Monday, September 28, 2009

Some Words of Wisdom - Courtesy of Geoffrey Canada

To learn more of the amazing Geoffrey Canada, the leader of the Harlem Children's Zone, one can read within their website: or read a wonderful book: "Written by New York Times editor Paul Tough, "Whatever It Takes," is a compelling, in-depth look at the ground-breaking work of the Harlem Children's Zone and its leader, Geoffrey Canada."

I was lucky enough to hear Geoffrey Canada speak last Friday locally. I'd like to share several things he spoke of which I found interesting.

He mentioned how the Rhode Island legislatures noted that the average annual cost of caring for institutionalized (e.g. delinquent) adults was $39,000/year vs. $95,000 for children. To save money they decided to lower the age where "children" became "adults". Unfortunately, it didn't work, because they discovered that most of the "new adults" had to be isolated from the general adult population, and the cost for such care was an average of $110,000/year. Canada noted that the lesson for Rhode Island wasn't that there was a real need to Prevent Children - from needing to be institutionalized in the first place!

Canada spoke repeatedly as to how as a child he had Naively thought that there was a "plan" to make things better. He noted as an adult consulting with several presidents and others who seemingly had "power" that they didn't have plans for ending poverty and educating poor children and sought his and others' advice.

His message for the local organization he spoke in support of was that you/we need to bring about change, not to wait, expecting that others will do what needs to be done. He spoke of needing to reach for challenging, difficult goals, and to be accountable in building research based programs to radically change things for the better.

To tackle 96 square blocks of Harlem with a goal of making all children ready for college when the grow up is a tough job to take on! Geoffrey Canada is an amazing man - not a super man, but a man doing a great difficult job trying to bring about radical, positive change!


No comments: