National Mentoring Month: 10 life-changing stories from celebrities

We all know the celebrity – but only rarely do we see the mentor who made it all possible. In "The Person Who Changed My Life," edited by former New York First Lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo, celebrities and public figures share tales of a mentor who affected their lives profoundly. Here, as we celebrate National Mentoring Month, are 10 of those stories.

1. William Jefferson Clinton

By White House Photograph Office

Former president Clinton remembered his grandparents and a college professor who taught him the importance of American values as important figures in his life. But it was Nelson Mandela, he says, who gave him the best advice he ever received. "He came out of twenty-seven years in prison a stronger, greater man than he was when he went in," Clinton wrote. "He said his transformation began when he realized his tormentors could take everything from him 'except my mind and my heart. Those things I would have to give them. I decided not to give them away. And neither should you.' "

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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