Lancaster organization gives recovering addicts a second chance to play

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LANCASTER, Pa. -- One woman in Lancaster County is helping recovering drug addicts find their own rhythm.

April Hartman, from Lancaster, started an organization called "Second Chance to Play" to give them a different outlet in music.

She said, "Music is a way that people heal from all different kinds of things that go on in life."

Hartman said some people recovering from addiction just crave strumming the strings of a guitar again.

"I had done music when I was younger but it was definitely something I lost to my addiction and I never really thought I would get back," she said.

Hartman went to rehab for drug and alcohol treatment a couple years ago. When she got clean, she played at an open mic night at her rehab center.

Hartman said, "I needed something to fill the hole in my life. So I picked up music and I started playing in there."

After she got clean, Hartman wanted to help others in similar situations.

"I hear a lot of the time people sell their instruments when they're in their acts of addiction, and they get clean and they're like, 'I wish I didn't do that. I could've used that right now. It could really help me,'" she said.

She started an organization that gives people who are in the early stages of recovery a second chance to play.

Hartman said, "I kept running into people that were like, 'Oh I have this extra guitar at my house. I wish I could do something with it.' So I was like, 'Why don't we use those... to give them to people who could benefit from them."

She and other volunteers also repair guitars donated if they need a tune up.

The organization has only been up and running for about a year and has already given out 11 guitars.

Erin Young, from Lancaster, is the most recent person to benefit from the non-profit.

Young said, "Lost everything, sold my guitar during my addiction. And when you come out of it, you really have a lot of empty space in your life because addiction takes up all your time."

She said getting the guitar is exactly what she needed in her life right now. She picked up where she left off.

"I'm building up the callouses again on my fingers. And that takes some time, but I've probably written like seven songs since then," Young said.

Hartman and Young said a Second Chance to Play is a way for them to change society's perceptions of what recovery looks like.

Hartman said, "Recovering addicts are people that have gifts that they can share with the world. They're capable people."

Young said, "We can come out, we can heal, and we can be reborn and live again."

Hartman wants to grow the organization and help as many recovering addicts as possible.

If you would like to donate a guitar, email or visit their website,

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