workshops give youth the opportunity to explore mixing and dance music hands on. Expression through music and dance can be a powerful force of hope to our youth program participants. We have an extensive network of professional DJs that volunteer to teach youth, bringing young people impacted by over-incarceration in close proximity to the dance music world.


Participating Partners:


OUR favorite dj workshop memories:

  • APRIL: Awarded Partner of the Year by the Boy’s and Girls Club of Laguna Beach

  • MAY: Partnership with Girls Rock Detroit! We provided guest DJs to teach their workshops with their director/coordinator, professional DJ Stacey Hotwaxx Hale

  • MAY: Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach DJ workshop with special guest, DJ Jamie Schwabl

  • MAY-JULY: A Place Called Home Workshops with guest DJ Jesus Vargas, DJ Klash, DJ Robotech Reagan, and DJ Devoid

  • JUNE: DJ Missy B and DJ Nonfiction host DJ workshop with Arts for Incarcerated Youth at Camp Kirby Juvenile Hall

  • SEPTEMBER: Partnership with Field Trippin' Fest 2017! Give a Beat held a DJ Workshop with special guest DJ Sattva Ananda for youth in Taos, New Mexico.



Mass incarceration is an enormous challenge that causes generations of suffering. It requires a action from every community and industry. We aim to represent the dance music community’s response to the grave and devastating injustice of incarceration. One piece of this is ensuring our community is educated about the issues and engaging with it in meaningful ways:


 1. Volunteering at Festivals

Committing to volunteering with an organization makes you feel a part of something! It’s an incredible way to get the community close to our mission and help educate others on the issues, the youth we serve, and how to get involved more deeply. More than 25 people volunteer with Give a Beat at Movement Festival Detroit each year. Collectively, they work our bar, manage our Giant Jenga Fundraising Game, and educate festival-goers at our booth. 

Courtney Spivak, Jenga referee and volunteer from Girls Rock Detroit with Melissa Coppola, Founder of Girls Rock Detroit.

Courtney Spivak, Jenga referee and volunteer from Girls Rock Detroit with Melissa Coppola, Founder of Girls Rock Detroit.

I had a blast working at the Give A Beat / Girls Rock Detroit Giant Jenga tent at Movement. This was my first time working with Give a Beat as a volunteer and I was excited to help such a good cause! It was nice to have a chance to engage people one on one and tell them about all the great things Give a Beat and Girls Rock Detroit are giving back to the community through music and youth engagement.
— Courtney Spivak, Movement Volunteer

2. The Giant Jenga Fundraising Games

Our signature Give a Beat Jenga for Justice fundraising games made appearances at two festivals in 2017: Movement Detroit and Dirtybird Campout West. The games educate the community about mass incarceration while engage artists and fans to raise money and awareness for Give a Beat’s youth programs.



Soul Clap, Golf Clap, Francesca Lombardo, DJ Stacey Hotwaxx Hale, DJ Minx, Marissa Guzman, Mike Clark, Dax Lee, Atnarko, Gene Farris, Jason Hodges, Chuck Daniels of Sampled Recordings Detroit, Twin Cousin, John Johr, Unicorn Fukr, Fred Everything, Finley, SuperDre, Dru Ruiz, The Saunderson Brothers, Emanate, DJ Lynda Carter, Nešto, Wally Callerio, Walker & Royce, and Will Clarke.

Even though I took my first loss, the Give a Beat Giant Jenga experience continues to be a big WIN for social justice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better way to get artists engaged with a cause and bring there fans along for the ride. Can’t wait to get back in action at Movement this year!
— Eli Goldstein, Soul Clap
Eli Goldstein of Soul Clap playing Jenga at Movement Festival.

Eli Goldstein of Soul Clap playing Jenga at Movement Festival.


Ardalan, Britta Arnold, Christian Martin, Claude VonStroke, Chris Lorenzo, Cut Snake, Dances With White Girls, Deron Delgado, DJ E-Clyps, DJ Deeon, Don Rimini, Gene Farris, Justin Martin, J.Phlip, Lux Groove, kLL sMTH, Mark Starr, Sirus Hood, Unicorn Fukr, Walker & Royce, Will Clarke

Dirtybird is proud to partner with Give a Beat at our Dirtybird Campout. We value their mission to reduce mass incarceration and the negative effect that this has on youth and their families. They are making a real difference in many communities and we’re so happy to be a part of this mission.
— Aundy Crenshaw, Dirtybird Chief Marketing & Coordinating Manager
Justin Martin, Wood Holly, Britta Arnold and Sascha Lahti at Dirtybird Campout West.

Justin Martin, Wood Holly, Britta Arnold and Sascha Lahti at Dirtybird Campout West.


3. International Youth Day

Give a Beat, in collaboration with promoters across the United States, International Youth Day with a series of dance music events spanning from New York to Los Angeles from August 11 to 13.

The “anchor” event is always the famous Tropical Boat Party hosted by longtime Give a Beat advisory board member and supporter DJ Ben Annand.

Photo by Rory Alcantar from IYD Tropical Boat Party - L.A.

Photo by Rory Alcantar from IYD Tropical Boat Party - L.A.

The IYD 2017 campaign raised awareness about the plight of youth in our unjust system of over incarceration and highlights the positive impact Give a Beat's programs make.


4. Panels Across the Country

Moogfest Durham, North Carolina

“Music & Tech: Tools to Fight Mass Incarceration” explored the variety of ways music and technology are being utilized to address, avoid, fight, and recover from the devastating impact of mass incarceration. With the odds stacked against young people of color, it’s imperative to find solutions and avenues for their success. Give a Beat is a huge proponent of giving youth creative outlets for self-expression through music and challenge the school to prison pipeline.

Marshall Jones from Give a Beat and Dancegruv Radio moderated Panel at Moogfest.

Marshall Jones from Give a Beat and Dancegruv Radio moderated Panel at Moogfest.

Phonte Coleman and Nicolay of The Foreign Exchange Band, Kaitlyn Boecker of the Drug Policy Alliance, Monte McCoin of the Human Rights Defense Center, Phi Pham of Building Beats and Rob Wall of the North Carolina Commision on Racial and Ethnic Disparities.

Herald Sun News Coverage


West Coast Weekender, San Diego

“Give a Beat! Change the System!” focused on how the nation’s criminal justice system, fueled by the drug war, is in desperate need of complete reform and overhaul.


Rich Medina, Stacy Kidd, Rescue Poetix, Morgan Humphrey of Drug Policy Alliance, Jeremy Stock of The California Innocence Project, and Joey Nunez Estrada Jr.




5. AirBnB Social Impact Experiences

AirBnb chose Give a Beat to pioneer the Social Impact Experience for the Los Angeles market launch. Airbnb Social Impact Experiences allow guests to participate in an experience that is fund, educational, and socially conscious or impactful. A portion of the experience cost goes to the host organization.

Give a Beat launched several experiences in Los Angeles and San Francisco to educate guests about incarceration, dance music, and our organization.

We partnered with other organizations to provide the most educational experience possible:

  • Homeboy Industries

  • Point Blank Music School / Mack Sennett Studios

  • Pyramind Music School

  • The Great Northern

Fast Company, Skift, American Spirit, and the Wide Awake Stories Insomniac Podcast


6. Online education

Thanks to our social media volunteers, we can educate the dance music community about mass incarceration and its devastating impact every day.


the give a beat ethos

Equal Justice Institute founder and social justice attorney, Bryan Stevenson, eloquently laid out four principles of change in a now-famous video fittingly called How to Change the World. Inspired by these principles that apply so closely to our mission—and guided by mentoring professionals on our board—we see incredible potential in mentoring as a core program for change in the community we serve.


While our education, awareness, advocacy, and DJ workshops critically touch on one or more of these principles, mentorship falls across each of these, from both the mentee and the mentor side, and is a program we will focus on expanding in 2018.


Although our core programs focus on youth, their families and a direct connection to music, Give a Beat is deeply involved in the broader issue of mass incarceration. We independently participate in special projects to further advocacy, awareness, or activism on this issue.

WREN—Women’s Re-Entry Network

WREN helps formerly incarcerated girls and women prepare to move forward into healthy, fulfilling and successful futures. In March 2017, WREN put together 40 care packages for women for their first day out of prison. The first 48 hours after release are fraught with uncertainty and instability for many low income women that do not have resources waiting for them on the outside. Our care packages were intended to provide women with essential tools along with the message of hope and support.

Packages were given to Susan Burton’s Los Angeles based organization, A New Way of Life, which provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women.

Keep up with give a beat: