Published May 02, 2014
Spending a day with Matt Hanna brings the expression ‘one-person-show’ to life. The former Major League Lacrosse All-Star and Founder/Program Director of Next One Up Foundation embodies the limitless potential an individual can have for positively impacting others when empathy, determination, and creativity are harnessed to address important issues.
I had the privilege of documenting a day in the life of Matt and learning more about what inspires him as he continues to grow Next One Up.
The 10 questions
Today's Talking GOOD profile is being presented as a photo essay, instead of the traditional Q&A format.
Matt Hanna reviews grant proposals at Next One Up's new office in Baltimore's Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Next One Up uses Lacrosse as a platform for providing academic support, college preparation, and mentoring to Baltimore City youth. Matt plans to convert the additional space in the office into an after-school study hall for the organization's student-athletes.
Matt sorts through a new arrival of uniforms, which will be provided at the Next One Up summer lacrosse camps. When asked what burning question Matt has for this community, he responds "What motivates you every day? I am always looking for new inspiration, and as a one man show, I miss being part of a team."
Matt’s vision for Next One Up and the positive impact the program has had on its student-athletes since its inception in 2009 led Matt to be selected as a 2013 Open Society Baltimore Community Fellow.
The Next One Up office and its next-door neighbor, Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Cathedral Street. "As a young non-profit, I feel we are making great connections," Matt reflects. "Obviously, financial support would push the momentum even further. I am working hard on that piece."
After work, Matt heads to Patterson Park to coach a lacrosse game. Several players on the team are in the Next One Up program.
Matt says that the driving force in his life is "to serve others with passion and purpose."
In describing how this work has changed him, Matt says "my eyes have opened to the challenges facing young black males in our country, and I have made a commitment to be a part of the solution. By offering support through mentoring, tutoring and life mapping, the young men in my program think past sports, long term."
"I've spent enough years yelling at referees," jokes Matt. "Now I'm out here to encourage these guys and provide support wherever I can."
Celebrating the win.
"I get to work with an amazing group of young men that come from loving families," says Matt. "They just struggle navigating a city that all too often has failed them. Baltimore needs all the help it can get. I want these boys to be the answer."
Matt makes a late-afternoon stop to drop off some Next One Up gear and spend some time with his players and their family.
After discussing academic plans, the guys challenge their coach to a game of NBA 2K13.
Home court advantage. A 3-pointer at the buzzer puts the game away. Coach loses.