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'Next One Up' enriches the lives of Baltimore's young men

Next One Up enriches the lives of Baltimore's young men
Next One Up enriches the lives of Baltimore's young men 01:45

BALTIMORE - A partnership with a local nonprofit organization working with young men from Baltimore and Ocean City businesses is proving to be a success.

The "Next One Up" summer is transforming lives one student at a time.

"The program means a lot," Towson student Kennel Washington said. "it actually gives me the opportunity to learn things, like tangible things that weren't really taught to me in high school."

For more than a decade now, "Next One Up" has been helping our young men in Baltimore advance their academic, athletic and social development.

But for the past two summers, they've taken those efforts to the beach. 

"We wanted to create a program that allows Baltimore youth to be able to make some money and experience the beach, all while being involved in enrichment, in which they'll learn everything from financial literacy to character development, critical thinking," said Brandon Julot, Director of Ocean City Workforce Development Program at "Next One Up."

"Next One Up" in Ocean City offers students free housing for the summer and places them in jobs based on their experience and interests.

Washington came back for his second year to work alongside eight other young men.

"Last year, I worked at Embers Island, which is a mini golf course, that's affiliated with the Blue Crab Rawhouse, and this year, I'm going to be returning there," Washington said. "But I also want to take a chance since I'm more comfortable now to take a second job."

Business owners say it's truly a win-win situation. 

"I love the fact we are exposing young people to a good work ethic," said Cole Taustin, CEO of Taustin Group.

"It's actually incredibly difficult to find help down in Ocean City," said Capt. Steve Butz, co-owner of Ocean City Bay Hopper. "There are a ton of people who are very well qualified in Baltimore City, youth that we can bring down and give an opportunity, something they may have not considered before."

It's the community support and hands-on training that Washington says makes all the difference when taking home this rewarding experience.

"Learning how to be there by yourself when you don't have two parents, overbearing, taking care of you. That's what I learned."

Program leaders, including Julot, are looking forward to its bright future ahead.

"Next year we're looking to expand," Julot said. "We're looking to go in more schools and pitch the program to more people with great success."

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