WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- The National Center for Children and Families started Men-in-Motion Fathers' Program to give a helping hand to former offenders.
Thirteen years later, the program is a growing network offering support and therapy to men.
Every Wednesday evening, a handful of men come together at the CARA House on Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. in NE (Deanwood neighborhood).
"Thank you lord, take care of our families, keep our brothers strong..." Karl Andrews, the program coordinator, starts the meeting with an open prayer.
Andrews leads the meeting for men who want to escape a troubled past and embrace a brighter future.
"We try to give direction and guidance, so we can be role models to others by what we do and not what we say. Often people talk about what they're going to do. We actually try to show it," says Andrews.
At the meeting, Larry Summers, shares some of his current stress: "I've been doing the job searching thing..and I'm very patient..don't get me wrong, but patience don't pay the bills."
The group nods and mumbles in agreement.
Andrews gives him a bit of encouragement. "So you just stay, stay...stay encouraged, stay encouraged brother!" Andrews tells him.
As one of the older participants, Summers has a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is a father and a grandfather.
When he first joined the group, he hardly shared his thoughts or feelings. But now, he has become more open during the meetings. He knows the importance of emotional support.
"I've been to relationships, the unemployment, the trouble at home, out in the street and I just share with them my experience," he says.
Kevin Wilson believes Men-in-Motion is helping him become a better father to his 3-year-old son.
"I've always want my son to be a better person than I am, always. I want him to go beyond the things that I've done," says Wilson. He tells 9NEWS NOW that he is grateful to have escaped a tough childhood and wants to continue improving his life and his toddler's life.
Men-in-Motion helps the men with parenting skills, it has grown into a therapeutic center for 29-year old Jason Brown.
"I'm definitely the product of what the program can do. I'm working. Me and my kids, we straight. I'm in the process of enrolling in UDC this summer to get my degree in music," Brown says. Applause erupts from the group.
Brown says Men-in-Motion kept him away from trouble. When he started to attend the meetings as a young teen, he was facing two paths: life in the streets or a possible life raising his child, family and getting higher education.
He says with the program's help, he chose to be role model and a father figure to his child and the children in the community.
NOTE: The Gannett Foundation donated to The National Center for Children and Families.