Surprising group 'important' to Midlothian student who was 'always there' for friends

'He was just always there for me… I could call his phone and I know he would always answer the first ring and all.'
Boys To Men Wyatt Fowler
Posted at 3:31 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-27 21:16:42-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Arranging their seats in a circle inside a community center, just after enjoying a homemade dinner and some fellowship, a group of teen boys and their mentors gather for their weekly peer group in Chesterfield County.

“Take a deep breath, let go of the day, anchor your feet and close your eyes for a second,” says Steve Martin, the group’s longtime leader. “Remember how important you are.”

Boys to Men Mentoring RVA offers young men a safe place where they can talk about what is really going on in their lives, while seeking the advice and encouragement from their peers and mentors.

Boys To Men

It’s here that the group shares their struggles and encourages one another in good times and bad times, while a community of mentors believe in them and help them make better choices.

“We care about you young folks doing the right thing, staying on the right path and making something of your lives,” says one mentor during their session.

Boys to Men RVA doesn’t just hold weekly peer meetings in community centers but are present in several middle and high schools throughout Central Virginia. Steve Martin brought the California-based organization to Richmond after seeing a local need.

“These boys are traditionally brought to us by counselors or therapists or their school counselors,” Martin says. “These young men know they’ve got support. They are conscious of knowing they can get help from Boys to Men and that’s a relief. We see the stress going down just knowing that.”

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For Wyatt Fowler, the 15-year-old Midlothian student tragically killed in a car accident last December, the Boys to Men organization was like a second family.

“The way he could just light up a room and make everyone happy and smile, is just incredible,” say Wyatt’s close friend, Athan Hios.

While mourning his loss, Athan says he is trying to carry on Wyatt’s legacy by simply showing up for others, the way Wyatt did.

“He was just always there for me, you know,” Athan says. “Like anytime I needed him I could call his phone and even if we weren’t talking at the time, like if we had gotten into a little argument or something silly, I could call his phone and I know he would always answer the first ring and all.”

Boys To Men

This past month, Wyatt’s mother, Amy Fowler, posted a social media request, asking the community for acts of kindness in honor of what would have been her son’s 16th birthday. The response was overwhelming, and the community responded in a variety of ways by performing acts of kindness and helping someone in need.

When CBS 6 heard about the request, we wanted to pay it forward through our monthly segment, CBS 6 Gives. Wyatt’s mother suggested we recognize Boys to Men for their dedication to the community and for inspiring the next generation of young men. She says the organization meant a lot to her son and their family.

While Wyatt’s loss is deeply felt, the Boys to Men organization continues to honor his memory by sharing their favorite stories, reaching out to others with compassion, and making a difference by giving a voice to a generation that will eventually lead another.

Click here to learn more about Boys To Men or to make a donation.

CBS 6 Gives is made possible by Virginia Credit Union. Have an idea about who we should surprise next, click here to email our team.