Metronome's store manager Chris Stecker (left) holds one of the donated Yamaha classical guitars with store owner Larry Miller (right).

Metronome Music, Yamaha Donate to Sending Hope Int'l
Larry Miller, owner of Metronome Music in Mansfield, Ohio, recently partnered with Yamaha to donate 10 7/8-size guitars, extra nylon strings and tuners to Sending Hope International, an organization founded by fellow Mansfield resident David Atkins.

Sending Hope Int'l intervenes to save young girls at risk of sex trafficking in Thailand. Unrecognized as citizens by the Thai government, families from the hill tribes near the country's borders are very poor. Some turn in desperation to recruiters who coerce families to give up their daughters in exchange for the promise of a better life. As Miller put it, "People come in and buy the children and take them off 'to work at their restaurant in town.' But, unfortunately, there's no restaurant."

Atkins' ministry provides at-risk girls with a safe home, citizenship, an education and encourages their interest in music.

"[Atkins, a longtime customer] was talking about how much [the girls] enjoy and love music, but said they only have real cheap guitars," Miller told Music Inc. "And I thought, 'Hey, maybe that's something we could participate in.' We're committed to helping them as a store project."

The initial donation consists of 10 classical guitars, "because the nylon strings are easier on their fingers and have more longevity than the steel strings in that climate," Miller said.

To continue the project, Metronome Music has offered to fix up any guitars people donate to the organization, and provide some kind of certification as to where the guitar ends up.

"It's nice to get the word out," Miller said. "Maybe other stores can do this kind of thing."