The Geoffrey Canada Community Center is one of a set of community centers throughout Harlem. This particular community center is housed in our Promise Academy® II school building at our headquarters on 125th Street and provides extensive after-school programming for our charter school students, as well as free night and weekend classes for the local community, serving as a crucial anchor and resource for the entire neighborhood.
First-rate after-school programming is a hallmark of HCZ’s holistic approach to education. Nearly 1,000 students in grades K-12 participate in the after school at Promise Academy II, where they receive thorough academic support and help with homework, while also engaging in a variety of high-caliber enrichment activities led by trained teaching specialists. Activities include chess, music, photography, and fashion design, as well as dance, drama, and drumming through partnerships with the Harlem School of the Arts and the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre of Harlem. They also participate in a number of team sports and recreation activities, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, cheerleading, softball, swimming, and golf.
On nights and weekends, parents and other local residents attend Zumba, karate, and salsa classes and enjoy family game nights. The Center also hosts a number of special events throughout the year for our children, families, and the whole community, including theatrical performances, gospel concerts, and a host of holiday celebrations.
Opportunity is nothing without the right tools to seize it. The Geoffrey Canada Community Center builds on and extends the exceptional education that our students receive during the day at Promise by giving them both consistency and a safe, supportive environment in which to further explore their passions and develop the character, commitment, and skill set to realize their full potential.
The HCZ Westside Community Center
The HCZ Westside Community Center is located in our Promise Academy® I school building—a 135,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility opened in the heart of the St. Nicholas housing development in 2013. A microcosm of our approach throughout the Zone, the facility is a tremendous asset and, through the Community Center, we are making sure that St. Nick residents reap the benefits for years to come.
At HCZ, we always expect the best of our kids, but we also know that we must give them the best—both in and out of the classroom—in order to help them succeed. The after school at Promise Academy capitalizes on classroom learning and spurs creativity through rich intellectual activities and engaging programs. Like its counterpart on 125th Street, the Westside Community Center provides myriad enrichment and physical fitness activities for Promise Academy students, while also serving the community at large. Over 1,000 K-12 students participate in dance, video production, and fashion and graphic design; learn how to box and jump double dutch; compete on JV and varsity basketball and track teams; and get regular exercise through circuit training and boot camp classes.
On nights and weekends, adults have the chance to play card games and bingo, take fitness classes, such as aerobics and hip hop dance, and learn how to make healthy treats with their kids in our Chef’s Corner. The Center is also available for community use on nights and weekends, and hosts a number of special events and holiday celebrations in partnership with the St. Nicholas Community Center.
We believe that lasting change must begin with the community. Residents have to be part of the process. Through the Westside Community Center, we are not only supporting, but also working with the entire St. Nick community to revitalize the neighborhood and ensure that we are addressing all the needs of our children and families.