Nonprofit encourages young musicians, gifts instruments to qualified kids

Kids Rock The Nation has donated thousands of instruments, equipment to kids in need

Anthony Wild is the founder of Kids Rock The Nation a Central Florida nonprofit getting results worldwide.

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Anthony Wild has spent his life on stage. But he’ll tell you his greatest performance has been away from the spotlight.

Wild is the founder of Kids Rock The Nation a Central Florida nonprofit getting results worldwide.

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Study after study shows that kids involved with music do better in school, work better in teams and have enhanced critical thinking skills.

But not all families can afford quality instruments.

That’s where Kids Rock The Nation is getting results - donating thousands of instruments and equipment to qualified kids.

Wild founded Kids Rock the Nation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2014 to share his passion for music with children in need. Initially, the primary service area was focused on Central Florida but the scope has grown to bring instruments to schools and programs all across the country. Instruments have also gone to Guatemala, the Philippines and Canada.

“These are all guitars that will go to kids in the local schools,” Wild said, pulling back a sheet covering about a dozen electric guitars in storage.

Wild has everything from pianos to amplifiers and even a drum kit, waiting for the right kid.

Wild’s love of music started at a young age. “I started playing music when I was about 5,” Wild remembered. “By the time I was 15, I had a record playing on the radio. I was fortunate and I played a lot.”

Wild has collected mementos from Blues shows and sessions he’s played in over the years. “These are all from festivals that I’ve done,” he said, pointing to a wall covered in posters, photos and backstage passes.

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“I’ve been fortunate, I played with some of the best musicians in the world.”

But all that changed when he was diagnosed with cancer 19 years ago.

“I’ll admit, I was a musician and I didn’t have health insurance,” Wild said. “I was very sick.”

That’s when Wild met a doctor who took a personal interest in his care and agreed to help him free of charge.

“He said, ‘I don’t know what it is about you but something has come over me and I would like to try to save your life and I believe I can do it.’”

Wild said that doctor, and many others, gave him the best care available.

After surviving a long battle, Wild wanted to pay them back somehow. “I’m from Wisconsin. I grew up in the woods. A little town with 100 people,” Wild remembered. “Somebody saves your life, there’s payback for that. You must do something.”

It was decided that “something” would be what Wild knew best: music.

He wanted to use his second chance to give back to the community. Wild decided to devote himself to helping kids find their self-esteem, purpose, and passion through music.

Now, nearly every weekend in the summer, Wild and members of the nonprofit’s board of directors gather at Fields BMW in Daytona Beach for public gifting. It’s a way to recognize one of the sponsors but also insures Wild is able to personally deliver the message of making good choices, choosing your own direction, staying out of trouble and building confidence.

Jack Adams, Fields Sales Advisor said the company has been a sponsor for about 5 years, donating tens of thousands towards new instruments.

“It’s really cool to see the smile on kids faces when they walk out of here,” Adams said. “Knowing that they have the opportunity to peruse music, it’s really neat.”

News 6 was there as counselors from the Edgewater YMCA accepted a new Keyboard, PA system and used Yamaha speakers. The equipment will be the foundation for a music program starting for their kids club.

Cheryl Dean said the items will help some kids in her class build confidence. “It’s amazing, it’s amazing,” Dean said when she saw the stack of equipment in the dealership. “Children really respond to music. People don’t realize how important these programs are to children.”

Wild has always been a singer and front man, putting on a good show for the crowd. Now his young beneficiaries are putting on a show for him.

“It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life, hands down,” Wild said. “I’ll tell you, playing in front of thousands of people is really a thrill but seeing a kid happy, studying music, tops it a million times. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Kids Rock The Nation is in need of monetary donations, volunteers as well as used equipment. If you think you can help apply here.


About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.