RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — John Carter is learning the right clothing is a big part of first impressions and how he wants to present himself.  It is a lesson he missed out on four years ago when his father passed away.

“The father that I lost I’ve gained, you know,” Carter’s voice trails off while he collects his thoughts. “And Coach has been with me every step of the way.”

“Coach” is Reverend Stephan Hicks, and his ministry is My Brother’s Keeper.

“I believe this is my calling,” Coach says.

In 2009, Hicks was doing his own soul searching. He wanted to be the best husband and father he could be. A study group that started in his home evolved into several programs on self-reflection and the role men have in their families and communities.

“The father that I lost I’ve gained, you know? And Coach has been with me every step of the way.” –John Carter

“This ministry really is to provide that type of support to our young men,” Coach explains.

Some participants are adjusting to fatherhood after jail time or grew up in foster care without steady male role models. Others strive to be supportive spouses when they never saw it in their own homes growing up.

“Be able to do the right thing to stay on the right path to be a success in the black community,” Carter says what he has gained from My Brother’s Keeper.

Carter adds that he is a better communicator and makes better decisions since Coach and the classes came into his life. He knows it is possible for anyone who takes that first step.

“They can do it. All you have to do is switch your mindset to be positive and let them know that you’re not alone,” Carter shares a message he hopes all men who are struggling hear.

Says Coach, “I would just encourage every man to just jump in.”

My Brother’s Keeper is holding a Suits for Success workshop on May 20 and 21. It is free for young men ages 16 to 25.  For more information on this event and others, call (804) 502-3239.