May 1, 2006
Win Tickets to Akeelah and the Bee!
Was there a mentor in your life who made a difference in who you are today?
89.3 KPCC wants to hear about those special individuals who shaped the lives of Southern Californians. Was your mentor a teacher? A neighbor? A family member or co-worker? Your submission will qualify you to win special passes to the film Akeelah and the Bee, the story of a young woman from Los Angeles who discovers her inner strength through the help of one special mentor.
Please be sure to include your e-mail address when submitting your entry.
Winners will receive two passes to see Akeelah and the Bee at any Pacific Theatre in Los Angeles (excluding Arclight and The Grove). Passes are good Monday through Thursday.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. You must be 18 or older to enter. One entry per person. Void where prohibited by law.
Posted by ALOUD at 8:44 AM
I am a young latina who for many years post college found it difficult to find the right profession. I had been asked by my parents if I had someone who I could look upto and who could guide me as a mentor would. At that time, I said no. Then not too long ago, I came accross an opportunity to work for an attorney whom I had worked with in the past. I had worked with this attorney in the past and was now faced with an opportunity to manager her firm. Our relationship was purely professional.
Since then, we have become very good friends. My boss, mentor, and very close friend has helped me focus my passion on what I love to do, and that is practice law. After almost 10 years, I am now enrolled in law school. I am a working mother, and student. I not only love my new family, but I am also much stronger in my faith.
My boss, and mentor planted that seed in my life to improve my life in many ways. I am a much happier person. I feel that if I had not had her 100 % support and guidance I would not have gone back to school, and I would not have had my child which I love dearly. I find so much strength in her and I can only strive to be the professional and mother that she is.
I am very grateful for her presence in my life.
Posted by: Jenina Ramirez on May 1, 2006 1:58 PM
My mentor is a co-worker, who is actually my boss. He has also became my best friend, a partner, a teamate, and a great leader. He took care of me the very first day I arrived to Southern California by welcoming me in his family with a warm hug after a 3000 miles drive through the USA. We have since worked together as a team. He listens to me and he is very patient. He brings me everywhere, introduce me to everyone, teach me, show me, help me and trust me. He is the most important person in my life besides my family, and he made the difference between the former and new me. I am a much better person since I met him and the moment he took me under his wing. I think different, act different, I feel so much better about my self. I am so greatful that I got the chance to meet him and had the opportunity to be aside of him since today. My learning curve through career, family, relationship, politic and love is astonishing...thank you my dear mentor, thanks for all your precious time and infinite generosity! I am lucky to know you.
Posted by: Karine Leblanc on May 1, 2006 7:28 PM
I went from "Danny" to the more-mature "Dan" because when my fifth grade teacher Mr. Robinson asked which I preferred I was so shy I had my hands in front of my face and all he heard was "Dan" He had everyone in class make up and write a myth. He liked mine so much he read it to the class. From then on, everyone considered me a writer.
Posted by: Dan McCrory on May 2, 2006 6:58 PM
An unlikely duo, my mentor and I: He, Dr. B, a white male of modest stature, and I, an African-Amenerican female of meduim - to -tall hieght! He was the Superintendent of a school system in Los Angeles County, and I was an aspiring high school assistant principal.
Following a very rigorous selection process, I prevailed as a finalist and was hired to serve as only one of two Black faculty in a school of nearly 2000 students, only 1% of whom were Black. The middle class community in which the school was located had very little experience living with and among Blacks and Dr. B sheltered my appointment by not disclosing my race when the school board voted on my appointment.
This visionary risk-taker, invested in my professional growth and development in unprecedented ways. He was truly a catalyst for my career as an educational "change agent" in the early years of school reform in the 1980s. His demand for excellence and high expectations, combined with all the necessary resources to be cutting edge, successful leaders, empowered me to see myself being successful in new environments with progressively responsible assignments.
I actualized! I assumed positions as high school prinicipal, assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, and currently as professor in educational leadership (at Calif. State University, Long Beach), the latter another system dominated in leadership by white males!
Dr. B's constructive feedback and complete confidence in my abilitites encouraged me to continue to grow. And he encouraged those he mentored to do the same for those around us: identify talent and nurture it.
Even though Dr. B's facilitation of my growth was not race-based, I cannot say enough about the value of a white male educational leader being my mentor then, because for the next 12 years, in each new environment I worked - in 3 states - in systems dominated by white males. Dr. B recently retired, but remains my mentor!
Posted by: Thelma Moore-Steward on May 3, 2006 8:55 AM
One of my many mentors was Vladimir Ussachevsky, pioneer in Electronic Music. Vladimir was 75, while I was 28. I was his student at the University of Utah, when I was a music major. He guided me late into the night with all the plugs and reels of tape in the studio, so that my Final Composition would be acceptable. I created my "Mother and Son," with his help.
This was in the early seventies.
Vladimir truly cared about his students and spent hours guiding them. Not only did he teach me more about music, but he taught me about life. He read to me Pushkin in the original Russian and was there for me when no one else was. He was not exactly a father figure. He was a guiding light- a compassionate and powerful influence. He died, but for me, he still lives. For all of us who knew you, Professor Vladimir Ussachevsky, we love you dearly.
I have photos of him and more info on him if you need them. He was a well-known figure in music. My bio follows, if you can use some of it.
Former Singer/songwriter, Marcielle Brandler earned her Master’s Degree in 1994 in Professional Writing, with emphasis on Poetry and has been publishing her work since 1976. Her poems have been translated into Czech, French, Arabic, and Spanish, and have been published in several countries. She was an editor for Working Title Magazine, and a staff writer for Creative Line Magazine, and Sierra Madre Vista. Marcielle has been teaching English, Literature, Creative Writing, and Critical Thinking at the college level for two decades. She appears in 2005 & 06 Who’s Who in the World. She hosts a monthly poetry reading series called Ambassadors of Delight, and her Adelphia Public Access TV show is called, Marcielle Presents! She is a human rights activist & a Judge in the Poetry Competition at Los Angeles City College. She is featured on a documentary by Bob Bryan which can be found at Contact her at: email@example.com
Posted by: Marcielle Brandler,Poet on May 3, 2006 9:11 AM
My mentor’s name is Julie Kwan. Julie started off as my supervisor in my previous position as a library assistant and has become my colleague now that I am a librarian.
Working by her side for several years, she helped me develop a sense of problem solving that I could have never developed on my own. She knows how to best to approach problems and issues, thinking first of the desired outcomes and goals surrounding the issues.
Julie is a leader. Her strategic and big picture thinking is something that I aspire to. She can also effectively communicate her ideas and help develop a plan to execute them.
She has a network of colleagues that respect and admire her. And, when presented with a question that she may not know the answer to, she doesn’t hesitate to call on them for advice and insight. She has shared this network with me and others, which shows that she realizes her limits and knows when input from others is necessary.
Julie knows that I consider her to be my mentor and many others know about the role she plays as a mentor in my life. She has helped shape me as a librarian and as a person. But, what Julie may not know is just how many others view her as their mentor too.
Posted by: Andrea on May 3, 2006 11:06 PM
My mentor and hero is Paul Cummins. He expected me to be a student when I thought I was only an artist. He continues to teach me about the depth in poetry and his wonder and awe for literature is contagious. Paul is a teacher of passion and believes that anything is possible. He is truly motivated by the good of the children and he inspires all to be our best selves. I have dedicated my life to helping him fulfill his mission of helping children receive a whole education.
Posted by: kelly kagan on May 4, 2006 10:06 AM
When I was nineteen years old I walked into a retail store located across the street from the theater where I was employed as an usher and met the man who would become my mentor.
I was very lonely, confused and had recently recovered from an attempted suicide. I needed a great deal of help coming from a well meaning but dysfunctional family. Nothing made sense to me.
Arnold was at a period in his life where he knew he wanted to help someone feeling his own life was fun but perhaps a bit empty. His father had been helpful to his childhood friends. It was a legacy he wanted to follow.
Arnold taught me to beleive in myself, increased my self esteem, gave me direction and loved me. When I became too much of a challenge for him he saw to it that I consulted a psychiatrist. He gave me companionship and, during the time when we lived together, listened to me whenever I came home no matter what time of the day it was.
We were never sexual partners. He was my surrogate parent.
All this occurred forty-one years ago. He is still living at 82 years of age, still a big part of my life.
Posted by: Gregory Goodheart on May 5, 2006 1:02 PM
"Oh God!" screamed the woman. "Jack! Jack! Who did this to you?" Marlon hunkered down in the must of Jacko's closet. The knife in his hand was sticky already and he would've liked to close it, shove it in his jeans pocket; but the broad, she might be super sensitive, all on alert from seeing Jacko laid open that way; her mop of red hair like spores puffed out, and those little hairs inside her ears--they were probably stiff as cat gut. She might hear the satisfying click and fling open the flimsy slatted doors to find Marlon hunkered down, wretched, and ready to spew into Jacko's stinking Florshiems.
Sirens . . .
"Arrive late, get out early." That's one thing my first real writing mentor, Tom Jenx of Narrative Magazine taught me. . .
Marlene stepped into the bathtub. The water was too hot,steaming, but she wanted it that way. She needed a scalding,and she lowered her body into the brew she had made, of tea tree oil and eucalyptus, bergamot and lavender, and she would use the loofa too, the rougher one, and the gree tea soap, so it would all come off, everything he had done to her, and the things he was thinking when he did them, and the smell of him, and the look in his eyes that hadn't looked out but had sucked her in like crazy juice that he was going to have, had to have the more she said, "No, no please."
Tom Jenx taught me that the writer (I) may have to write pages about Jacko and Marlon or Marlene so that I know them, thoroughly, intimately. I may write pages and pages about them and then, in the end, set all that work aside and begin to write the story. Jump in early -the action is underway - the reader wants to go - go - go and I know who these people are and I know what their motives are and can inform the reader through their gestures and their actions and SHOW the reader. For heaven's sake, don't be telling the reader every bloody thing,like your mother on a Saturday afternoon phone call. Arrive late -- leave early and the reader is satisfied and left wanting, all at the same time, like real life.
Posted by: Penny Susan Rose on May 5, 2006 5:09 PM
I first met my mentor, Ed, on the telephone on September 21, 1976, the day my great grandmother and ‘surrogate mother’ had died and I was overcome with grief. He talked to me on the phone for almost two hours while I cried and told him my life story. I had grown up in a dysfunctional family and married the first guy I knew that had a steady job when I was 18 to get out of the house. It ended up being a pretty abusive relationship and I was very shy, easily intimidated, and had very low self-esteem. At that point in my life, happiness was just the absence of pain.
But that day on the phone, my life began to slowly change. I met the man that I affectionately began to call my ‘Henry Higgins’. Ed hated being compared to the arrogant, self-centered professor in My Fair Lady, because he wasn’t. But I very much thought of myself as the young flower girl who was picked out of the gutter by this similarly older, scholarly man, who too shared a passion for his life’s work as a minister.
But most of all Ed was my teacher and mentor. Somehow he saw that I had more potential than anyone, including myself, had ever recognized before. I don’t think he realized how hard it was for me to challenge the defenses I had developed to protect myself in life, and to take the risk to step out of the narrow confines of who I was, to who he thought I could become. Ed would not allow me to use my feelings of inferiority and insecurities as excuses. With his support, encouragement and sometimes demands, I started conquering my fears. His insistence and belief in me helped me discover I had hidden strengths and power, and gave me my first taste of self-confidence. At first, there were many times that I felt like I was an impostor trying to pass in a world that was much better than I had known or deserved. However, his unconditional acceptance of me for who I was, his empathic attempts to understand me, and his support and encouragement to always take another step, helped me to discover a whole new way of being.
After I discovered self-help books, he started encouraging me to visualize the possibility of changing and setting goals to develop and grow. He was so pleased when I finally got brave enough to take my first college class at El Camino Community College when I was 24. However, he was bursting with pride when I got my Ph.D. in psychology from USC.
One of the most important lessons I learned from Ed was that I had to learn to love myself. Then he taught me how important it is to let people into your life, and that connections with people make life full. Through his actions and words, he also taught me that people don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care. Eventually, I learned from him that in order to be open to change and live a meaningful life, you have to risk being open enough to get hurt, and be willing to make mistakes and to forgive. These are all lessons that I now teach others.
In gratitude and recognition of the tremendous difference Ed made for me at a critical time in my life, I have dedicated my life to doing the same for other high-risk young people. Now I am a licensed psychologist and executive director of a special education school, I have the honor and opportunity to provide a nurturing environment and individualized special education program to help thousands of “my kids” with severe learning, behavioral and emotional disorders achieve goals they thought were unobtainable. Ed had caring vision to see the best of me deep inside, instead of just the exterior facade. I now pass on the gift of his caring vision to all of “my kids” at my nonpublic school to help them become successful too. As part of continuing the circle of life and love that he gave to me, my husband, daughter and I have “adopted” six very special young people who we now nurture and mentor.
Ed was the first person I called to tell that I was going to be honored in Sacramento by the California State Legislature as the 2006 California Woman of the Year for the 53rd Assembly District on March 20, 2006. I thanked him for helping me become who I am, because I never would have achieved this honor if he hadn’t seen and nurtured my potential. Even though he was very weak and struggling in the last weeks of his life, he kept repeating how proud he was of me, and of all of my achievements and accomplishments. While I was visiting Ed the day before he died, he asked to see the award, and was disappointed that I would not receive it until the following Monday. But I told him when I received it I would dedicate it to him, and we both cried. He died the next day.
During the last few years, Ed was studying to become a certified financial planner. I don’t think that he realized the extent to which he had already made so many people richer simply by making a difference in our lives. I will always be in a state of gratitude and appreciation for the countless ways Ed made my life richer and for our close connection for 30 years.
It is our connections that give us the basis of meaning and purpose in life. So just like Ed challenged and mentored me, I challenge each of you to mentor and make caring connections with others. You too can help others become resilient, by looking for and reinforcing others strengths, listening to and understanding their troubles, being a source of power as a caring surrogate or mentor, and compassionately cultivating hope and options. If you continue making caring connections that help make others become resilient and successful, your and your mentor's memory will always live on.
Posted by: Rebecca on May 8, 2006 2:25 PM