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Thanks to the many Fellows and Fellows for Life who participated in yesterday’s contest — I wish we could send free copies of Whatever It Takes to all of you, but our four winners are Melanie Odeleye, Elizabeth Sack, Julie Lauffenburger, and Blake Dohrn.

I invite all of you, though, to mark Thursday, October 22 on your calendar: that’s the date we’ll have our first ASF Recommended Reading guided discussion, right here on Beyond Boulders.

So between now and then, head to Amazon.com, your local bookstore, or your local library to get your hands on a copy of Whatever It Takes. Dive into the story of Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone.

And then come back here on October 22 — I’ll post discussion questions, and we’ll fully explore the relevance Geoffrey Canada’s quest to change the world has to each of our own.

In the meantime, here are the insightful comments left in response to yesterday’s post. Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts:

“I couldn’t agree more with this approach to improving social equality. Anyone who reads this book should also read Amazing Grace, by Jonathan Kozol. This book tells the story of what inner-city children really have to overcome in their daily lives. It sounds as if Geoffrey Canada’s argument touches on the heart of the matter concerning the inequalities of education in America. I am curious to learn more about how he proposes to change the conditions at the heart of this inequality.” — Elizabeth Sack

“While I haven’t heard of this book yet, it sounds incredibly intriguing! I appreciate the idea that the neighborhood raises the child- and all aspects from community, school and homelife must be addressed in order for any positive change to occur for the child’s future. From the health perspective, the Schweitzer program taught me that before I can imrprove my payients’ adherence or understanding of their medications, I must first examine and try to address all the other extrinsic factors in my patients’ lives, such as home environment and ability to pay. That’s why the fellowship occurs before we have the clinical “tunnel vision” in our careers. I look forward to future book suggestions!” – Julie Lauffenburger

“Hi – I am a Fellow for Life from Baltimore. I want to learn more about the Harlem Children’s Zone because I am a PhD student studying social policy improvements for children, youth, and families and he has done tremendous work! I am also a social worker, who has worked in Empowerment Zone neighborhoods, and I know that community transformation is complicated and exhausting, but essential to facilitate long-lasting positive change for our children and youth! I am sitting here about to review a Skillman Foundation program and Geoffrey Canada is the chosen quote on the back of the report. I would love to learn more details!” – Blake Dohrn

“I haven’t read this book but by the description, I definitely will put it on my to-read list! I’m glad that there’s such a project out that and someone wrote a book that puts an emphasis on not the systemic factors that we cannot change but rather on the those aspects of children’s lives that we can! I truly do believe that having people who show that they care and serve as good role models will make for better education and children who grow up to actively contribute to the betterment of society – and that this starts in the home. This is what the Fellowship was all about for many of us…trying to change those things that we can change to help make a better future for all of us!”  – Betty Chung

“I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds very intriguing. Finally, an approach to an extremely complicated issue that takes into account the multiple factors that effect children living in poverty. Rather than just the traditional piecemeal approach to solving ongoing social problems, an approach like this might actually affect real change..” – Codi Raymond

“So happy about these book recommendations–there are so many people trying to improve their world! I look forward to the reviews and recommendations!” – Martha Mills

“Truly an inspiring man and project. I am interested to learn more and explore how some of his ideas could be used in areas of rural poverty for children similarly pulled under by cyclical, multi-generational desperation.” – Lise Daniels