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GeoffreyCanada - Harlem Children's Gift To Education

Updated on November 14, 2016

Geoffrey Canada - A Real Educator

We all have heard the pros and cons about education, how much it cost, how it is or isn't working. We all know that the government doesn't seem to know how to make the system work. They say lack of funds is the problem. But, once in a while one comes across a person who "gets it" and that person is Geoffrey Canada.

Geoffrey Canada was born January 13, 1952 in the New York and raised in South Bronx. He is the 3rd of 4 sons. He parents divorced in 1956. He has a Bachelor of Arts, Master's Degree in Education schooled at Harvard. He is a 3 degree black belt (Chang Moo Kwan of Teakwondo).

In 1990, Geoffrey was working as President of Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families. Discontent with the direction the program was going, he developed what now is known as Harlem Children's Zone. He transformed the center into an organization that actively followed the academic careers of youth in a 24 block radius in Harlem. The latest update: he continued to expand it into a growth of 97 blocks.

Harlem Children's Zone has been profiled in New York Times Magazine, US News and World Report; he has been interviewed by 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

According to the Web site (Obama-Biden), "Organizing For America", having seen the success of the Harlem Children's Zone, in 2009, US President Barack Obama announced plans to replicate the HCZ model in 20 other cities across the nation.

Children Dying - Who Cares

update 2012

I have the highest respect for Mr. Canada and what he has done for children, but when posting this article, I do not necessary believe he has the right answer regarding gun control. My heart goes out to him, however, because the people who could help do not help or they let politics get in the way. My posting this article is to give you an update on Mr. Canada and to keep this lens current. Thank you for reading his article.


Last weekend, I woke at 4:30 in the morning, slipped out of bed so as not to wake my wife and found myself pacing around my kitchen table, round and round, tears streaming down my face. I knew what it was: post-traumatic stress. Suddenly, the pain and sadness were overwhelming.

Read more: Children Dying

Harlem Children Zone’s Promise Academy

Charter school, built with $60M from city

There are pros and cons on this news release, but if anyone can do anything good for education, I believe it is Mr. Canada. Yes, 60M is a lot of money but a lot more have been wasted and this man has an excellent track record! Please read this new release.


Enthused parents, students, and investors cheered the opening of the Harlem Children's Zone's new school and community center — but residents remained skeptical about the $100 million facility.

Read more: Canada dedicates new school

Harlem Childrens Zone

On Facebook - keep in touch

HCZ on Facebook

Note: Rock singer Prince donates $1.5 million to three very deserving three local New York City schools.

Bill Gates, Geoffrey Canada and Davis Guggenheim

Help Improve Education (update 09/15/2010)

Bill Gates knows the importance of education, even if he did drop out of Harvard University to start Microsoft. That's why he's promoting "Waiting for Superman," Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim's new documentary on the sorry state of U.S. public schools.

Speaking at a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie Waiting for Superman was shown over the weekend, Gates said U.S. schools aren't producing enough skilled workers for high-tech companies like Microsoft.

"It's harder to find these people in the U.S. than you would expect," said Gates, who also appears in the film. "If you look at the computer science department in the top (colleges), the majority of students are not U.S. born. That says something about our education system."

Gates said the U.S. must improve the system to compete in the global economy.

"Jobs out there are more demanding," he said. "We have less and less jobs that are attractive to dropouts."

Gates, whose charitable foundation plans to spend $3 billion on education over the next five to seven years, was joined at the press conference by Guggenheim, producer Lesley Chilcott, education reformer Geoffrey Canada and musician John Legend, who wrote an original song for the film.

Continue New in Education

YouTube - Waiting for Superman - Update 09/15/2010

A movie to help people understand that our public educational system is failing our children.

Geoffrey Canada Reflects on Working Toward Peace

I stand in front of [my martial arts class], looking unhappy and displeased. Everyone wonders who is out of place or not standing up straight. This is part of my act. Finally I begin class and then I'm lost in the teaching. I'm trying to bring magic into the lives of these kids. To bring a sense of wonder and amazement. I can feel the students losing themselves and focusing on me. They are finally mine. I have them all to myself. I have crowded all the bad things out of their minds. The test they failed, the father who won't come by to see them, the dinner that won't be on the stove when they get home. I've pushed it all away by force of will and magic.

This is my time and I know all the tricks. I yell, I scream, I fly through the air with the greatest of ease. I take my black belt students and I slam them on the floor and they pop up like those weighted weeble dolls that can't stay down. I throw them through the air as if they were feathers, and they land and roll and are back up unhurt and unafraid. The new students can't believe their eyes. And they begin to believe in magic again.

Continue on Peace

Real Change

Canada has demonstrated that it's possible to bridge the achievement gap if disadvantaged kids receive early, continuous educational opportunities. Test results show that in 2004, the Promise Academy middle school's first year, only 21 percent of its students were at grade level in reading and 9 percent were at grade level in math. Three years later, those figures had improved to 33 percent and 70 percent respectively.

Canada Quotes

"Osama Bin Laden is not going to come here and destroy America. Our education system is doing that just fine."

'Whatever It Takes' To Teach Kids

The agency, with an annual budget of $58 million, serves 8,000 kids in a 97-block neighborhood of Harlem. Tough, who's spent five years reporting on Canada's organization, and who's written a new book on the project, writes that "as students progress through an all-day prekindergarten and then through a charter school, they have continuous access to community supports like family counseling, after-school tutoring and a health clinic."

Read the whole store Whatever it Takes

Education in America

My Guest - Welcome.

Oh my, I was afraid you would not stop by! - Thanks for coming.

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    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 5 years ago

      I am so excited that this lens won a purple star....Geoffrey Canada would be please. I think he is doing excellent work.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Geoffrey Canada is amazing, thank you for honoring him with this tribute so I could learn about him and his dedication to really making a difference in the educational is my pleasure to leave a blessing...*

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 5 years ago

      Excellent lens. Loved the movie, Waiting for Superman. Blessed.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is always good to hear of great teachers.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Angel Blessing to You and to Him!

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 6 years ago

      Oh thank you Wednesday Elf...such an honor...such a delight!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Returning to tell you that this lens has been 'featured on' and 'lensrolled to' my "SquidAngel Blessings by an Elf" lens. :-)

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting Bev. You are right....what an inspiration. There are others out there and I am going to try to highlight more of these deserving educators. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Geoffrey Canada is such an inspiration! Now if we could just get more educators to listen to him!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      He's such a hero in America. We need more like him. Great article here.

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 7 years ago

      @Wednesday-Elf: I wanted to come back and thank our busy Squid Angel, Wednesday Elf, for coming over and blessing this important lens. It shows there are people doing good things to educate our children. YES!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Lovely tribute. Thumbs up and featured on Educating Young Children

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      Very interesting man.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I remember how special I thought this story of the man, Geoffrey Canada, and his work in education for the children in Harlem was when I first read it. I'm returning now to leave a ~~SquidAngel Blessing~~

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 7 years ago

      Thank you for this wonderful lens for such a good cause.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Teachers like Geoffrey Canada are making a difference in a world where most of these children would have been "stuck" repeating a destructive 'way of life' they were unable to change. Canada's "magic" may be saving a new generation.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I don't imagine Harlem has changed any since I was there. My older brother and I hired a taxi to take us to Harlem. The driver made us lock our doors and promise not to unlock them while we were there. I tell you, we were not even tempted! This man deserves a medal!!!

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      What an inspirational and energetic man, great lens.