Champions of Change

Barbara Notestein

Barbara Notestein, Executive Director, Safe & Sound, Milwaukee, WI

Barbara Notestein has served as Executive Director of Safe & Sound since 2002.   Safe & Sound is a crime reduction initiative focusing its collaborative strategy of community mobilization, positive youth development and law enforcement on 21 neighborhoods in Milwaukee with the highest rates of crime.  A significant priority is to prevent drug use and the demand that fuels the existence of drug houses, open air drug markets, drug trafficking and associated violent crime.

She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the position of Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Midwest. Notestein was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1984 and served seven terms, during which she was selected by her colleagues as the first woman Assistant Majority Leader.  She chaired the Urban Education and Welfare Reform Committees.  Prior to her election to office, Notestein worked as Executive Director of the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee, building several large advocacy coalitions and bring the school breakfast and WIC programs to Milwaukee. 

Safe & Sound is a partnership of law enforcement, prosecutors, youth-serving organizations, elected and civic leaders, businesses, city services, and clergy that works to reduce drug use and crime and rebuild neighborhoods.  The project organizes local residents and youth and connects them with these groups to identify and report criminal activity and prevent youth gang affiliation, crime, and drug use.

Engaging more than 20,000 young people every year, the program involves young people in youth-led crime reduction and neighborhood improvement projects, drug and alcohol prevention activities in addition to gang resistance and violence prevention efforts.  Safe & Sound Community Partners are community organizers who contact residents in high-crime neighborhoods door-to-door year round, listening to, and addressing, the individual concerns of residents.

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