Conference Speaker Biography
President & CEO
Rheedlen Centers for Children & Families
Geoffrey Canada has been president and Chief Executive Officer of the Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families since 1990. Rheedlen's mission is to contribute to the renewal of some of New York City's most devastated communities by providing quality preventive social services to children, families and their neighborhoods. Among its many activities is demonstrating the correlation between child abuse, neglect and dropping out of school and a later life of dependency.
Mr. Canada enjoys a national reputation as both an advocate for children and expert on issues concerning violence, children and community redevelopment. He is the acclaimed author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, and was the recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994 for his passionate concern for children and his selfless determination to make their lives safer and saner. The Robin Hood Foundation's Heroes of the Year Award and Bowdoin College's Common Good Award have also recognized him for his dedicated work.
Mr. Canada is the founder of the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School, a nationally recognized model for violence prevention efforts. Prominent among his many efforts are Rheeden's Beacon School, Harlem Peacemakers Program and Community Pride Initiative. His newest initiative is the Harlem Children's Zone, which will work with all of the children and families in a 23-block area in Central Harlem. In addition, he serves as the East Coast Regional Coordinator for the Black Community Crusade for Children. He holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.