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Next One Up program continuing to empower youth after opening East Baltimore facility

Next One Up program continuing to empower youth after opening East Baltimore facility
Next One Up program continuing to empower youth after opening East Baltimore facility 02:59

BALTIMORE -- A local youth program called "Next One Up" has been empowering young men from Baltimore since 2009.

"Next One Up" just cut the ribbon on a new facility in East Baltimore where they will continue to help young boys to become men - but more importantly - empower the next generation of boys coming behind them.

Next One Up started as a weekend program engaging these young boys at a playground talking about life and school.

Now, the program has grown and now has a facility to continue to help young Baltimoreans stay focused on winning the game of life.

"Today we begin the climb for you, you young warriors - now is the time to show your commitment to the future. Are you all in? That's my question today," Matt Hanna, founder of Next One Up said.

As a former school teacher and coach, Next One Up gave Hanna a chance to help these boys win inside the classroom and at the sometimes hard life that awaits them outside these doors.

The organization's new facility on York Road is equipped with recreational space, a barber shop and more importantly - exposure to a sense of brotherhood.

"They realize in a sense that it's a family, it's a clubhouse, it's a place that they have membership too," Hanna said. "I would definitely recommend it to multiple people, just so that you can experience stuff that you wouldn't get to experience in everyday life, and it gives you opportunities that you wouldn't see every day."

Those opportunities mean living healthier lives and being a part of something bigger than themselves.

The transformation of these young minds creates endless opportunities by way of their family dinners - which is always a lesson in etiquette and brotherhood.

"We want them to eat well, which will change their pallets, which will change their bodies and change what they teach their children to eat. So if we can be a solution for healthy food knowing a lot of schools and neighborhoods aren't able to provide it, that's what we're trying to win here," Hanna explained.

Big things are expected for Next One Up. 

Soon they plan to expand their reach by inviting alums of the program who are now in their twenties to come back starting for a monthly family dinner in order to keep them engaged with young men currently matriculating through the program.

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