ABOUT LINDA MORNELL
Through her pioneering mentoring program, Linda Mornell has touched many lives, and from those lives rings of influence move outward and into the future. Forever Changed is a compassionate, provocative, and important book.”
– Richard Louv, Author, The Last Child in the Woods
Linda Mornell is the author of the book Forever Changed: How Summer Programs and Insight Mentoring Challenge Adolescents and Transform Lives. The book is based on 38 years of working with adolescents— both in private practice with the over privileged and with low income students, the underprivileged. In 1990, with no experience in the non-profit sector Linda created a program called Summer Search to serve low-income students. For the first five years, Linda worked alone as she learned to transfer the basic techniques of private psychotherapy into another context with kids who were not in counseling and not used to talking about themselves or being listened too without interruption.
The Summer Search process begins with an initial interview. Students who take the risk of telling their story are accepted and go on to take other risks like leaving home to join a group of strangers on a summer program and continuing to participate in ongoing mentoring through weekly talks and through telling and retelling their stories. The first year 14 students participated with a budget of $30,000. Today Summer Search is celebrating 25 years of success and has offices in 7 different cities, serves over 3,000 students annually with a budget in the millions.
Mornell was born on a farm in Muncie, Indiana. After getting her RN and bachelor’s degrees from Methodist Hospital and DePauw University, she headed west on a Greyhound bus. She continued her psychiatric training at Langley Porter at the University of California in San Francisco and married a psychiatric resident, Pierre Mornell. She has three adult children and seven grandchildren.
today, Linda is a proud founder of a program that has gone on serve so many students. She often consults with Summer Search adding advice as the program innovates and expands. She also continues to advise families and adolescents about summer programs, risk taking, and the importance of moving toward rather than away from hard choices and opportunities through weekly musings on this web site and in public speaking.
In 2014, Linda was blessed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for her success in empowering disadvantaged youth. PDF
Olive Branch Agency
“As a literary agent, I wondered who is Linda Mornell? She sent me a rough draft. I laughed, cried and fell in love.”
No big accomplishment comes without the support of others. Linda’s success is built on a foundation of hundreds of individuals and unlimited generosity from the community. Yet, there is one person, one heart, that beats for all of us in Summer Search and that is the heart of Bob Friend. view pic