Built to Help Each Other

Mentoring in the Life of Richard Caruso: An Uncommon Man

John Crosby

People Need Mentors

Built To Help Each Other, by John Crosby, makes a difference. It tells the story of how mentoring transformed the life of Richard Caruso. And it brings to light for the first time the impact of the Uncommon Individual Foundation. They keep the legacy of Richard Caruso alive by mentoring youth.

In 1986, Richard Caruso and John Crosby started the Uncommon Individual Foundation. Why? Because they believed that mentoring could unlock human potential and individual growth. Further, mentors could pave the way to meaningful and productive lives. In addition, Caruso wanted to tell that story.

The Legacy of Richard Caruso

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to first generation Italian Americans, Caruso came from humble beginnings. First, as a young boy he found work shining shoes on the boardwalk. Second, he moved on to his first real job working in a soda manufacturing plant. Third, he added auto mechanic and usher a the movie theater to his resume. Fourth, he played football in high school. Eventually, he went to college, with football his ticket to an undergraduate education. After graduation, Caruso went into business and in time founded Integra LifeSciences.

With hard work, tenacity and a “never-give-up” attitude, he obtained FDA-approval for Integra™. Although it took 14 years, Integra finally reached the commercial market, a genetically engineered artificial skin. Over time, it has saved the lives of thousands of patients throughout the world. People recovering from extensive burns, as well as those with chronic skin diseases, could not survive without this miracle medical technology.

Throughout his successful life and career, Caruso felt the tug to give back. Therefore, he envisioned a book championing the importance of mentoring. Moreover, he wanted to use his own life as a prime case. Unfortunately, he died before that vision became a reality. However, his partner John Crosby took up the challenge to share the message. Consequently, Crosby wrote Built To Help Each Other. Ultimately, the goal is to inspire others to achieve their own goals, as Caruso had.

Helping Each Other

Thanks to Caruso’s visionary work, Crosby shares the cutting-edge systems of mentoring as developed by Caruso at the London School of Economics. That is to say, he explains in practical terms how these mentoring systems transform the lives of young people. In addition, the Uncommon Individual Foundation stresses that mentors are powerful people. Further, Crosby points out the importance of multiple resources such as inspiring books, poems, speeches, videos, and works of art. He calls on Caruso’s involvement as an entrepreneur to drive home the point. After all, Caruso was involved in starting FedEx, PECO, Verizon, Provco, and other start-ups. In those examples, we see how he worked and lived.

In telling Caruso’s story, Crosby shares his friend’s life with humor. He recalls personal memories of how they created the Uncommon Individual Foundation. And he goes on to recount how they implemented their innovative mentoring philosophy in over 200 organizations in the U.S. and globally. Most importantly, the life stories of those who were mentored are beacons of light to encourage readers. Through their stories, hopefully, young people will find true value in mentoring to help themselves and others find success and happiness in their own lives.

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