Looking right at home standing on stage dressed in black from head to toe and flanked by the 12 guitars he donated to Alex’s Place, Ernie Boch Jr. presented a check Wednesday for $6,000 to the teen center at the YMCA.

“Music makes people better people,” Mr. Boch said.

Alex’s Place has a strong connection to music, with a performance space and recording studios on the basement level, open mic nights and numerous concerts headlined by teens. For the past five summers, Alex’s Place has provided free summer music lessons for kids age 13 to 18 through its Adrenaline Music Program. Now the program can operate year round, thanks to the grant from Mr. Boch’s foundation Music Drives Us.

The new initiative kicks off with guitar workshops held the first three Saturdays in February. In addition to the $6,000 check, Mr. Boch donated 10 acoustic/electric guitars and two electric bass guitars, along with accessories totalling $9,000.

Junior Kasey Stevenson tries out one of the donated guitars. — Mark Lovewell

Mr. Boch described music as a language of its own. “You can go anywhere in the world, not even be able to speak the language, and pull out a guitar and you’re talking to the person next to you.”

Since 2006, Mr. Boch’s foundation has given grants to over 150 organizations throughout New England. Mr. Boch has been coming to the Island since 1966 and described the winter and fall as his favorite seasons on the Vineyard.

“You guys being here, you might get in trouble here but at least we can see you get in trouble,” he said to the teenagers attending the ceremony at Alex’s Place. This received a knowing laugh.

Kasey Stevenson grabbed one of the guitars, testing it out on her song Stay, which she dedicated to her late grandfather. Kasey has been nurturing her talent for years at Alex’s Place. During her freshman year of high school she opened for Charli XCX at Flatbread’s Stars and Stripes Festival. She is now a junior and working on an album guided by Tony Lombardi, director of the teen center.

Laurel Redington, assistant director of Alex’s Place and production director at mvyradio, also attended the ceremony.

“Kasey is a representative of a lot of what is in this room right now, of young people who are finding their way to music through their hearts, through their desire,” Ms. Redington said. “So Ernie thank you again so much for supporting that.”

Sophomore Alex Vasiliadis also tested out one of the guitars, sitting on the edge of the stage. He’s been playing guitar for a year and a half and is working up the confidence to perform in front of a crowd.

“I definitely plan to do [the workshops],” he said. “Tony’s been talking to me about it for like three weeks.”

Mr. Lombardi accepted the grant with a huge smile.

“I’m thrilled for you to get to know some of the best kids on the planet and to make this dream come true,” said Mr. Lombardi. “I hope you’ll come and hang out.”