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Fellows in Action

Fellows in Action

Attended a great conference.  Met a hero. 

I met Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone at the 2012 Children’s Defense Fund Conference. I was struck by Mr. Canada’s accessibility, humility, and willingness to engage and inspire attendees at the conference.

Years ago, I was introduced to Mr. Canada while watching a television segment featuring the “Baby College” parenting workshop.  I later discovered the parenting program was just part of a web of supports that reinforced the idea that we cannot help children through isolated initiatives but we must think about how to comprehensively support the whole child within the context of his or her family and community. 

I was captivated by the Harlem Children’s Zone model because it made so much sense.  It was refreshing to see someone breaking down silos and working collaboratively to make the most of community services and resources to strengthen families who will in turn, strengthen communities. 

Mr. Canada’s “whatever it takes” mindset is inspiring and he has proven that with passion and hard work you can help create and sustain effective ways to improve the quality of life for children. 

Mr. Canada was not the only dynamic leader who was accessible to conference attendees. Many influential leaders networked with emerging leaders, like myself, to discuss how we can create equitable opportunities for all children.  Conference organizers facilitated discussions around shared vision and collective efforts to ensure children, especially those in poverty, have the resources needed to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.

This conference will certainly be numbered amongst my most memorable experiences and I look forward to attending in the future.  My conversation with Mr. Canada has inspired me to plan to visit Harlem Children’s Zone in the coming months, to participate in a Practitioners Institute and learn much more.

Artishia Hunter, 2011-2013 Fellow