Tag Archives: TED

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

Who’s Afraid of Social Networks?

I have this friend who is afraid of social networks.

No, really, it’s a friend, not me.  She’s afraid of who is out there, who is “listening” and who will be targeted for some unspeakable act.  There are some who say her fears are legitimate.

But most people don’t seem to be afraid.  In fact, according to a Pew Internet & American Life study, Facebook users are more trusting than people who are not members of the social networking site.

A Facebook user who uses the site, “… multiple times per day is 43 percent more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.”

Does that mean that using social media like Facebook is safe, free from any risk?  No.

Social networking, like any other communication tool, can be used for dark purposes.   That thin slice of our society that engages in crime has always found ways to turn ordinary items into weapons they can use to seek money, to seek revenge or just to seek satisfaction.

But that’s not news.  The saga of good guys and bad guys hasn’t changed much since human beings started writing about who killed whom. What has changed is the weapon.  To the very small minority who use whatever they can get their hands on to commit crimes, social networks are just another hammer or knife or gun.

To the rest of us, social networks are a way to share thoughts, ideas, and opportunities.   The power of this tool, the accessibility, has opened doors to people who can and are changing the world.  No matter what you think of them, the Occupy Wall Street movement has found a voice and a way to affect change using social media.

Don’t want to engage in politics online?  How about using social networks to help find a cure for cancer?

Watch this TED talk and you will see that social media is being used to open up opportunities that were never dreamed of.  Scientists, doctors, and researchers around the world are using social media to collaborate on finding cancer cures.   This was not and is not financially viable, not feasible, not happening any other way than via social networking/media.  And Jay Bradner is not the only one using this incredibly powerful tool.

Pick a topic.  Do a search.  Find a group of like-minded people from around the world who are thinking and talking about just what you are interested in.  That’s the power of social media.

Do I sometimes think about who else is out there?  What they might be doing with what I write?  Sure.  Then I move on.

It does not pay to cede control to a faceless, nameless character who might, just might find me on Facebook or Linked In or Twitter.  I will not become an intellectual prisoner any more than I will become a prisoner in my own home.  I am not afraid of social networks.  Maybe she shouldn’t be either.

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