BIS (Brothers In Strength), Is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the overall health and wellness of children and their familes with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and violence. BIS is developing Residential Treatment Centers in South Texas to house and provide treatment for children that have been abandoned and abused that are in the custody of Texas Child Protective Services. Along with the RTC's, the secondary focus of BIS is to help the youth achieve their dreams through positive means.


Brothers in Strength Residential Treatment Centers, Inc. (“BIS”) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the overall health and wellness of children and their families with a history of drug, alcohol, violence or abuse. BIS is looking to partner with corporations, foundations or individuals that are interested in supporting this very important cause

Witnessing the devastating effects of this neglect on current and future generations, BIS sought out to improve the emotional, mental and physical health of children with emotional disorders in custody of the Child Protective Services Division (“CPS”) of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (“DFPS”).

BIS believes the fastest, most effective way to impact these troubled youth is through the establishment of a Residential Treatment Center (“RTC”). BIS identified a gap in services provided in South Texas and confirmed with CPS the need for an RTC in the region. As of June 2012, there were 58 RTCs contracting with CPS in Texas, but there were none located in Region 11 (South Texas) treating youth with emotional disorders. Region 11 spans 19 counties, from George West to Laredo and the entire Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley.

With your help, BIS’ goal is to establish an RTC in Region 11, which will require a staff totaling more than 40 full- and part-time employees. BIS will provide the youth with treatment and support to redirect their life path and positively contribute to their families and communities.

BIS will provide services to foster youth who come under the auspices of CPS and are referred to the RTC where they will be provided secure housing, healthy meals, clothing, psychological counseling, life-skills training and education. BIS recognizes the combined importance of emotional, mental and physical health, so the youth’s stay at the RTC will also include programs focused on strength of mind, body and spirit to complement their care, psychological help, daily structure, treatment, education and life-skills training. BIS believes without this help, from BIS or otherwise, these youth would most likely never become positive, contributing members of society.

While BIS’ RTC will provide safe and secure housing supervised by trained caregivers, it is not just transitional living quarters for these boys. BIS will be their family, their support system and their enabler that not only provides psychological help, formal education and life-skills training, but truly the safe haven these youth need to realize their true potential and get their lives redirected in a positive, meaningful and sustainable way. BIS believes these children are already strong given the life they have been forced to live, so it plans to harness their inner strength, refocus it in a positive direction, and leverage their renewed strength with a mission, goals and a plan to achieve short- and long-term success. BIS will guide, teach and empower these troubled youth to reach their full potential.

BIS’ rehabilitation plan is unique relative to other RTCs. BIS will integrate mental, physical and emotional health and wellness training to form the cornerstone of each child’s rehabilitation. BIS believes that when a child is healthy and fit, being challenged and encouraged, and is achieving measurable goals as a result, they will gain critical confidence in themselves. This confidence, combined with a tailored mix of BIS’ broad range of personal and professional skills offered, will enable the youth to change their life paths and be discharged to become positive, contributing members of their community and society.

For example, one very unique thread of BIS programs centers on strength training and power-lifting as a core physical therapy. Directed by a world-renowned professional strength trainer, BIS youth will learn through dedication, structure and achieving new personal bests, how to channel inner frustrations and anger with mental fortitude to achieve physical strength. While weight-lifting and strength training competition typically seems focused on physical health, strength training at BIS will hinge on the essential interdependence of emotional and mental strength, as well.

As an additional service to its surrounding community, BIS will also provide at-risk youth and families outside of the foster youth RTC with free life-skills training that includes substance-abuse prevention, goal setting, continuing education and training, family cohesiveness, communication and learning skills, and career exploration.

Members of BIS management, consisting of the Board of Directors and Executive Officers, have experience working at RTCs in Houston and its suburbs as well as first-hand experience with families with drug addictions and abuse histories. These personal and professional experiences helped shape the management team into the leaders they are in their respective fields and fuel their passion for helping abused and neglected youth. After experiencing the horror of the alternatives these youth face, the management team decided to take action, so they could truly make a difference in these children’s lives and positively shape their futures. Their commitment and dedication to BIS’ mission and goals, for these foster youth, has brought the dream of helping these forgotten youth to reality – Brothers in Strength.

BIS management consists of a police officer, professional strength athlete and proven business professionals. The skill set of this management team will enable BIS to execute its mission to significantly improve the lives of foster youth and their families, which ultimately benefits the community as a whole.

The success of this operation will require a team of dedicated employees, so an additional benefit to the community is that BIS will create numerous long-term jobs.

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BIS will provide a number of services and programs to its youth. Each child will have a tailored rehabilitation plan based on his unique emotional condition, level of care needed and natural affinities. Each treatment plan will include programs designed to foster emotional, mental and physical strength. Below is BIS’ general idea behind each subset of programs, as well as a list of proposed programs and services, which will be developed in-full prior to the RTC opening.

1. Emotional Strength

BIS believes in every child who walks through its doors.  These programs are designed to help the youth overcome their obstacles and society’s odds.  BIS will offer programs that afford them the emotional strength to tear down the walls they have built and needed in the past, and teach them to love themselves and ultimately others.

Trust and self-expression are critical elements of these programs and services, which include:

  • Self-expression through creative outlets
    • Visual arts – painting, sketching, graphics, sculpting, decorative arts
    • Performing arts – acting, singing, dancing
    • Music – playing, studying and writing music
    • Writing and speaking – poetry, creative writing, debate
    • Digital photography
  • BIS is exploring additional potential ways to develop the youth’s sense of responsibility and nurture trust, for example planting a garden, creating accountability to assigned duties or chores, or perhaps even the adoption of a collective pet, a mascot of sorts that the children would help care for.

Mental Strength

These BIS programs will enable the children to realize their inner strength and prove to themselves and others that they are smart and capable.  BIS will teach them to make solid choices and show them how to follow-through.  By focusing on the children’s past and future, these programs’ end goal is each child’s realization that he is in control of his life’s path and he can decide to stop the cycle of abuse.

  • Effective communication
    • Daily journals and regular questions/discussions
    • Individual therapy
    • Group therapy/discussions
    • Equine therapy
    • Family therapy
    • Assigned mentor and buddy system
    • Tailored plans designed by certified and licensed educators, physicians, and therapists who are experienced with complex emotional issues and treatment of youth diagnosed with these disorders
  • Group and one-on-one tutoring
  • Life-skills training and planning
    • Personal strategic planning for the future and a phased approach to independence to allow teenage youth to safely progress toward self-reliance and success at their own rate
    • Experiential program of self-discovery, skill-building and life-planning
    • Identification and cultivation of interests and abilities for internships and work experiences
    • Trade-skill development and interest-related experiential programs (e.g. auto, agriculture, technology, communication, nursing, teaching, welding, plumbing, money management) based on personal strengths, interests and goals

Professionalism, office skills and etiquette, business concepts, etc. for entering the workforce

Physical Strength

These programs and services promote health and wellness through individual and group activities and competitions.  BIS provides healthy outlets for anger or frustration as well as sustainable alternatives to drugs, alcohol or abuse.  These programs leverage discipline, training and measurable progress to boost self-esteem.

  • Strength training, power-lifting
  • Cardio
  • Calisthenics
  • Yoga/breathing techniques
  • Organized sports
  • Self-defense training
  • Karate or taekwondo
  • Alcohol and drug education, prevention and treatment
  • Nutrition
  • Physical fitness every day, including PE activities tailored to the youngest RTC youth

Reward Outings

In addition to providing the youth regular involvement in the above programs and services, BIS intends to offer reward outings as incentives to boost morale, create a sense of normalcy and camaraderie, as well as foster the children’s overall social well-being.  Many of the following are simple pleasures most children take for granted, but for these youth, an outing like this may be the first fun field trip they have ever taken.  BIS’ goal is to have vans, admission and gas donated whenever possible, but will also budget for these periodic outings.

  • Conner Museum
  • King Ranch tour
  • Bowling at NAS
  • Movies at theatre
  • Projector movies in-house
  • Swimming
  • Welder wildlife refuge
  • Brownsville Zoo
  • Horse-back riding
  • Rodeo
  • NAS tour and air show
  • TAMUK art gallery/exhibits
  • Plays and live performances at TAMUK
  • Dinner at a nice restaurant

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Brian T. Vickers

Brian T. Vickers

With over 16 years experience in Law Enforcement, Brian Vickers has worked his way through the ranks from patrolman to spending several years with the elite U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offender's and Fugitive Task Force tracking down the most violent offenders in the United States. During his time in Law Enforcement, Mr. Vickers had seen the horrors of abuse and neglect on children within their own families and children in the custody of the State. It was through this experience that Mr. Vickers, along with his friends TJ Unterbrink and Gary Becker, founded Brothers In Strength (BIS) Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Corporation. Brian holds the position as founder and CEO. After deciding to leave Law Enforcement on a full time basis, Mr. Vickers is working with Harris County Constable, Pct. 6 heading up their Special Operations Division on a part time basis. Mr. Vickers continues his charity work and is now a Full time Professional Strongman, and Member of Team Impact which is a group of Christian professional strength athletes that travel the world bringing messages of hope and faith. Team Impact speaks to and witnesses to over one million of kids a year through school assemblies and events within the communities showing extreme feats of strength. Mr. Vickers is very involved with his church, Bay Area Fellowship and enjoys volunteering to work sunday services. Mr. Vickers is also a 5 time World Powerlifting Champion and says that he uses his abilities only as a platform to bring forth a positive message and helping young kids achieve their dreams through positive means.

Gary Becker

Gary Becker

With over 30 years experience in the entertainment industry, Gary Becker serves as Production Manager for all live events produced by PACE Entertainment. He was also instrumental in the production of mega shows including the "Texxas Jam," a 10 year annual music festival held in the Cotton Bowl and the Houston Astrodome. In 1993, he moved from the music company to become CEO of the motor sports division of PACE. During his tenure, the company grew to promote and produce over 400 shows per year in arenas and stadiums within North America. After leaving PACE, Mr. Becker has been active in producing events and partnering with Las Vegas hotels and casinos, including the Orleans Hotel and Casino. For many years, Mr. Becker has donated his time and experience to local charities, including the Houston Police Foundation, the Montgomery County Children's Safe Harbor and is Past President the Houston Children's Charity Board. Mr. Becker currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Brothers In Strength (BIS) Non-Profit Children's Charity.

T.J. Unterbrink

T.J. Unterbrink

T.J. Unterbrink is a CPA and the back office leader of an SEC-registered investment advisor that specializes in managing investments in the high-yield and credit markets. T.J. is responsible for back-office operations of a hedge fund and a portfolio of funds in excess of $1.5 billion. In addition, T.J. has held financial management positions in several industry-leading companies, including a hedge fund, a global construction company and the international tax department of Deloitte. T.J. graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University in 2005 earning a BBA in Accounting and a Certificate in International Business. T.J. studied at the Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg, France, in 2003, and earned his master’s degree in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 2005. Married with two children, T.J. is an active member of the Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. T.J. is a founder and Vice-Chairman of the non-profit Brothers In Strength.

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