Gian Paul Gonzalez, a high school teacher in Union City NJ, was asked to lead a chapel service for members of the NY Giants football team the night before their Christmas Eve 2011 game against the NY Jets. Playoff hopes were slim. To illustrate the concept of commitment, Gian Paul handed each football player a poker chip, instructing them to write their number on one side and what they wanted to be committed to on the other. He then shared the meaning behind the poker phrase “All In” and challenged them to fully commit to anything they take on, as a father, husband, son or even football player.
The next day the Giants beat the Jets 29-14. In a post game interview, Giant’s DE Justin Tuck credited Gian-Paul’s “All In” message as the reason. The team went on to run the table that season, winning every game, up to and including Super Bowl XLVI, where they beat the New England Patriots 21-17.
Gian Paul’s life mirrors his message. A former NCAA First Team All-American forward from Montclair State University, he scored nearly 1,400 points in his 3 year career. After playing in the NBA Summer League in 2007 he was offered professional basketball contracts, but turned them down in order to continue his work with at-risk youth. He is a gifted motivational speaker and founder of 4-One, an organization dedicated to using basketball to share a message of hope and striving for excellence in inner-city public schools and juvenile jails.
Gian Paul is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope + Future Foundation. Hope + Future is located in West New York, NJ, it is one of the most diverse cities in the county, and is one of the most densely populated areas in the US, yet there was no youth Center for students to go after school. The mission of the Hope + Future is to provide health and wellness programs for youth to give them hope in their academic, social and economic future. The Hope + Future Foundation provides opportunities for youth to proactively become empowered members of their community through extracurricular activities, events and programming to provide health, and wellness while bridging the gaps between individual growth, improving families, and unifying communities around a common core belief that there is a hope for each child personally, academically, socially, and economically while creating numerous mechanisms to achieve in the present and in the future.