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Our History

The humble beginnings of the Hope + Future in the Fall of 2010 started its base operations out of the Jose Marti Freshman Academy (JMFA) and other facilities in the Union City Public School district, as well as the Hudson County Youth Detention Center, to foster positive growth in young people to ensure forward mobility in their lives.

Many young pre-teens and teens were encouraged to join, and participate in fun and energetic work outs that focused on leadership. Soon after its inception that the program, known as Flight Club, gained popularity. Hope + Future programs included athletic training, male leadership and mentoring clubs, female empowerment programming, health and nutrition education, an intramural basketball league, community volunteer trips, and most importantly assigned academic study periods to assist personal student growth. These program offerings worked in conjunction with an action plan to proactively improve student health and wellness alongside of School Based Youth Services and Coordinated School Health.


What is Hope + Future?

Hope + Future provides afterschool health and wellness programs in a safe environment with highly qualified instructors. By working with teachers and school administration, Hope + Future is able to track the attendance, grades and disciplinary action of the kids in the programs. Hope + Future coaches and instructors also act as mentors for kids, give advice, and provide leadership training through center activities and classes. It is our belief that we are training tomorrow’s leaders. We prepare our mentees by teaching them how to lead and then providing them with opportunities to lead, coach and mentor younger students from surrounding elementary schools. Since we opened the doors to the Hope + Future center, we've had an enormous amount of interest in our program. The graph below illustrates the growth of our membership from 2016-2022.

“It’s a small part of my day, but when I finish my workout I feel good about myself and what I’ve accomplished.”

—Henessy, Student

Gian Paul Gonzalez


Gian Paul as an Educator at Union City High School started an after school programming that launched Hope+Future Community Center. Gian Paul and his wife, Elizabeth Christenson (Liz Christenson-Gonzalez), have devoted themselves to empowering the youth within their community. Gian Paul is widely recognized for inspiring the New York Giants to their Super Bowl victory with the phrase ‘All In”. He has been featured on ESPN on Super Bowl Sunday, and has had notable appearances on Fox News and CNN. He travels across the nation as a motivational speaker and has spoken for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, Army Cadets at West Point, Anheuser-Busch, The F.B.I., Sam’s Club,, Aflac, as well as to many other corporate, athletic, government agencies and educational institutions. Despite this recognition Gian Paul’s “All In” has been the youth of his area, and giving them HOPE.


Hope + Future begins after-school programming in the Classrooms of Jose Marti Freshman Academy.

Due to Hope + Future’s success, with 50% of the student population active in programming, Hope + Future was awarded the Coordinated School Health Grant to expand their after-school programming in schools throughout the District.

Director Gian Paul Gonzalez receives the NJ Hero Award from First Lady Mary Pat Christie for outstanding Health and Wellness programming for the student’s in the District.

Hope + Future begins after-school intramural Basketball Leagues and Tournaments District-Wide powered by academic accountability to engage students in sport and encourage academic excellence.

Hope+Future begins lease of building at 6515 Polk Street, West New York, NJ and begins renovations on the Hope+Future Center.

Served over 1,000 youth!

Served over 1,500 youth!

Received a grant from the Department of Health and Human services (HHS) to open our doors fall 2020 to provide a location for youth to connect and get active!


Served over 2,000 youth so far...

Happening Now

Featured Video

Nelson's Story of Resilience

The story you are about to see was broadcast in Honduras. It was produced at the request of a local news station in Honduras in an effort to encourage their people. Our Program Director Nelson Mejia was born in Honduras and came to the US when he was 10 years old .


2012: Joined H+F as a student Member.

2016: Continued as a H+F Volunteer upon starting college.

2019: was promoted to H+F Program Director!


We are proud of Nelson and how his story gives Hope to our 1,000+ H+F Members in Hudson County, NJ…And around the World.

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