Give a Beat was started as a positive way to energize the dance music community around the devastating impacts of mass incarceration and find innovative solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.  Using music as our common bond, Give a Beat is deploying programs and working on campaigns that give communities grappling with incarceration hope for a better future.  

Since our initial launch, we have had a lot of success with our DJ workshops with the help of our extensive network of professional DJs who volunteer for the program. In 2015, we did 4 workshops, serving 60 participants and doubled our impact in 2016 with 12 workshops, serving 80 participants.

DJ Workshops

‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.” “When will this happen again?” I love this!”  Andrea Graham, DJ Volunteer & Give a Beat Consultant

‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.” “When will this happen again?” I love this!” Andrea Graham, DJ Volunteer & Give a Beat Consultant

Give a Beat’s DJ Workshops for youth are offered in collaboration with our existing partners, A Place Called Home, Everyone Deserves a Chance, The Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club, Girls Rock Detroit, Arts for Incarcerated Youth and Homeboy Industries. The workshops are designed to promote self-confidence, empowerment, individuality, and healing from trauma.  They also celebrate and encourage positive forms of self-expression through dance music.

Our collaborative partner organizations specialize in serving vulnerable youth who face multiple challenges towards following a positive life path.  Many of the youth participants come from underserved communities that are grappling with poverty, crime and gang culture, over-policing, and incarceration of a family member. With the immense and varied challenges that these youth face, we have found one commonality of hope. Expression through music and dance can foster positive connections and be a powerful force in inspiring a future that breaks the cycle of poverty and incarceration.

We have an extensive network of professional DJ’s that volunteer for the workshops and we are always looking for more!  Please contact us to learn more and get involved!




“On a New Track”

“One of the things that I like about what Give a Beat is doing is that I believe that if there were programs like this before I got incarcerated it would have a changed my life a lot… because all I really needed was an outlet.”- Sean Wilson, Anti-Recidivism Coalition Member

“One of the things that I like about what Give a Beat is doing is that I believe that if there were programs like this before I got incarcerated it would have a changed my life a lot… because all I really needed was an outlet.”- Sean Wilson, Anti-Recidivism Coalition Member

Founder of Give a Beat, Lauren Segal is working with expert mentor program advisor, Dr. Dustianne North (PhD, MSW), Jerry Sherk (M.A.), and advisory board member, Sean Wilson, to build the “On a New Track” mentoring program which bridges a critical gap for previously incarcerated youth to leading productive lives and building successful careers. Read about our development team below.

Program Overview

Give a Beat Mentoring is a 1:1 mentoring program that will provide individualized support to youth ages 16-24 who are transitioning out of the juvenile justice system. The primary aim of the Give a Beat mentoring program is to empower youth exiting the juvenile justice system to unlock the power of their natural artistic talents and develop their entrepreneurial skills to improve employment outcomes, while learning to use their experiences in the justice system to become advocates for social change.

By developing trusting relationships with a caring adult mentor, primarily recruited via the electronic music community, mentees will gain communication and social skills, job skills and training in entrepreneurship, all while building their self-esteem. Mentees will also be exposed to creative careers in the music industry via skill and knowledge building activities including interaction with DJ and music production equipment, tours of music tech company facilities, and opportunities to assist with the production of music workshops and events.

In addition, mentees will have the opportunity to meet with artists and music industry professionals, which can help them understand how their natural interests and strengths can translate into productive employment and even lifelong careers, resulting in improved employment outcomes.

Why Mentoring?

Give a Beat has chosen mentoring as a primary service because it has helped people in difficult situations to “turn their lives around”. A powerful tool for personal and social transformation, it is also an economically responsible way to impact the lives of these young people. Mentors also receive many benefits, including the feelings of personal satisfaction gained through providing care and support to their mentees.

Mentor Recruitment, Screening, and Training

Give a Beat mentors will be recruited via DJ workshops and will be screened according to evidence-based practices. The matching process will be done via natural matching mixers or job training. Mentors will be trained in strengths-based mentoring practices to ensure a positive experience for mentees.

Mentors are trained, above all, to develop a trusting relationship with a young person. When a mentee trusts their mentor, they also begin to see the world as a less threatening place. Gaining confidence, the mentee takes more risks, and this leads them to reaching out and making more connections, including exploring career opportunities.


Our program will also provide mentees with a unique “emancipatory curriculum,” as we believe it’s important for youth to understand the struggles and the victories of the artists and activists that came before them.  Our curriculum includes exploring the work of musicians and how their music was not only shaped by the times—but how the times were and are shaped by their music.  Mentees learn about jazz, house music, hip-hop and funk, and how the music is intertwined with social issues. In addition to helping mentees to remove self-blame about where they are in life, the Give a Beat experience will inspire them to become advocates for social change.

"An artist's duty is to reflect the times." - Nina Simone

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or just learning more, contact

Mentor Development Team:

Dr. Dustianne North - PhD, Social Worker, Scholar, Activist

Her social services work has focused on direct services, as well as training and technical assistance, for programs servicing youth and their families in highly distressed situations (youth in poverty, foster care youth, youth on probation, homeless and runaway youth, children of prisoners).

Jerry Sherk - M.A., Founder of Mentor Management System, Youth Mentor, and Mentoring Consultant

Former NFL football player and founder of the consulting firm Mentor Management System (MMS), a company that provides support to both small and large organizations and past NFL football players, Jerry Sherk has been providing services in the mentoring fields for over 20 years. After Mr. Sherk returned to school to study psychology to help athletes make the difficult move from sports to private life, he found that the support strategies he learned can be used with anyone in transition. Since 1992, Mr. Sherk has worked with a variety of populations including youth at risk for substance abuse, foster youth, gang involved youth, and youth that have had contact with the juvenile justice system. With a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in counseling, Mr. Sherk has become an expert in both 1:1 and group mentoring. He has a passion in helping programs to develop the structure, training materials and trainings that will help them to achieve success with the populations they are serving.

Sean Wilson - Give a Beat Program Associate

As a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Sean joined Give a Beat to spearhead our mentorship program. He earned an associates degree in business management and liberal arts as valedictorian while incarcerated. His TED Talk in 2014 entitled, “Fear,” explores the trials and tribulations of his life and how everyone has the potential to reinvent themselves.