The Harlem Children's Zone works to create significant, positive opportunities and outcomes for children living in a 24-block area of Central Harlem by helping parents, residents, teachers, and other key stakeholders create a safe learning environment for youth. The initiative, which began in 1997, supports children's intellectual, emotional, and physical growth from the time their parents are pregnant until the children enter college or the labor force. Philliber Research and Evaluation has evaluated some of the programs of the Harlem Children's Zone since its inception.
The Renaissance University for Community Education (TRUCE) is a comprehensive youth development program. TRUCE promoted academic growth and career readiness through programs focused on the arts, media literacy, health, and multimedia technology. Most of the TRUCE programs were hands on and youth directed. Notably, TRUCE participants helped to run an award winning cable television program (The Real Deal) that featured poetry, video dramas, and documentaries, they created community murals and gardens and they published their own newspaper (Harlem Overheard). In addition, TRUCE participants received academic support through the Insight Center, an intensive college preparatory program.
The Renaissance University for Community Education Fitness and Nutrition Program (TRUCE Fitness) is a comprehensive health education program. TRUCE Fitness promotes exercise and health education by providing youth with health and fitness classes, as well as state of the art exercise equipment. In addition, TRUCE Fitness participants learn important entrepreneurial and healthy living skills by participating in a program that allows them to teach their peers about healthy living, as well as to manage a fitness facility (The Fitness and Nutrition Center).
Baby College was designed by the Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. (HCZ), in collaboration with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center staff. Baby College is a program for expecting parents and caregivers of young children aged zero to three living in the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ). Baby College classes, which are available in English, Spanish, and French, are offered on Saturdays at one of the public schools in the Zone. Parents and caregivers attend nine sessions over the course of a cycle.