Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada

Education Reform Activist


Harlem Children's Zone

New York, NY USA


Don’t feel like you’ve abandoned your mission because things are not exactly what you expect. Accept the opportunities that you get...even if it’s not what you want, accept them with glee and not with sadness.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Geoffrey Canada

Highlight
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01:12
Geoffrey Canada HighlightInterview Highlight
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07:39
InterviewThe Interview
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01:15
Learning To Take The Opportunities You GetWeb Exclusive
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01:43
Don’t Give In To Fear, Face ItWeb Exclusive
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01:42
Getting Out Of A Negative EnvironmentWeb Exclusive
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01:37
A Bad Environment Can Make Good People Do Bad ThingsWeb Exclusive
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03:05
Taking An Opportunity To Make A Change In Harlem Even Though It Wasn't Where I Grew UpInterview Excerpt
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02:01
Overcoming The Struggles Of Living In A Violent NeighborhoodInterview Excerpt
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01:51
Moving To My Grandparents House Saved My LifeInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born and raised in the South Bronx neighborhood of New York.
His parents split up when he was three years old and his father only played a very small part in his life after that—says he was aware of the violence and chaos in his life from a very young age.
Growing up, violence was such an everyday part of his life, he says kids in his neighborhood used to rank each other based on how well they could fight.
When he was 12, he got a spring-loaded knife—says that knife represented freedom in his neighborhood and was an equalizer between him and the tougher guys on the street.
Says the thing that saved him from a life consumed by violence was moving to live with his grandparents on Long Island, New York, when he was a teenager.
Watching crime, drugs, and addiction destroy his community deeply affected him as a young man and inspired his life's work: to find the solutions to help the youth in communities like his.
After college, he was hired at Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, which would later evolve into the revolutionary Harlem Children’s Zone under his leadership.
He is now a celebrated educator, author, motivational speaker, and educational reform activist dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Psychology, General
Bowdoin College
undergrad
Bachelor
Sociology
Bowdoin College
graduate
Graduate
Education, General
Harvard University
Career

Career

Education Reform Activist

I am an educator, social activist and author that aims to expand educational opportunities for all students.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Education
Non-Profit Organizations
Non-Profit Organizations
Upholding a Cause and Belief
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

I work with our teachers and education leaders to increase high school and college graduation rates among students in Harlem by constantly developing new and engaging curriculum. I occasionally do public speaking events and write op-eds for various news publications. I also advise and serve as a board member to several nonprofit organizations.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Learn how to face your fears and embrace them so you can use that to your advantage.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

You have to be open to accept the opportunities you get because you might not get the opportunities you want.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Psychology, General
undergrad
Bachelor
Sociology
graduate
Graduate
Education, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"You aren't tough enough to survive this school. "

I knew that if I went to some of the schools that were available to me in my neighborhood, I wouldn't stand a chance against the older, tougher kids there. I moved to live with my grandparents in Long Island and that decision saved my life.

Challenges I Overcame

Gangs / Violence
Gangs / Violence

I grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. I was raised around abandoned houses, crime, violence and an all-encompassing sense of chaos and disorder.

Single Parent
Single Parent

My father left the family when I was an infant, so myself and my brothers were raised by a single mother. She struggled a lot to keep food on the table and a roof over our head.

Drugs / Addiction
Drugs / Addiction

I watched drugs, alcohol, and addiction tear apart my community.

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