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John Carter, Founder & Executive Director, The Turner 12, Inc.

In 1999, I asked a question of a fellow teacher that ultimately changed my life. As we sat in an empty classroom talking about our day, I turned to her and asked why she became a teacher. Her response? She became a teacher to get 3 months off in the summer.

For a few days after this conversation, I thought about my own life. I thought about growing up in the Roseland Homes Housing Development in Dallas. I thought about two teachers who greatly impacted me and exposed me to what life could offer outside of my surroundings. I remembered their applause as I graduated from Hillcrest High School. I can still feel their excitement as I walked across the stage at East Texas State University as a first generation college graduate.

I wondered where I would be without their influence, without their voice.

I knew what could happen when adults took the time to nurture and expose kids to what life could offer outside of their present conditions. I knew the impact that could result in a child's life when they realize that someone genuinely cares, that someone is invested and interested in their future and that someone expects them to excel. I knew what it felt like to have encouragement in the face of challenges and failures and to have support in the wake of opportunities and successes.

And I knew I wanted to provide those same experiences to a new generation.

I wanted to create a support system that could guide the paths of our youth. I wanted that system to encourage and empower them to succeed in education and in life. I began seeking support and designing what that system would look and feel like. And in the spring of 2000, The Turner 12 was formed.

In the years since, I have had the pleasure of seeing our students excel in every area of their lives. They are succeeding academically. They are becoming leaders. They are giving back to their communities.

Mentoring Program Has Dramatic Success |

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the development of these students and thrilled to have a front row seat to watch them as they grow to greatness.

- John Carter