In his 30 years with the Harlem Children’s Zone®, Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.
Since 1990, Canada has been the President for Harlem Children’s Zone, which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.”
In 1997, the agency launched the Harlem Children’s Zone Project, which targets a specific geographic area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone today covers almost 100 blocks and serves more than 10,000 children. Using the Children’s Zone as a model, President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods initiative to create similar comprehensive programs across the country.
Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes-violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, Canada was able to succeed academically, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bowdoin College and a Master’s Degree in Education from the Harvard School of Education.
Drawing upon his own childhood experiences and at the Harlem Children’s Zone, Canada has written two books: Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America.