By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Block by block, 97 city blocks…changing the lives and prospects for kids and their families through public education and social supports is the legacy that visionary Geoffrey Canada leaves as he steps down as head of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Growing up in the Bronx, seeing the widespread poverty and cocaine, Canada understood that parenting skills, beginning at birth, were essential to a good start in life. Workshops evolved into a Baby College as well as nutrition and fitness classes.

Educating kids in the public schools and starting 2 charter schools, studies show the Zone students achieved strong growth in English and math skills and high school graduation above the national average. College prep helped ensure high percentages of college attendance and graduation rates.

Success of the Zone drew foundation and corporate funding and the Obama administration invested $150 million for replication in Buffalo and rural Kentucky.

Read more about Canada’s leadership in The New York Times.

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