Monthly Archives: December 2013

Geoffrey Canada Knows How To Save Education

And Geoffrey Canada knows how to save children and parents and communities.

I’ve written about Mr. Canada before – one of my Project 365 heroes.  But I think this man, his Harlem Project and the incredible success he has had with rescuing children, educating them and sending them off to college deserves to be revisited.

Perhaps it’s because I just finished Canada’s book – Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence.

If you want to know how to save our children, how to make our schools better, how to change, grow and heal our communities, read Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence. Then get out of your chair, get in your car or on your bike or even on your skates, go to the nearest school, step inside and volunteer to help change the children’s worlds.

Geoffrey Canada is the man behind the Harlem Project. His mind, his drive, his desire to help children, parents and the community made the Harlem project a reality. And Geoffrey Canada knows his audience; he lived in abject poverty, the son of a single mom in a neighborhood where value was assigned based on how well you fought.

Geoffrey Canada’s approach points the way to saving all the children who live in neighborhoods owned and operated by drug dealers, drug users, robbers, muggers, burglars and rapists — killers of every description. My take on his core thesis is you cannot change children who live in these communities just by working inside the 4 walls of a school; you MUST change the community, reach out to the parents, help them where they are so they can reach out and change their own worlds, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Working in one of these schools in one of these neighborhoods, I see  “throw away” children every day.  On a good day, these kids are raising themselves; on a bad day, they are being turned into mules, snitches and sometimes, enforcers.

I could stay home.  I could turn a blind eye.  I could be one of millions of people who sit at their table every morning and bemoan the ignorance, the violence the destruction being wrought in our communities and schools.

I won’t.  I get up and go to work in one of these schools every day.  I reach out to touch these wonderful middle school and high school children, talk to them. offer them   If I can make a difference in the life of just one child, I have done a good job.

So to everyone who thinks this is someone else’s problem, here’s my advice. This holiday season, give a gift that cannot be bought in any store.  Get up. Go to a troubled school.  See how you can help!

These children did nothing wrong but to have the misfortune of being born poor.  They don’t deserve to die – physically, emotionally or mentally.

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Filed under arm wresting, Book Reviews, Death & Dying, Education, Gifts, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Politics, Project 365

On the Path To Self Knowledge with Oprah & Deepak Chopra

In Oprah’s 21 day Desire & Destiny meditation series Oprah and Deepak ask us to answer three, simple questions:

Who am I?

What do I want?

How can I serve?

Small, aren’t they?  But I think they are the toughest questions you can ask and answer.

Each question is part of one week’s exploration.  Each builds on the other and helps you to slowly but surely understand who you really are without all the noise that people, life and even you, yourself, have heaped on the small, brave spark that waits for each of us to listen, again.

As I wrote in my previous blog post, one of the biggest things I have learned about myself is that what I really want (Day 8) is to live from my heart in peace and joy.  Today, I learned something I knew, we all know really,  but tend to forget.

In this whole world, teeming with billions of people, there is only one you.

Read that again.  There is only one you, one me, one unique person.  And if we dare to follow our path up the mountain, if we follow our bliss, each of us has within us the power  to change the world.

Don’t believe it?  Nelson Mandela changed the world — from a prison cell where he lived for 27 years, this one beautiful soul reached out and broke the back of apartheid.

How about Geoffrey Canada?  His Harlem Children’s Zone rescued thousands of children and families, rebuilt a neighborhood and reformed education forever in Harlem, New York.

What about Shirley Chisholm?  She  became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.  She fought not just for her constituency but for all people in need of a better life and she won.

Take just a moment, today, to ask yourself those three questions then listen, really listen.  The universe will send you the answer and it might surprise you.

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Filed under arm wresting, Education, Gifts, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Project 365, Religion, Work, World Changing Ideas