Have you heard of the Zone? Positive Contagion?

There's one in New York, Miami, San Francisco, the UK and
Israel so far--a zone for positive peer pressure.

When I read about it I was so excited I wanted to
blast it across the Internet. Here is what the Miami Herald
columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. wrote that brought tears to my

"HARLEM--The late day sky was spitting snow. Inside the
classroom, tiny black children, younger than kindergarten,
sat in a circle, legs folded 'criss-cross apple sauce'
beneath them. Soon they would begin their French lesson, but
first there was a ritual chant.

"'There is a girl in our class and her name is Khadija,'
they began, voices rising in little kid enthusiasm, hands
clapping in time. Khadija got up, moved to the center of
the circle and began jumping with all her heart.

"'Jump. jump, Khadija,' they sang. 'We're glad you're
here today.' Around the room they went until each child had
had a turn in the center of the circle."

In the rest of his column Pitts explained that he had
gone to Harlem to tour the Harlem's Children Zone, a
97-square block network of schools, social services and teen
outreach programs.

The Harlem Zone is "the brainchild of of Geoffrey Canada, a
55-year old New Yorker who believes you cannot effectively
educate a child when his world is falling down around him,
when he is hungry, sick, fatherless, homeless and hopeless.
Canada's solution: Fix it all. Simultaneously."

Start at birth and continue through college.

Canada asks what good is it to save one child and than send
him into a neighborhood where every other child is failing.
He recognizes the power of peer pressure and calls it in
this case, "negative contagion."

Instead of saving one child, save all of them and establish
"positive contagion."

The Harlem Children's Zone serves 9000 kids. Students have
smaller classes and, a longer school day and a longer
school year than students elsewhere. Their teachers are
paid more and given more classroom freedom. They are also
held more accountable. After school the kids take creative
classes, Yoga, karate, etc.

There is counseling in the zone for families in crisis,
health care for the sick, emergency care, and affordable
farm fresh produce.

Of course all this service costs 50 million a year.
Two-thirds of that comes from private donations. Canada
says, "The state spends about $60,000 a year to jail one
inmate. Someone yells at me because I'm spending $3500 a
year on Alfred. Alfred is 8. OK, Alfred turns 18. No one
thinks anything about locking him up for 10 years at $60,000
a year."

It's the concept of "positive contagion" that jumped out at
me. Imagine a world where leaders had spent their formative
years chanting to others, "Jump, jump, Fidel, we're glad
you're here today."

I used to teach in a wealthy white high school. Even there
we had a few students in deep trouble. When Richard
entered my class he was fifteen and I had just seen him tear
apart a chain link fence with his bare hands. I rescued him
from his abusive family, physically. His social studies teacher
then took him home to live at his house. He came to trust us,
but his trust of the world was short-lived for he graduated back
into the environment that created the anger that eventually sent him
to prison.

I dream of a positive zone where all kids have time to
create and are shown that they can feel safe year after
year. I dream of world leaders who do not have to negotiate
with and through fear.

I dream of schools where all students have time to breathe
into alpha brain wave states once a day and feel relaxed
and safe all day.

Author's Bio: 

Cole’s chief aim in life is to convince everyone to understand the power of the subconscious mind and synchronize it with goals of the conscious mind. Along with "Mind Nudges", "Brainsweep", and "Your Right to Happiness" she has published three novels and several poems that dramatize subconscious power.
The Whole-mind Writer