Running Rebels Community Organization: Helping the Commnity from Within

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Tuesday, September 27, 2016
noon - 1:15 p.m. CDT

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Dawn Barnett, co-executive director of Running Rebels Community Organization, gave a very inspirational lecture outlining the work that the community organization has been committed to for the past few decades. Targeting at-risk youth, Running Rebels builds relationships, skillsets, and confidence by establishing mentors and providing for positive activities. The community organization started as a response to increased gang-recruiting in inner city neighborhoods, and Victor (the founder) saw the need for positive youth activities. The organization has grown to encompass school programs and programs that provide alternatives to prison time.

Dawn spent much of her time highlighting the difficulties that the organization faces, and the success it has achieved. Key takeaways include the innovative approach to funding that Running Rebels has sought (rather than being solely donation-based, Running Rebels has found ways to find permanent funding sources from schools and other institutions), as well as the improtance of harnessing a local community's abilities to heal itself. Dawn stressed that Running Rebels was only successful because of Victor's Milwaukee presence and the lasting community relationships that he established, and that it was not a model that could readily be transplanted elsewhere. She repeatedly highlighted the importance of finding the strengths and inner power of a troubled community as the best way to transform it.



Dawn Barnett

Dawn Barnett is the Co-Executive Director for Running Rebels Community Organization (RRCO). The poet, musician and singer/songwriter works alongside her husband Victor Barnett (the Founder and Executive Director) to provide services and programs to Milwaukee’s youth and families. With over 130 staff members, RRCO serves over 2500 youth ... Read More

Contact Info

Dee Nordgren,