Gian Paul Gonzalez – 4-One - 10/10/12

Posted on October 10, 2012

Gian Paul Gonzalez has been a hero to many people long before I had the pleasure of naming him a New Jersey Hero today.  He was the forward for Montclair State University basketball team during his time in college.  In his junior year, he started an organization called 4-One, which motivates at-risk youth throughout NJ through the game of basketball, inspiring pride and self-esteem in kids who need it the most.  With 4-One, he visits juvenile jails and inner-cities throughout our state.  Upon graduating from Montclair State, Gian Paul had the opportunity to play professional basketball for the NBA.  However, he decided to give up that dream for another one.  He came back to his hometown of Union City to be a high school teacher.  He felt that instead of giving his neighborhood kids a celebrity to look up to, it would serve them better to have a real in-person role model that they were able to spend time with every day.  So today I had the opportunity to come to the Jose Marti Academy where Gian Paul teaches, to meet him and get to know more about 4-One and another program he started called Flight Club.  Flight Club, named after the school’s mascot, an eagle, is a before and after school program that works off of the 4-One model, using basketball and physical strength exercises, while also involving character building exercises with the young men.  It was incredible to hear the first hand accounts from his leadership team who have since graduated from Flight Club of how it has helped change them and mold them into the upstanding young men they are today.  Gian Paul is an amazing role model for the young people in his hometown of Union City and for people around our state.  He talks to his students about leadership, how to be good members of society, and most importantly, how to treat others.  It is so clear that he is helping to make a difference in the lives of the young men he works with.  I am honored to name Gian Paul Gonzalez a New Jersey Hero!  To learn more about 4-One, please visit their website at http://4-one.org/

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