International Mentoring Day is celebrated on January 17, while honoring Muhammed Ali, who engaged people globally through formal and informal mentoring, while advancing diversity and inclusion. The day gives us time to reflect on the great influence and meaning that mentoring provides and how it contributes to a better world. Mentors have the power to transform lives.
We are taking the month to highlight ICAN staff and providers in our Independent Practice Association (IPA) network who mentor our clients and help make a different every day.
The following gives some great insight and advice from Marabella and Tony Colon – providers in our IPA network who are long time mentors and advocates for youth in our community.
What does mentoring mean to you?
Mentoring is at the core of the promise ICAN makes in its Wraparound commitment. The TRUE reality of our challenge as mentors – to be the surrogates who provide/foster the nurturing and the rewards often missing in the homes due to the socio-economic conditions of many of our service families.
How do you see mentoring working with the youth you assist?
Short term expectations often come in small increments with mentoring. The true worth of the profession are the phone calls, messages, and correspondence of well wishes we receive are signs that the investment of our time with these clients and their families, whose cases have been closed for many years, was well worth the effort.
Micaella and family, one of the many families the Colons work with
Can you share any best practices, tactics or approaches that you use in mentoring that work well with youth?
Our daughter is a social worker and provided this article to us as a guide when we got started. It is meant for teachers, but very effective in how we approach our mentoring opportunities: 10 Best Practices of Highly Effective Teachers By Lani Aquino
You can read more detail in her original article, but her practices also stand alone:
- Provide frequent and timely feedback
- Value parental/familial involvement
- Sidestep the comfort zone
- Offer second chances/clean slates
- Be resourceful
- Make learning active
- Be an advocate
- Pursue lifelong learning
- Encourage discussion
- Keep a positive outlook
What advice do you have for someone thinking about becoming a mentor?
Mentoring can be immensely rewarding for both mentor and mentee, providing many opportunities to learn from and share with each other, gain new insights, and discuss experiences that enrich each person's perspective moving forward. Good mentors are patient, diligent, enthusiastic, and genuinely want to help others.
About Marabella Colon
Marabella “Lindy” ventured out in 2015 to set up her own small business, Marabella Colon, DBA, where she contracts her services to ICAN. Marabella enriches her community by working as a bi-lingual family services provider empowering the unreached and/or under-served to gain access to resources and to also contribute to the communities in which they live. Over the last eighteen years she has also faithfully served her community as a founding volunteer of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Inc.
About Anthony Colon
Anthony “Tony” Colón has over 25 years of experience as a business professional at local, regional, national, and international levels. He left the corporate sector in 1999 and through several businesses provides services in various disciplines. He speaks several foreign languages and is a New York State and Federal Court Legal Spanish Interpreter. Tony also serves his community by providing Family Support Services through his wife’s business, Marabella Colon, DBA, contracted to ICAN. Tony recently collaborated with the management group of several Central New York radio stations to bring 24-hour Spanish Language radio (El Zorro Radio 98.3 FM and 1420 AM) to the Mohawk Valley.