As the 2012 featured presenter in The Community Foundation’s Speakers Series, Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), stimulated the minds and emotions of more than 1,400 people at Mohawk Valley Community College Oct. 17.
His efforts to end generational poverty through an umbrella of social and educational services which serve thousands of children in a 100-block area of Harlem have been spotlighted nationally, become the model for a federal program, and placed Canad on TIME’s top 100 list of the world’s most influential people in 2011.
His message and vision are clear.
“When can we disappear from a child’s life? There is no time,” he said at MVCC. “Right now is the most important time in a child’s life.”
He urged schools to think outside the box and sought teacher accountability.
“We have schools that don’t work and haven’t in a long time,” he said. “Schools can be designed so kids can be successful.”
He suggested schools not cut programs, such as sports the arts, which enhance the educational experience. Instead, schools need to focus on wasteful spending and children as individuals with specialized needs.
“Every day we are faced with problems. We have to find what works. We don’t have it all figured out. We work kid-by-kid. We are committed every day to not lose any child. We give him or her our best. That’s how we will be successful.”