Opinion
Education Opinion

Harlem Children’s Zone

By Jessica Shyu — September 15, 2008 1 min read

If I were not a program director with Teach For America, I would be teaching. If I wasn’t teaching, I would want to work here: Harlem Children’s Zone. Their mission to close the social gap by mobilizing EVERYTHING is gutsy, energizing and makes so much sense.

National Public Radio quotes New York Times reporter Paul Tough as describing HCZ as “‘the first and so far the only organization in the country that pulls together ... integrated social and educational services for thousands of children’ — all under one umbrella, all in one place, all at one time.”

“The agency, with an annual budget of $58 million, serves 8,000 kids in a 97-block neighborhood of Harlem. Tough, who’s spent five years reporting on Canada’s organization, and who’s written a new book on the project, writes that “as students progress through an all-day prekindergarten and then through a charter school, they have continuous access to community supports like family counseling, after-school tutoring and a health clinic.”

It doesn’t matter how many heartfelt, warm ‘n’ fuzzy stories we have about our students (and teachers)-- sometimes we just need a pump-me-up. Listen to NPR’s discussion today with HCZ President Geoffrey Canada for an inspiring reminder of how everyone in every field has the responsibility to close the social gap.

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