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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Poverty fighter to be guest speaker Friday




NEW HAVEN — Geoffrey Canada, a poverty fighter, fierce critic of mainstream education and founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, will be the key speaker at the Clifford Beers Guidance Clinic’s Breakfast of Hope Friday.
The Children’s Zone offers parenting classes; classes to prepare children for kindergarten; and a number of programs, such as Harlem Peacemakers, to help teenagers avoid violence.
Canada has stirred the world of education by openly criticizing unions, underpaid teachers, overpaid teachers, excessive vacation time and lack of merit pay.
Barbara Tinney, director of the nonprofit New Haven Family Alliance, visited the Harlem program and returned to New Haven confident that a similar program would work well here.
The wraparound services include transportation to and from jobs, finding jobs, child care, parenting classes and educational enrichment classes for children.
Alice Forrester, director at Clifford Beers, said the visit may presage New Haven’s attempt to start its own version of the Harlem Children’s Zone.
“Our missions correlate incredibly,” said Forrester, whose clinic offers mental health services to families affected by trauma.
— Maria Garriga

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