Story posted February 16, 2009
Geoffrey Canada '74, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, is profiled in the February 23, 2009, issue of Newsweek magazine.
In the question-and-answer feature with Newsweek Chairman Richard Smith, Canada talks about his path from Bowdoin to teaching poor inner-city children in Boston to his job at the helm of the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), a non-profit, community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for children and families in a 97-block area of New York City.
As part of the McKeen Center's "Seeking the Common Good" series, Geoffrey Canada will deliver a Common Hour talk, "Winning the War on Poverty through Education," Friday, April 3, 2009, at 12:30 p.m. in Pickard Theater.
In answering whether he could recall the single most satisfying day in his years at HCZ, Canada responds with an anecdote about walking to lunch with his chief operating officer in an area where their suits and ties stood out as unusual.
He says they saw two young African-American men in similar attire and realized they were HCZ kids.
"They were two of our college kids who were heading to their jobs down in midtown. George looked at me and he said, 'You know, this is what we dreamed about,'" remembers Canada in the article.
"And we just watched those two kids heading towards a good life and thought, that's what this is about. We've leveled the playing field."
Under Canada's leadership, HCZ has gained national recognition as a model for urban redevelopment.
The program was touted by then President-elect Barack Obama as one he would like to see replicated in cities across the country.
Canada's 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.