Geoffrey Canada Visits Miami Children's Initiative
More than 800 children, youth and families joined the Miami Children's Initiative and Himan Brown Charitable Trust to listen to Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) on Saturday, February 9th. Mr. Canada addressed MCI and the Liberty City community at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium and outlined the following basics that are the foundation for successful community transformation. MCI is adopting these guidelines as part of the work in Liberty City.
We are the Change We Seek: "If we care about our children, we're going to have to save them ourselves. No one is coming to rescue Liberty City's children. If we don't do it, it will not get done."
Start Early: We need to invest in our children from the moment they're born. We must give our children the best opportunities and tools to succeed. Considerable literature suggests that early childhood education is a tremendously effective investment.
Invest in the Entire Impact Zone: Investors must invest in the entire zone, not a piece of it or one or more programs within it. Indeed, any zone created must include public and private dollars. Aim for 50% of the funding to come from the private sector. This is one way of defining that the community cares.
Secure a Huge Investor: Get a big investor to take a risk because other investors will follow.
If Something Doesn't Work - Replace it: Mr. Canada brought in Paul Tough to observe discussions regarding a failing part of the zone that caused an implementation delay of one year for the high school: If you are sure of yourself then be confident enough to be transparent.
Parents Make the Greatest Difference: Be unapologetic of providing economic incentives for parents to get involved in school activities and their child's education. Educate parents about the critical role they play in determining their child's future. The focus needs to be on what the children need.
Evaluate and Measure Each and Every Step: Staff evaluators are critical. Their involvement is necessary for important decision-making even if they tell you what you don't want to hear.
Build Infrastructure: Build a strong infrastructure in advance to establish the personnel and culture of success before embarking on full-scale service efforts.
Positive Messages Are Important: Children, youth and adults should hear something positive. It's important. It works. Persuade local media to report the positives stories occurring in the community.
Defeat stereotypes: Such as national chains can't make money in minority areas, because they can. Once you get in one it will be proved.
Build and Operate a Bi-Partisan Board: The bipartisan board requires business members. You must engage your business members so they believe in the operation and that it is personal to them. If your board members know the family or know the child who was in the family that was wounded or killed, then it is personal. It is no longer mere ideology.
Visual Signs of Change Matter: They provide a community with evidence that change is occurring. They send a message of hope and possibilities.
Miami Children's Initiative is determined that the future of Liberty City's children will not be defined by their zip-code. A plan is in place to transform Liberty City, block-by-block.
For more information about Miami Children's Initiative visit, http://www.miamichildrensinitiative.org/