Story posted September 15, 2008
Geoffrey Canada '74 and the work he does as president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), a pioneering, non-profit, community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for children and families, are the subject of the book Whatever it Takes by New York Times editor Paul Tough.
Tough spent five years researching the work of HCZ, interviewing staff, students and parents. Tough also surveys the theoretical underpinnings of HCZ's work, speaking with national experts in education and poverty.
Following Tough's expansive feature, "The Way We Live Now: 24/7 School Reform," in the September 7, 2008, issue of The New York Times Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor ran an article of its own about the book and Canada's ground-breaking work, calling the HCZ "a living laboratory for many of the theories and policies that have sprung up as the United States tries to chip away at the 'achievement gap' — the buzzword for low-income students and certain minority groups lagging behind their peers."
The article also notes that Canada "grew up in the 1950s and '60s amid the street-fighting culture of the South Bronx and was catapulted into a different world when he attended prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine on a scholarship. He ran a series of youth programs in Manhattan before becoming convinced, in the late 1990s, of the need for tackling problems more comprehensively."
Read the Christian Science Monitor article here.
Read the New York Times Magazine article here.
Under Canada's leadership, HCZ has gained national recognition as a model for urban redevelopment. His determination to revitalize Harlem one block at a time has earned him numerous accolades, including Bowdoin's Common Good Award, the McGraw Prize for Education, and the Jefferson Award for Public Service.