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NY Children's Program Could Become a National Model

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In Harlem, NY, one nonprofit organization is helping underprivileged children by providing them with educational, medical and social assistance and the President has taken notice. The Harlem Children's Zone's (HCZ) mission is to assist the youth of the historic New York neighborhood "from cradle to college" in an effort to improve the area's economic and academic standing.

"We target the entire community so we reach the kids who are the victims and the ones who are the bullies; the parents who are struggling and holding on, and those who are struggling and failing. We are building a stronger neighborhood, while improving the individual outcomes for children," Harvard grad and HCZ founder Geoffrey Canada told the Chicago Tribune.

President Obama has assigned $10 million to plans to create other programs modeled after HCZ in 20 communities with at-risk youth, including Chicago's Woodlawn, Logan Square and Chicago Lawn neighborhoods, the Tribune reported.

Dissatisfied with the small number of lives changed by his after-school program, Canada began Harlem Children's Zone in 1997, taking a more comprehensive approach to child development, offering services within 24-block radius. HCZ now assists some 8,200 youths in a wide range of services from prenatal care and charter schools to mentor programs and college assistance.
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