It's been a few months since Congress enacted the CARES Act, which provided eligible Americans with a one-time $1,200 check. Many Americans have utilized that payment in a variety of different ways to help themselves deal with the struggles related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that one Washington D.C. area teacher actually used his stimulus check to make an incredible impact on his community.
Carmen Garner, a teacher in the Washington D.C. public school system, used his economic impact payment to create a nonprofit that allows him to take children from some of the region's struggling neighborhoods fishing. He told the Washington Post, "I said, ‘Why not spend the stimulus money on something that’s going to benefit kids, and benefit our community?’ I was that kid on the step waiting for someone to come pick me up. Now, that’s what I’m going to be doing. I’m going to be picking these kids up.” As the outlet went on to note, Garner created his nonprofit amidst a difficult time in the country right now, as many across the nation have been protesting for racial justice in light of the murder of George Floyd. According to Garner, he wanted his nonprofit, which is called Inner City Anglers, to be an avenue to show Black children that they matter.
It should be noted that the organization, whose motto is "Where kids can cast dreams into reality," does not exclude members based on race or ethnicity, but that it does aim to help children in neglected neighborhoods. In the Washington D.C. region, that often includes Black children. “We don’t have the types of dreams that people with privilege have,” he explained. “You have people who always told you that, ‘You can be and you can do.’ And we have always been told, ‘You cannot be and this is all you can do.’ It takes people from outside your community to say, ‘You can be something different’ for you to know that. That’s my job. That’s my job as a teacher. That’s my job as a mentor."
Garner noted that he does not expect that his organization alone can fix all of the issues that have affected Black communities. But, he does hope that Inner City Anglers could help inspire others to give back to their communities in their own way. He shared, “I want people to go into their own communities, find something they love to do and then introduce that to the kids. You only know what’s introduced to you. If we have more people introducing good ideas into our communities, then our communities will be better off.”