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User Spotlight: Stephan Hicks, My Brother’s Keeper of Greater Richmond


Get to know Stephan “Coach” Hicks, Founder and Director of My Brother’s Keeper of Greater Richmond.

 

“In this age of individualism, men are beginning to realize the importance of having brothers who will support, encourage, and hold one another accountable to a Christian model of manhood.”

Q: What is the focus of your work, and how is it aligning with ConnectVA’s mission to empower individuals, advance organizations, and strengthen our community?

Being a man has never been easy, but the Bible teaches that there are resources available to help us face this challenge. My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) helps men draw on the resources available to become a better man, husband, father, and brother; a man of integrity and good character– an authentic man of God.

MBK addresses the lack of clarity around what being a man really means, absent fathers and its effect on children, and the emotional and spiritual needs of young men. MBK helps men develop the kind of relationships they need in order to be an authentic man through acceptance, encouragement, and exhorting one another as brothers. Our goal is to empower and strengthen men in order to reduce the rates of absent father and its effects on our youth, to repair broken homes, to promote educational/vocational advancement, and to encourage a sense of community which is very much in alignment with ConnectVA’s mission.

Q: What do you find the most rewarding about your work?

I have had to overcome many obstacles in my life and can relate to many of the struggles that our men and young boys face today. One thing that I have learned is that it is all about “relationships.” In this age of individualism, men are beginning to realize the importance of having brothers who will support, encourage, and hold one another accountable to a Christian model of manhood. As our “Manhood Chronicles” articulate, it is very rewarding to see the transformation that takes place in men that permeates positively into their family and community.

Q: Tell us about your biggest accomplishment in this position, some challenges you have faced, and lessons you have learned.

My biggest accomplishment would be the building of relationships between the men of the group and some community and faith-based partners. Our other accomplishments include our 1st Graduation Ceremony, the Resolution Ceremony, and the Courageous Movie Showing.

When the organization was originally formed, it began in my home. The vision at that time was to get a couple of my friends to embark on a journey to explore what authentic manhood represented. We had no idea it would grow into a major force in the Richmond area, and with the increased growth and turn-over, the vision has expanded and we realized the need for operating under a nonprofit status. 

The biggest lesson that I have learned is to have a never give up attitude. Another lesson is that relationships mean more than silver and gold.

Q: What’s got you excited? 

I’m really excited about our new revamped website which rolled out in January. As well, we launched our first issue of the “Manhood Chronicles“, a monthly newsletter telling the untold stories of Richmond’s men, last month. Later this year in November, we plan to have the “Manny’s”, which will be an award ceremony to honor those unsung heroes in a semi-formal setting with their families and community.

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