Next One Up Program Empowers Young Black Men in Baltimore to Become Leaders

The Next One Up program provides highly individualized, wrap-around support that empowers young Black men in Baltimore City to become the city’s next generation of leaders.

The program struggled for years to find sufficient space. Then in 2019, the Gilman School gave it a home on Sundays and five weeks in the summer.

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Dominic Crawford, 16, has been part of Next One Up since the seventh grade.

“It has helped me because I built a brotherhood and built strong bonds with people, and came across many different people from different communities. It’s helped me with getting into schools, different jobs and doing different things to help my community,” Crawford said.

The young men are all student athletes and come from neighborhoods and schools throughout the city. Over 45 different middle and high schools are represented, although the young men may face significant challenges in their homes, neighborhoods or schools, Next One Up provides the long-term mentoring and coaching that will make a lasting difference in their lives.

“What we try to do in this program is create opportunity and resources for these young men. Every young man, in the time that I’ve been with the program, has moved onto college. Our older guys are coming out and getting great internships and careers. We’ve helped guys buy homes here in Baltimore,” said Shel Simon, of Next One Up.

On Sundays, September through June, they receive tutoring, go on field trips, get test prep and more.

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SOURCE: WBAL TV 11, Lisa Robinson

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