By Roadtrip Nation

Carmen Garner


My road in life has been direct.
I was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts.
I was on my own by the time I was 11 years old—I lost my mom to HIV / AIDS, my dad left, and my brother got a life sentence in prison.
Whether it was foster homes or elsewhere, I lived in 17 different places before even graduating high school—I knew that I needed to become a teacher to help other kids going through similar struggles.
I went into college to become a teacher, but was discouraged when I learned about the tests I’d have to take—I ended up trying art and graduated with a degree in graphic design instead.
After college, I found my way back into teaching because I knew it was my calling to help students.
I started as a science teacher and taught earth science, life science, and physical science to middle school students before eventually transitioning to teaching visual art for K-5 students.
I wrote a fully illustrated memoir, “From This to That,” about overcoming the struggles of my past—I use my memoir as a tool to help other at-risk teens.
I also founded a nonprofit mentorship program called Inner City Anglers, where we expand on the idea that teaching a man to fish will feed him for life.
Keep following my journey


Art Teacher & Nonprofit Founder

I teach visual art and lead a mentorship nonprofit organization.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Teaching / Mentoring

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Whatever it is you want to do, you just have to take the leap and do it. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't promised, so you have to live for today. It may be scary and you may not feel ready, but those who are willing to fail are the ones who will achieve. My first book had many errors—but I did it! When I decided to start my nonprofit, I planned to wait a year before it launched. Contrary to that plan, we launched early and it's been a success! The first step is deciding to take the leap.


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"Teachers work too much. You need to be constantly planning and working as a teacher, even when school hours are out."

Challenges I Overcame

Death and Loss