"Can you believe that thirteen years ago I was starting to head down the path of destruction? One man saved my life, a man by the name of Victor Barnett. He came into my life at the tender age of twelve as my AAU basketball coach and my role model. With his guidance and structure I was able to divert from the direction I was going in, and choose a new outlook on life and the way I lived it. In a sense, he became a second father to me. He helped me get through those rough years in school, and with him backing me up, I finished high school." - Anwar Jenkins (8/6/03)
"The Running Rebels has not only helped me mentally, but also physically and emotionally. When I first started off in this organization I was not an outspoken person. Through the emotional teachings of Victor Barnett I learned that there was nothing to be afraid of, and if I put my mind to it, I can achieve it. Through speeches like this and many more, I was able to, not only do speeches in small groups, but also in large groups throughout the community. Running Rebels has been a guidance and inspiration to not only me, but many youth who grew up with me." - Shimeka Currin (2003)
Local Success Stories
Anwar JenkinsAnwar Jenkins, a long time member of the Running Rebels, plays a very important role here. He is a mentor, a coach and a musician. When asked what it was like when he first got involved with the organization, he stated, "Victor ran it all by himself. We were always going to youth conferences to help us with not having a building." He says the difference between then and now is that the building is five times bigger. Recently he has begun rapping in a studio that he, Victor and Nathan Cooper started. "I was so excited to hear my song on the radio! I felt glad to receive compliments from people I didn’t know," he said. Some day Anwar hopes to become very successful and plans to bring Trio Records with him.
Shelby Parrish has been with the Running Rebels for most of his life. He joined the Warning Basketball Team at the age of 14. Parrish states, "I enjoyed the competition. It was fun and it kept me out of trouble." His positive experiences at Running Rebels influenced his career choices as he majored in Psychology at Jackson State University. He returned to Milwaukee after college and worked with Social Services for seven years where part of his job was bringing youth to Running Rebels. In 2001, he returned to Running Rebels to become the director of the SCOP (Serious Chronic Offenders Program). His ability to connect with the youth and help them make positive choices has led to an 85% success rate in this program. Parrish states, "Life is about making positive relationships." He advises youth to "never give up", and that, "As a young person you might make a mistake, but you still have time to change and make positive connections."
Nate CooperMilwaukee native Nate "Can-De-Man" Cooper is a long-time member of the RRCO as well as an alumnus of Tuskegee University where he majored in Electrical Engineering.At age 7, he became an active member in the Running Rebels program. Then, when he was 16 and a high school sophomore at Madison High School, he began his career as a rapper. When asked what inspired him to start rapping he answered, "I felt tired of hiding behind closed doors and wanted to express my true talent." He then decided to pursue his career through the Running Rebels Music Program. Now 23 years old, his past 5 years have been a successful journey.As an active member of the RRCO program, he performed at the African World Festival, Centennial Hall (Apollo), Summer Fiesta, and Juneteenth Day. When asked where he would like to perform his next song, he replied, "I would like to perform my next song at the Bradley Center."At the Running Rebels Community Organization he is viewed more as a boss, then as an employee. Mr. Cooper says, "To be successful at the Running Rebels Community Organization, you have to be willing to work hard and have fun". His motto is, "Never settle for less when you can be the best." When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, he replied, "Owning several major companies like music, engineering, and real estate." He plans to be a life-long member of the RRCO. His advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the music industry or becoming successful at life is to "Be serious. Your input equals your output, so strive to be the best."