Canada has certainly figured out what resonates with young inner city children. His efforts are set to become a national model. This week, the Obama administration awarded grants to 20 communities to create "promise neighborhoods," replicas of the Harlem Children's Zone.
Canada said this isn't the fulfillment of his dream, it's just the beginning.
"It is one of the great joys of my life, that when I look at my young people that I realize there is a bunch of us adults standing with these kids saying we're going to guarantee you make it," Canada said.
There's one sight that never gets old for Canada: seeing his students in suits on the way to an internship interview.
"That's what we've worked for, these young people," he said. "They see a future, they're prepared for their future, they dress for their future, they speak as if they are part of the future of Harlem."