1.Serve an entire neighborhood at scale
2.Create a birth-through-college pipeline of best-practice programs
3.Build community among parents, children, and institutions
4.Rigorously evaluate programs for continuous improvement
5.Cultivate a culture of success within the organization
The Harlem Children’s Zone has created a unique, interlocking network of programs so children can break free of the cycle of generational poverty. The HCZ Project has resulted in unprecedented, large scale success, changing the trajectories of thousands of children—and has sparked a movement of similar efforts across the country. HCZ’s “pipeline to success” targets a 97 block zone in Central Harlem with education, social-service and community-building programs for more than 8,800 children. The entire organization serves more than 10,000 children and 13,000 adults.
The overall goal is to make sure that children graduate from college so they can be prepared for the high-skills job market. HCZ has programs to address the needs of children at each stage of their development and also works to strengthen the families and community around them.
The pipeline starts with The Baby College, which teaches best-practices to parents of children from 0-3. HCZ runs pre-kindergarten programs to get children on track early. Children then attend one of two Promise Academy K-12 charter schools or are supported by HCZ staff in the seven public schools in the Zone. HCZ also runs innovative middle and high-school afterschool programs for local public school students. HCZ’s College Success Office supports HCZ’s students—many of whom are the first in their families to attend college—so they can successfully navigate the new challenges and responsibilities they face.