© 2023 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Milwaukee Group Celebrates 40 Years Of Helping Kids

Wes Tank
Running Rebels is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

There are a lot of things vying for the attention of Milwaukee youth and most will experience at least one adverse childhood experience that can make their adult lives more difficult. 

And having at least one adult provide a positive environment can help steer kids in the right direction. For the last four decades, Running Rebels has been doing just that for hundreds of Milwaukee youth. The organization works to prevent involvement in gangs, drugs, violence and the juvenile justice system. 

“But when you say ‘who want to be a part of basketball. Who want to get in the music studio? Who wanna this? There’s some requirements, you gotta get your grades. Now you get the young people and now you are allowed to help them make better decisions," says Victor Barnett, the director and founder of running rebels. 

He started Running Rebels with a group of about 50 kids in Milwaukee who decided they wanted to play basketball together.

For Dawn Barnett, the co-executive director of Running Rebels, it’s about more than helping one kid at a time.

“Just think about the whole, the generations that come after, directly after that one person and how many people that ends up affecting,” she says. “So, when people say 'hey, it’s one person, one life at a time' — that really does make an impact.”

Running Rebels will be hosting a virtual celebration on Oct. 27 to commemorate its work over the last 40 years to improve the lives of Milwaukee youth.