$430K grant allocated to 12 youth organizations to help curb violence during summer months

NOW: $430K grant allocated to 12 youth organizations to help curb violence during summer months

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A federally funded grant is helping 12 youth organizations across Milwaukee enhance their summer programs.

This grant is called reCAST: "Through the Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma.

The grant aims at providing economic help to organizations whose missions are geared at keeping youth on the straight and narrow.

"During the summer months, young people are not in school and so some of their safety nets, some of their connections to either community or friends looks very different than doing the school year," said Arnitta Holliman, director of the Office of Violence Prevention.

And it’s that connection to community and friends that organizations like Running Rebels sought to do nearly four decades ago.

"It started off as basketball," said Dawn Barnett, co-executive director of Running Rebels.

Running Rebels is one of the 12 organizations selected to receive funding, moving their mission of gang and drug prevention forward.

Barnett says the funding will allow us to think differently about what we can do even more of in the summer.

Barnett says some of the funds received will go towards their "Be the Change" program, along with community engagement programs.

Barnett goes on to say the organization has a phrase called "Rebel For Life" -- a phrase taken to heart by Deontay Johnson.

Johnson walked through Rebels' doors at age 13. Now in his early 30s, he works for Running Rebels.

Johnson says he knows the lasting impact this community organization can have, saying, "I'm still striving to become better. It's like every day I come here a new door opens up for me."

OVP says last year, through the help of the reCAST grant, 5,000 families were directly impacted.

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