BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For just over ten years, a Baltimore nonprofit has been helping young men succeed in transforming their lives.
It all started with a city school teacher and a single question.
“For me, it was a big challenge and a question of what students do when school is out,” Matt Hanna, the founder of Next One Up, recalled.
Hanna created the nonprofit mentorship program so he’d never have to ask that question again.
“Every Sunday, we meet and we just bond and it’s a great experience,” Calvert Hall College High School student Dominic Crawford said.
During those meetings, they focus on academic, athletic and social development, Hanna said. They recruit students in sixth and seventh grades, harnessing a drive and focus in athletics and applying it to academics.
“They continue to grow as students and… they see college as a real option,” Hanna said.
Along the way, they cultivate a sense of self along the way, which Jaiheem Henderson said he never had before.
“If you asked me what’s three things about myself that I like, I couldn’t tell you,” the Stevenson University student said.
The program covered the costs of Henderson’s SAT prep, for which he’s grateful.
“The program will always be able to find a way to help us out, whether it’s personal, school-wise, athletically,” he said.
Whatever their passions are, Hanna said the program will help the students get there.
“They kind of choose their adventure, we support them along the way,” he said.
“It keeps us going and it keeps us out of trouble and it also keeps us on track,” Henderson said.