TODAY'S TMJ4 Heroes Project features veteran who founded Unity in Motion

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 23:51:37-04

Allen Ruppel is a U.S. Navy veteran who quit his job in finances to found the Unity in Motion organization.

Unity in Motion is based out of All People's Church at 2nd & Clarke in Milwaukee.

The program's inspiration came from a karate class. "I ended up getting a black belt in karate, and all I wanted to do was teach a class," said Ruppel.

16 years later, that karate class has expanded into a program with tutoring, a scholarship program, family outings, community service projects, leadership programs and more.

Ruppel calls each of the participants a scholar. "If you call them kids, if we use any other terms, at risk and all that, that's already labeling someone who has limitless potential."

The scholars are believed in, trusted, listened to, cared for and taught they will succeed.

Pastor Steven said the scholars are at the heart of everything. "The commitment to the scholars is always at the core. So what's the best way to serve them."

Scholars who have spent a couple of years in the program are eager to come back.

"Unity in Motion is a family and you don't leave family. You stay with family through everything so I will come back and stay," said Tyler Gunn-Jackson, a leader intern at Unity in Motion.

That closeness is felt by all involved in the program.

"The scholars that are impacting the volunteers and staff and showing there is great hope, there is great power, there is great promise in our young people," Pastor Steven said.

Unity in Motion needs volunteers. For more information visit or the Unity in Motion Facebook page.