As an organization that believes every child deserves equal access to opportunities, RRCO formed their intramural basketball teams to capture those who may be ineligible to play due or attend a school without a team. The participants generally come from the Violence Free Zone Program, the RRCO Monitoring Program, the Mentoring Program, and other programs for at-risk youth. Collaborating with MPS has afforded several youth the opportunity to reap the benefits of being a part of an organized team. Victor Barnett, the founder and executive director of Running Rebels Community Organization states, “When a student is involved in our teams, there is shared accountability and responsibility to others and themselves, and we engage them in positive activities during peak times where they may otherwise be exposed or engaged in negative behaviors or even worse, illegal or gang related activities.
The players receive guidance and mentoring from volunteers and the dedicated staff of the Running Rebels, who truly want to see them succeed.” The league currently has 6 teams with youth from different area high schools. It is the third week of competition. At the conclusion, an awards banquet will be held to recognize the accomplishments bothon and off the basketball court. The Running Rebels will also continue to assist players on perfecting their skills and being productive and active in their communities. Although it is only the second year of the league, there are many success stories to be told.
Some are smaller than others, but all are significant. Last year we worked with 2 athletes who are now eligible to play on their high school teams, Carl Thomas at South Division High School and Rodney Oliver at Washington High School. With continued success, we may have the next Kevon Looney in the making.