PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Just outside downtown Portsmouth, four men are on a mission.
They call themselves Andrew’s Brothers – named for the apostle Andrew.
“We are standing here together to save our children if we don’t save them, who will,” said Carl Williams, who is a member of Third Baptist Church and a member of the church’s youth program called Andrew’s Brothers.
The Brothers are taking aim at the decades of dysfunction that have placed weapons of war in the hands of children. Over the past few years, 10 On Your Side has covered numerous stories involving kids, crime, drugs, gangs and death.
Just days before Christmas, a 17-year-old Portsmouth boy was shot and killed. The suspects are 13, 16, 17 and 18-years-old.
With an entire generation at risk, Andrew’s Brothers say they will save the children, but they need help from the entire village.
“It has to be within your house and in the community, said Ronald Smith II.
A few weeks ago, 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox and Regina Mobley observed the group in action at the Hampton Roads International Auto Show.
“And as you saw on that day we met (you saw) how joyful it was,” Williams said. “It’s like a new world they’ve never been to before.”
Some of the teens who attended the auto show are members of Third Baptist Church, but all are members of the Andrew’s Brothers team.
“What we say to them is you can get that car, keep doing the right thing, stay in school, honor your mother and father and be of good help,” Williams said.
Decades ago, Williams himself ended up in trouble with the law due to drug addiction. He spent five years behind bars and is eager to share his experiences as a teachable moment.
“Anything you want to be in life you can do it,” Williams said. “You might make a mistake, but it’s not over because where there is life and there is hope.
“Love and compassion, we have it for you; you’re not alone. We are here with you; just give us a chance to show you love because you are loved and loved greatly.”
Beginning in March, every Monday night Andrew’s Brothers will be on hand to help young men and boys at Third Baptist Church on Godwin Street in Portsmouth.
If you would like to donate to Andrew’s Brothers, see a fundraising link on the church’s website.