Categories: Podcast Update

First Generation Programming Services

Welcome back, first gens! This week, we continue with this month’s theme of Mental Health as a First Gen. Often stigmatized, especially in the first-gen community, mental health is a topic that affects us all. In this week’s episode, we welcome Rod Colon, who brings over 25 years of experience coaching and consulting today’s professionals and executives to his role as HISPA’s (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement) Talent Development and Leaders in College Director. We will learn about Rod’s journey to discovering how taking care of his mental health got him to where he is today.

Rod Colon

The First Gen Madrina Rod Colon Mental Health

Rod grew up in the Bronx as the youngest of three. He shares with us how he was always told of the importance of a good education and getting good grades. Rod, however, struggled academically and faced many internal battles with mental health. Like many first gens, Rod was never taught about the importance of mental health. It was a taboo subject that was rarely discussed within his family or culture. As a result, Rod often felt that he was not good enough and struggled silently with depression, ADHD, and suicidal thoughts. Rod’s journey took a turn when he reached a point of crisis and needed to look for help. Through therapy, medication, and self-reflection, Rod began to understand and manage his mental health challenges. In this episode, he emphasizes the importance of finding the right support system and breaking free from the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Rod’s message is clear: it’s okay to ask for help, and healing is possible with the right resources and support. Sara resonates with this as last week she discussed how the support from her mother helped her through her first panic attack. Rod’s story also stresses the importance of representation and cultural competence in mental health care. For many first gens, finding a therapist who understands their cultural background and lived experiences can make a world of difference. Rod’s journey to find a therapist who resonated with his identity as a Latino man underscores the need for diverse representation in mental health services.


The First Gen Madrina Rod Colon Mental Health

Overall, Rod’s advocacy for mental wellness extends beyond his own journey. He actively works to support first-gen students and individuals by offering guidance and resources through platforms like HISPA. By sharing his story and breaking the silence surrounding mental health, Rod is paving the way for others to seek help and find healing. Here at the First Gen Madrina, we know the importance mental health and wellness holds. Through sharing stories like Rod’s, we hope we can continue to break the stigma surrounding mental health and create a more supportive environment for all first gens. To support HISPA, please visit

The First Gen Madrina

Sara The First Gen Madrina


Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for a special announcement made by Sara! We cannot wait to share it with you all!

If you are a University, College, Company or Organization, The First Gen Madrina offers workshops on a variety of topics (such as imposter syndrome, time management, managing burnout, building a self-care plan, etc..), custom built mentorship programs as well as customized services tailored to the needs of the client.

Join Sara, The First Gen Madrina, for individual coaching and/or group coaching. The journey can often feel lonely but that does not mean that you are alone! Check out the Our Services tab on our website for more information!

In order to follow along, remember to rate, review, and subscribe to The First Gen Madrina Podcast to stay connected. Also, follow on instagram and LinkedIn @thefirstgenmadrina and Sara Diaz, LCSW. Sara acknowledges that the term first gen can be fluid, so The First Gen Madrina is committed to supporting all first gens! This isn’t just about breaking barriers—it’s about providing unwavering support that propels individuals to embrace life’s challenges and triumphs.

In conclusion, stay tuned to meet amazing first-generation guests for the podcast, endless topics related to the first-gen experience and transformational coaching! Sara is your go to Madrina for all things first gen!

¡Hasta pronto!

Sara, The First Gen Madrina