This year, and for the first time in our 60 year history, we are pleased to introduce the Workplace Mentoring (WPM) , Mentor of the Year award. An honor we bestow on those individuals who represent the spirit of mentorship best at our facilitated sessions and beyond.
It is our hope that these stories will inspire more business partners and business professionals to join the mentoring movement as volunteer mentors or champions of programs like WPM empowering the next generation of leaders to achieve success and creating an impact that will last a lifetime.
This year, here in the Inland Empire, we are delighted to present the Workplace Mentoring Mentor of the Year award to Eboni Wells, Facilities Coordinator at Bourns, Inc. and to Rafael Flores, Community Service Officer at the Corona Police Department.
Their individual contribution in the life of their mentee is impossible to ignore…and impossible to adequately capture in a short blog post, so we have compiled a snapshot of their greatest contributions.
- Mentor: Eboni Wells
- Job Title: Facilities Coordinator
- Company: Bourns, Inc.
- Match Date: 2021
- Mentee: Jasmine Chairez
- Mentee High School: John W North High School
- Mentee Grade Level: 11
- Mentee’s Post-Grad Plans: Mentee is currently a junior. She would like to go to a 4-year college to study psychiatric medicine.
What makes Eboni a great mentor is her persistence and dedication to the process, attending every virtual and in-person event offered as part of the program, including; the UCR ropes course, and UCLA tour.
Her mentee, Jasmine, expressed her appreciation, saying “she has told me to come to her with any questions I have. Showing interest in all aspects of my life.” From academics, and post-graduate plans, to family and friends, Eboni has been a trusted confidant to the bright and creative eleventh-grader.
When asked why she joined the program, Eboni told BBBS, “ I have always gravitated towards guiding youth. I have this passion for seeing our young people evolve into successful adults. When the opportunity of being a workplace mentor fell into my lap, I knew that this was one of the doors I needed to lean into if I was going towards empowering our up-and-coming leaders.”
Eboni continues, saying “young people need someone who can show up for them. Showing up has a positive effect on our community. Doing so, we help mold future mentors, business owners, teachers, and leaders. In return, this will pass on from generation to generation.”
It is because of Eboni’s unyielding belief in the power and potential of youth that we proudly present Eboni Wells as our 2023 Inland Empire Workplace Mentor of the Year.
- Mentor Name: Rafael Flores
- Job Title: Community Service Officer
- Company: Corona Police Department
- Match Date: 5/26/2022
- Mentee Name: Christopher Ibarra
- Mentee High School: Corona High School
- Mentee Grade Level: 11
- Mentee’s Post-Grad Plans: UCLA is his dream school
Rafael Flores is a charismatic and magnetic individual who has served as liaison between Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Corona Police Department. He has helped Sergeant John Healy recruit 16 mentors and organize most of the sessions, including the popular “Shoot -Don’t Shoot” simulation. Even if his mentee, Christopher, was unable to attend a session Rafael was there to lend support to the other matches.
His dedication to his mentee is impossible to ignore. He has been a consistent role model in Christopher’s life as well as an invaluable asset to the Bigs with Badges program. Rafael is also an expressive and thoughtful individual, sharing his own hardships and the journey he took to overcome obstacles in his own life, in order to inspire his mentee to reach his greatest potential.
When asked about his mentor, Christopher said, “even in the couple months that I’ve known Rafael, I feel like we connected! To be honest I never thought I could have so much in common with an adult! But having that extra person in my corner feels good especially when I just need someone to have my back! I’m so glad that I made a new friend and I’m thankful for Big Brothers Big Sisters for helping us meet!”
Rafael, for his part, thinks extremely highly of his mentee, saying “Christopher is such a brilliant and motivated kid, but the best quality is his compassion. He helps others and will go out of his way to help those around him. A quality that is most valuable and needed in this world. I’m blessed to be part of Christopher’s life. “
When asked why he continues to invest in this program, Rafael wrote poignantly, “I saw it around me when I was growing up. Saw some kids with no fathers or mothers or even both parents. I saw them struggle and get into trouble because they had no guidance. Then working in my career with troubled youth reaffirmed what I saw growing up. Kids need role models to help with their struggles and help fill that void that is missing in their life. When I signed up, I wanted to ensure my Little would get the support they needed to succeed” adding “ mentorship can help youth reach their potential and beyond”.
Rafael’s belief in mentorship is unstoppable. To date, he recruited 21 students to participate in the Bigs with Badges program, and has referred more than 50 students to various other Big Brothers Big Sisters programs.
We need more remarkable people like Officer Flores in our community! We are inspired by the level of dedication and investment he has made. So, it is our great privilege to call Rafael Flores of the Corona Police Department our 2023 Inland Empire Workplace Mentor of the Year.
To learn more about Workplace Mentoring, visit iebigs.org/workplace-mentoring.