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Harlem Children's Zone CEO to Give Keynote Address for MLK Day Observance at Old Dominion University

Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, will be the keynote speaker for Old Dominion's 28th annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The program will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center.

The program honors King for his work in civil rights and all the changes in society that occurred as a result. It is being presented in partnership with Norfolk Public Schools.

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children's Zone Inc. (HCZ), Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.

HCZ is a nonprofit organization for poverty-stricken children and families living in Harlem, providing free support for the children and families in the form of parenting workshops, a pre-school program, three public charter schools, and child-oriented health programs for thousands of children and families.

Since 1990, Canada has served as president and CEO of the organization, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." In 2005, Canada was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report.

In 1997, the agency launched the Harlem Children's Zone Project, which targets a specific geographic area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone Project today covers 100 blocks and serves more than 10,000 children.

The New York Times Magazine said the Zone Project "combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood. ...The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can't slip through."

The work of Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on "60 Minutes," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "CBS This Morning," "The Charlie Rose Show" and National Public Radio's "On Point," as well in articles in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today and Newsday.

The event is free, but RSVPs are encouraged. Go to the Office of University Events webpage here: http://www.odu.edu/ao/univevents/forms/rsvp.shtml, and use the entry code MLK12.

This article was posted on: January 13, 2012

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