10,000 Mentoring Relationships Detailed in the Mentoring Hall of Fame

HallofFame3We reached a milestone in our collection of famous mentoring relationships in our curated collection known as The Mentoring Hall of Fame.

The list of mentor pairs was compiled by Rey Carr from a variety of sources including autobiographies, biographies, newspaper articles, personal interviews, and diligent historical research. Mentor pairs portrayed in fiction or movies are also included.

Pairings are divided into ten general categories. In most cases, mentors and their partners could be included in the same category. However, where a mentor and partner are from different career or life areas, the pairing has been placed in the partner’s category. (A few historical facts or humorous references to the term mentor are included at various places in the listings.)

The Categories include:

  • Actors, Comedians, Producers, and Directors (Stage, Screen, and TV
  • Mentoring relationships depicted in motion pictures and television
  • Musicians, Songwriters, and Singers
  • Classical and Broadway Musicians, Composers, Conductors, Ballet, and Modern Dancers
  • Fashion, Media, and Celebrities
  • Artists, Writers, Photographers, Publishers, Novelists, Poets
  • Mentoring relationships depicted in print (novels stories, fiction)
  • Sports Figures, Athletes, and Coaches
  • Historical, Political, Spiritual and Civic Leaders
  • Business, Industry, Education, Science, and Medical Leaders

Some of the latest additions:

American film icon and director Clint Eastwood was a mentor to American director, screenwriter, and producer Michael Cimino (1939-2016); and is a mentor to Canadian film director Stephen Campanelli.

Minnesota Twins outfielder and baseball Hall of Fame member Kirby Puckett (1960-2006) is a mentor to Arkansas-born former professional baseball fielder Torii Hunter. He was remembered by one of the many people he mentored as a person who “Let us know we can pursue anything that we want to as long as we work hard.”

American short-story writer and poet Raymond Carver (1938-1988) considered his mentor to be American novelist, university professor and literary critic John Gardner  (1933-1982).

In Meg Wolitizer’s 2018 novel, The Female Persuasion, feminist Faith Frank is a mentor to college student Greer Kadetsky.

Kentucky-born American actor, director, activist and philanthropist George Clooney is a mentor to Boston-born American actor, director, producer and screenwriter John Krasinski.

Terrace, British Columbia-born Canadian choreographer, and dancer Crystal Pite is a mentor to award-winning Puerto Rico-born American dancer and choreographer Bryan Arias.

Former Vietnamese Prime Minister and economist Phan Van Khai (1933-2018), who was the country’s first post-American War in Vietnam leader, was mentored by Vietnamese politician, former Prime Minister of Vietnam and revolutionary veteran soldier in the war against the French colonists and American forces, Vo Van Kiet (1922-2008).

Texas-born American jazz guitarist Herb Ellis (1921-2010) was a mentor to jazz guitarist Emily Remler (1957-1990).

British educator and social entrepreneur Sir Cyril Taylor (1935-2018) was described as a “true mentor” to many who worked with him. Sir Cyril considered Jimmy Coronna, the travel director of the American Institute for Foreign Study, as his mentor.

The Power of Peers Reaches Across the Globe

largeMy heart soared when I saw the photos of youth participating in the “March for Our Lives”. My lifelong professional and personal mission has been to educate and support youth to learn how to help, not hurt, each other. And here they were showing how they can work together to bring changes in a world thirsty for healing, eager for safety, and determined to find hope.

The horror of gun violence and school shootings in the USA was clearly the tipping point to generate such massive youth involvement in peaceful protests. I think the incredible cooperation between youth from all over the country came about in part because of their experience and knowledge of the power of peer support.

For more than 45 years my colleagues in the USA, through the National Association of Peer Program Professionals and in Canada through Peer Resources, have been training teachers, counsellors, and other school, college and university personnel to establish peer programs in their institutions.

Virtually every student has been enrolled in a school where peer helping was a significant service in a range of ways to provide support for students. Often students who knew about or participated in peer-based services as elementary students demanded or started such services when they were in high school or entered college. Student peer helpers in high school expected such services to continue to be available at their college or university.

While the type of peer service on offer differed from place to place, the ambiance and foundation that peers helping peers was the most powerful influence, whether in a formal or informal way, became known as the most potent force in the lives of young people.

Unlike the myths associated with “peer pressure” and its negative connotations, most young people have realized that peer support or positive peer pressure is a force that could be used to manage, cope with, or transcend many of the challenges associated with youth.

The massive numbers associated with the “March for Our Lives;” the inspiring speeches given by student leaders and participants, the thrilling feeling of being part of something much larger while not losing your own identity, and power of hope generated by being with and for each other independent of differences are outcomes we dreamed about back in 1970 when we initiated the first peer trainings in Canada and the USA.

Engage Children as Peer Helpers

PEERS2.JPGI’m hoping to raise enough donations to send a set of peer helper recruiting posters to K-8 schools in Canada. I want to send these posters at no cost to schools since teachers, parents, and students are already being asked to pay for so many needed services. To make this happen, we’ve set a goal of $5500 to pay for the mailing costs (mail tubes and postal charges). The posters and the labour are all being donated by Peer Resources.

I’m sure that as children learn they can become peer helpers and they can turn to peer helpers to assist them with practical dilemmas and be referred to professionals through a trusted source, we will be able to help children learn the value of helping, not hurting, each other.

Donations can be made anonymously, and donations over $100 are eligible to receive any of our peer and mentor e-books at no cost. Once a donation is made, we will contact the donor to express appreciation and let him or her know how to access the catalogue of free e-books.

Donation page: www.youcaring.com/peerhelpingposters

Albert Ellis: The Abrasive Mentor

Albert_EllisProvocative, controversial, and energizing, Dr. Albert Ellis (1913-2007), the creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), was one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century. His work on cognitive psychology, action orientation, confronting irrational beliefs, the importance of emotional growth, and challenge to the prevailing dominance of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, gave rise to one of the foundations of what is today called cognitive coaching.

As a student in high school Albert Ellis planned on studying accounting, make enough money to retire at age 30, and become the great American novelist. He devoted most of his time to writing short stories, plays, novels, comic poetry, essays and non-fiction books. The Depression that began in 1929 reduced his brief interest in a business career, and he found that non-fiction writing was more to his liking than producing fiction. He started to write about the field of human sexuality and became a noted expert and informal counselor in this area. His peer counseling led him to discover his calling in this field, and he began to steer towards a career in clinical psychology.

When he received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 1947, he was an ardent supporter of psychoanalysis. But his faith in this technique began to wane when he found that clients stayed the same whether he met with them daily or weekly. He started to inject advice into the sessions and discovered that his clients actually improved when he pointed out their “crooked way of thinking.” One of his critics believed this patient improvement was just a way to get Dr. Ellis to stop talking. Dr. Ellis, however, believed that patients had to take immediate action to change their behavior. “Neurosis,” he said, was “just a high-class word for whining.”

In 1965 when I was a graduate student in the clinical-school psychology program at San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University), the film Three Approaches to Psychotherapy (available on YouTube) was the most frequently viewed and widely-discussed movie about therapy. In the film, Albert Ellis (Rational-Emotive), Carl Rogers (Client-Centered) and Fritz Perls (Gestalt) took turns conducting therapy with the same patient: “Gloria.” At the end of the 36-minute film, the producer and director of the film, Everett Shostrom, interviewed Gloria about her experience of therapy with the three greats and rivals.

As graduate students we argued late into the night on many occasions about the therapists’ techniques and Gloria’s reactions. Dr. Ellis always seemed to receive the most criticism because of his abrupt and abrasive manner. The criticism acted as a catalyst when Dr. Ellis was scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the American Psychology Association conference in our city. All the students in our grad program eagerly got tickets to the event.

As part of his talk, Dr. Ellis solicited a volunteer from the audience so that he could demonstrate some of the principles of REBT. His interaction with the volunteer was surprisingly humorous and provocative. As a result of his style, he was nicknamed “the Lenny Bruce of psychotherapy.” (For those too young to remember Lenny Bruce, he was probably the first stand-up comedian to focus on politics, civics, and real events in highly caustic rants filled with “forbidden” words.)

I recall one of my fellow students saying after the demonstration, “Dr. Ellis has some great ideas and practices for helping people make significant changes. Too bad he’s the one using them.” Because Dr. Ellis was often described as cold and aloof with an abrasive demeanor, many people were surprised to learn that Dr. Ellis was a personal mentor to many junior psychotherapists. In a research study conducted with 150 psychotherapists in 1999, 75 percent reported that Dr. Ellis had been a personal mentor (Johnson, Digiuseppe, & Ulven). Dr. Ellis published over 54 books and 600 articles on REBT, and at the time of his death he was President Emeritus of the Albert Ellis Institute (formerly the Institute of Rational Living) in New York.

Become a Member of Peer Resources’ Mentor Hall of Fame

105+CoverMy fascination with, commitment to, and 60+ year involvement in mentoring started when I entered high school and became connected to an older student who was assigned to be my mentor. I was to learn that the relationship I had with my mentor would last a lifetime even after he died in an auto crash.

Since that time I’ve been blessed with a number of mentoring relationships all of which taught me life lessons that I hope will enable me to leave a similar legacy to those I have mentored.

I’ve learned that in many cases I didn’t know I was being mentored or was acting as a mentor to someone else. That is, at the time, I wasn’t aware of the life-long impact the thoughts, ideas, and actions of another would have on me or how my actions, thoughts, and ideas would leave a legacy for another person. I also learned that distance from another did not act as a barrier to mentoring. In addition, I learned something about mentoring that surprised me: mentoring can occur through literature, music, art, and the physical elements of our planet such as a glorious sunset or a majestic forest.

I think that a mentoring relationship is a primary way our culture is transmitted and transformed. Mentoring has been with us always whether it was elders sharing stories around a fire or modern business leaders considering how best to manage succession.

Recognition of the power of mentoring has prompted thousands of formal mentoring programs in schools, governments, colleges, universities, community agencies, hospitals, professional associations, and the business world.

HallofFame3At Peer Resources we started curating a list of a few well-known persons who were mentors or had been mentored. That list grew exponentially and is now the foundation of our Mentor Hall of Fame.* More than 5,000 mentoring relationships are included in the Mentor Hall of Fame database.

To help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, I selected more than a 150 mentoring relationships of well-known (and lesser known) Canadians; combined details about their relationships with ideas about mentoring and added examples of how those mentoring ideas were demonstrated in my own mentoring relationships.

The result is my current book on mentoring.  The book provides information about the Four Pillars of Mentoring as a way of helping readers understand what mentoring is and isn’t. It includes several examples of the Four Pillars drawn from my life experience. The majority of the book lists mentor pairings of Canadians, mostly well-known from many walks of life including history, leadership, education, sports, business, medicine, the arts, writing, journalism, music, and the motion picture industry. Non-Canadians are also included when they were mentored by a Canadian or acted as a mentor to a Canadian. A name index is included to make it easier to search for particular individuals.

Where to Get This Book: This book is available as an e-book and is free to members of the Peer Resources Network. The e-book version is also available online from Amazon, local bookstores in the Victoria, British Columbia area, and the Greater Victoria Public Library. (GVPL)

* The Mentor Hall of Fame database includes mentors from all over the world, from all walks of life, and from history. If you’d like to be considered for inclusion in the Hall of Fame, leave a comment here with your mentoring details. If you want to know if you are already in the Mentor Hall of Fame or who else is currently listed, visit our database here.

Natural Peer Mentoring

baseball-game12The playoffs to determine the British Columbia Little League team and the eventual team to represent Canada in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania took place in Victoria, BC a few weeks ago. This kind of organized and structured sport was quite different from the typical games I played as a kid, and I was eager to watch these youngsters play in such high stakes games.

When I arrived at the ballpark, I was flooded with feelings and memories from long ago. I had played baseball from the beginning of elementary school through university graduation. At one time I planned on being a professional baseball player. My reverie reconnected me with the role that peers played during these early years. I remembered that from dawn to dusk my friends and I spent virtually all our free time playing a variety of sports, but mostly baseball. We organized our own teams; we were responsible for our own equipment and for transporting ourselves to the parks where we would be the visiting team. On a daily basis we “chose up sides.” Everyone knew who the best players were, but the role of “chooser” rotated on a regular basis so that eventually everyone had an opportunity to be the chooser and chosen. Nobody told us to do this, it seemed like the natural thing to do.

We also adjusted the rules to maintain equity and compensate for our own growing physical abilities. For example, I remember the 20-foot high cyclone fence 210 feet from home plate in right field. When we were little kids, if you could hit it over that fence, it was a home run, and nobody minded the time it took to get the ball and bring it back. As a matter of fact, sometimes we would all search for the ball and maybe stop off at the store for candy or baseball cards. As we got older and stronger, we changed the rule so that hitting the ball over the fence was an out. Everybody wanted to keep the rhythm of the game going, and not spend time chasing the ball down the street. Nobody told us to do this, it seemed like the natural thing to do.

I remember the thrill of victory, our cheering each other, and deciding where or what we would do to celebrate. I remember the despair of defeat and the temporary nature of our gloom, the silent walks or public bus ride home, or the desire to blame somebody else for the loss. Yet the next day, everyone emerged ready to practice, chose up sides, and figure out what we learned from our previous game. Nobody told us to do this, it seemed like the natural thing to do.

I lived in a dense urban area: a mixture of black, white, Latino and Asian families. A lot of kids went to private or parochial schools, I walked 15 blocks to my public elementary school. From time to time new kids would move into the neighbourhood. They would drift down to the park, maybe even carrying a bat or a baseball glove. Somebody would always ask them if they wanted to join in the game or wait for the next choose-up. Nobody told us to do this, it seemed like the natural thing to do.

Although the park had adult directors (physical education students from a local university), and they would sometimes coach us and help us arrange to play other teams, we were pretty much left unsupervised by adults. We often played pranks and practical jokes on each other, destroyed or defaced property, or got into fights, and now and then said some mean or hurtful things to one another. But apologies, shaking hands, repairing damage and resolving disputes were equally as common. Nobody told us to do this, it seemed like the natural thing to do.

Kids today are growing up in the most highly organized society imaginable. Opportunities for youth to impact their environment or determine things for themselves are shrinking. Safe play areas are important, but these areas are not designed to be changed by kids; instead, they are designed to resist change. Adult organized activities tend to limit opportunities for kids to learn how to make their own assessments of equity, mutuality, and the true purpose of rules.

Times have changed. When I was a kid, there were only two things my parents were concerned about: things that would “poke my eye out,” and things I might do to “break my neck.” Opportunities for spontaneous play and peer interaction, the kind where kids can develop their own guiding principles, are on the decline. Increasing concern for the necessary physical safety of kids limits the time kids have to be on their own, travel freely into other neighbourhoods or receive spontaneous mentoring from a variety of adults.

Kids have fewer occasions where they can develop care and concern skills and behaviours. Social programs organized by adults have emerged to provide these skills, yet the programs are typically “deficiency” oriented. Rather than trying to bring out the “dormant wisdom,” which helps young people reconnect with their inherent needs for fairness, belonging, friendship, and fun, social skill oriented programs assume that kids are uneducated or ignorant and in need of adult-driven instruction.

Peer group interaction, a naturally occurring and powerful phenomenon, has been organized by adults through the use of peer helpers. Paradoxically, some of these organized programs may reduce the natural support peers provide. I worry that the introduction of the counselling skill and theory approaches as a basis for peer helping may lead peer helpers to learn accepted techniques, rather than build on their inherent wisdom and desire to help others. I worry that the increased acceptance of peer helping by professional helpers will be accompanied by a more rigid peer training curriculum dictated by professional interests. I worry that the success of peer helping in its present form may decrease the involvement of future volunteer peer helpers in making a variety of peer program decisions.

I know that my worries have been reduced by the many exceptional peer program leaders I have met over the years and by my own observations of a multitude of exemplary peer programs. Yet as peer mentor programs expand to community organizations, the workplace, and other age groups, variations are bound to occur which lose the connection with the foundations of peer work. Nobody told us to do this, it’s just the natural thing to do.

And, if you were wondering, a Little League team from White Rock, British Columbia became Team Canada. They represented Canada in the International side of the Little League World Series. As of this writing, they have a good chance to play an American team in the World Series championship game.