University of Pittsburgh
February 11, 2009

President and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone to Deliver Free Lecture at Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems Feb. 19


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Geoffrey Canada, who has won national recognition for his pioneering work to help children and families in Harlem-block by block, child by child-will deliver a free public lecture titled "Communities Educating Children," from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Feb. 19 at Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), School of Social Work Conference Center, 2017 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Registration is not required; for more information, call 412-624-7382.

The Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) has been called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time" by the "New York Times Magazine." Under the leadership of Canada, HCZ works to provide comprehensive services to children and their families in central Harlem, one block at a time. Initiated as a pilot program in the mid-1990s, HCZ has expanded to 97 blocks and approximately 8,000 children.

HCZ services include workshops for expectant parents and parents of children from birth to 3 years; all-day prekindergarten that includes classes in English, Spanish, and French; and best-practice programs for children of every age through college, including fitness and nutrition, after-school, and community building.

"It meshes these services into an interlocking web," says the "New York Times Magazine" article, "and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood. The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can't slip through."

Although he grew up poor in a sometimes-violent section of the South Bronx, Canada succeeded academically, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Bowdoin College and the Master of Education degree at Harvard University. He is the author of "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America" (Beacon Press, 1995) and "Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America" (Beacon Press, 1998).

In 2005, Canada was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by "U.S. News and World Report." His work with HCZ has become a national model and the subject of many profiles in the media, including "60 Minutes," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "The Charlie Rose Show," "USA Today," and "The Washington Post."