As published by Fox6 Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE – Community organizations are teaching practical ways to prevent violence from happening again. When it comes to working with young people, there are challenges. One group is teaching tools to tackle conflict resolution.

For days, we’ve heard the mayor, city leaders and the police chief say to put down the guns and use better behavior to resolve conflict. How do we talk to talk teens and young people about this?

Twenty people were shot in less than two hours.

FOX6’s Aaron Maybin: “How do you talk to your youth about the violence we saw over the weekend?”

Shooting at Water and Juneau, Milwaukee

“It really is creating a safe place to hear from them in regards to how they’ve been impacted,” said Dawn Barnett, Running Rebels.

Impact isn’t just a word to Barnett. She heads up Running Rebels, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping kids out of scenes like this.

FOX6’s Aaron Maybin: “What are key tools you’re teaching young people to resolve conflict?”

“One thing we’re teaching them is first to recognize what they have to live for,” said Barnett. “We have them recognize people in your life who look up to you. Who are those people who look up to you? Now, identify something you are excited about that you want to accomplish. Getting them to think about something in the future.”

Conversations about emotional regulation are especially important in the teenage years when the brain is still developing.

“We walk through these difficult situations,” said Barnett. “What does it feel like in your body? How do you know and recognize what your emotions are doing? Being in tune with all those things to recognize when you’re reaching a danger point inside of yourself.”

That’s where the concept of “thought busters” comes in.

“Something that is powerful that you can tell yourself when you are in a situation. It will be able to snap you back and interrupt the thoughts you are having,” said Barnett.

Barnett says the most important tool during conflict is the power of the pause.

“Please take the time to think about your life and what you want for your life,” said Barnett. “It’s not easy, I know that. I make it sound easy. It takes practice. Like any muscle, it’s a muscle you have to build.”

Barnett says they are not the only group in the city doing things to help mentor young people and resolve conflict. There are other groups and people putting in the important work.

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