History and Overview
Since 1980, the Running Rebels Community Organization has been dedicated to developing Milwaukee’s youth mentally, physically and spiritually. By offering youth programs that focus on education and recreational activities, Running Rebels provides Milwaukee’s youth with positive alternatives to gangs and substance abuse.
Victor Barnett, the founder of the 30 + year old organization “wanted to provide an alternate outlet for the youths and help them out of trouble. I wanted to show them that someone does care about their needs.” Through respect, teamwork and discipline, he has helped to mold hundreds of young men into responsible members of society.
Running Rebels has received several awards and recognitions for the improvement of the community. Recently, CBS News 58 recognized Victor Barnett and Running Rebels for making a difference in other people’s lives in a 2010 segment of “Making Milwaukee Great.” This award honors people who make a positive impact in communities across Southeast Wisconsin. Running Rebels also became a MANDI finalist for Outstanding Nonprofit Organization on March 18th, 2010.
Running Rebels programs for high-risk youth include mentoring, tutoring, crisis stabilization, anger management, daily living skills, an after-school and summer safe and sound program and programs that address the needs of court appointed youth offenders. Among these programs is also the Milwaukee Violence Free Zone, which is a collaboration between the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, The Latino Community Center, Milwaukee Public Schools, and the Running Rebels Community Organization in conjunction with MPS teachers, safety workers, and administrative staff to assist with decreasing school suspensions and violent incidents, work closely with students who may have been labeled as “chronic disrupters” to assist them with overcoming their personal barriers to academic success, and to improve the overall safety and learning atmosphere of the school.
Running Rebels provides innovative programming to appeal to a broader cross- section of youth. These programs include a high-caliber AAU boys’ basketball team, football, track, boxing, cheerleading, a music instruction program and a youth entrepreneurial program which aims at developing skills and income-producing opportunities in the areas of lawn care, audio/visual and studio production, entertainment, T-shirt designing/distribution, and more.The RUNNING REBELS will continue to be active with Milwaukee’s youth, helping them to reach their highest potential.