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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Matt Hogan

President of home-schooled sports organization leads by faith

By Nancy Price

Center Grove resident Matt Hogan has helped to turn a local soccer club for homeschooled youth into a multi-sport 501c3 nonprofit organization that focuses on Christlike behavior.

Hogan has been President of the Board of Directors for Greenwood-based Indy Genesis for the past several years. There are 267 children and teens, ages 5 – 18, from the greater Indianapolis and surrounding areas involved, including Brownsburg, Columbus, Fishers and Greenfield. The competitive teams, which include soccer, volleyball, cross country and track and field, play against other local public, private, Christian and Catholic schools, including those in Greenwood, Franklin Township and Center Grove.

“We’re shocked at the number of kids who have signed up (to play sports),” Hogan said. “We’re at capacity. We’ve been blessed with great leaders who are passionate about pouring their energy into the kids. Parents start to hear about us and want their kids involved. It’s the reason why we’ve grown so much in the past 18 months.”

Five teams are currently preparing for state championships.

“We’ve been pretty successful,” Hogan said. “We’ve won six Indiana state championships (in the past). The teams have played really well.”

The volunteer-driven organization takes its mission statement seriously: to develop Christlike character through competitive homeschool sports. The organization’s three core values help guide the student athletes: spiritual growth, excellence and community.

“Sports is a great avenue to help kids learn about life and work together as people,” Hogan said. “How to handle authority, losing and winning and responding to a good or bad call. How to respond to teammates that you’re not getting along with. We look at this as a great opportunity to prepare kids for life. We’re intentional about how we do that.”

The youth are taught how to be a good sport when an opposing team wins. “After every game, we give water to the other team, “ he said. “We tell them, ‘good game!’”

Teammates are more than peers they see at practices and games. They become close friends while serving alongside one another. “We did a large packing of 10,000 meals for Haiti. It’s a great thing to see an 18-year-old girl who’s a senior stand next to a girl in the second grade. It’s so cool to see the kids connecting with each other. It’s an opportunity to build community together,” Hogan said.

Indy Genesis has also partnered with Greenwood-based the Gathering Place, a recreational facility, to start Homeschool Athletics Day. Fall and spring semester classes meet at the Gathering Place every other Friday morning from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Hogan has also served on the Elder Board and led several ministries at his church. He is married to Tricia and has four kids: Abe, 20, Olivia, 18, Sam, 16 and Ben, 14. His kids have participated with homeschooled sports teams, including baseball with the Indianapolis Kings, basketball with the Indianapolis Wildcats and soccer with the Southside Thunder and Indy Genesis.

For more information about Indy Genesis, go to indygenesis.com.

What upsets you?  Clutter or when my kids are hurting.

What’s your favorite Southside eatery? On date night, a favorite place for my wife and I like to go is Vino Villa.  It has great food and a relaxing environment sitting outside on the patio.

If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? Probably downtown on the near east side. There are some great ministries downtown on the near east side helping many in need.

What is your favorite vacation spot? Our family has many favorite spots over the 49 states we have vacationed but a place that stands out is Glacier National Park in Montana. The incredible vistas, beauty in the mountains and wide variety of big wildlife are unmatched anywhere else.

Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire? The person I most admire is Mike Bandy. He is a pillar in the community, providing a youth ministry every Friday and Sunday night out of his house for over 40 years. He is in his mid-60s yet still has the energy of a 25-year-old currently ministering to 100+ kids on Friday nights and 100+ kids on Sunday nights. He has impacted generations on the Southside.

What quality do you admire most in another person? People who sacrifice for others is a quality that speaks to me. Genesis is a volunteer organization serving 250+ kids. I see so many who give sacrificially of their time and resources to serve these kids. They are building the future leaders of tomorrow through their sacrifice.

Which historical figure do you most admire?  Jesus provides a model for me for how to live in these difficult days. As my wife and I discussed recently, He doesn’t see left/right, conservative/liberal, democrat/republication. He sees… people. He doesn’t divide us into groups and decide whom His scars represent. His love for us is unconditional.

What tenet do you live by? A Bible verse that provides guidance for me is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  I enjoy having the top off my Jeep and going off-road. What adds even more excitement is taking my teenagers and having them ride in the back. Good times!