By: Diane Feen
Mikaeel Ali knows that to whom much is given, much is expected.
That’s why this 10-year-old Boca Boca Prep student launched his own social media landscape to help others. Mika, as he is known, has created a platform to interview local business leaders, politicians and first responders on YouTube. The purpose of these interviews is to highlight good people in the community and start a dialogue about subjects of interest.
Because he is passionate about video games and knows the value of learning from YouTube, Mika uses it as his platform.
It is where you can watch him do virtual interviews that he hopes will influence others, especially those affected by COVID-19.
“I wanted to showcase good people in our community and tell good stories on my YouTube show called ‘Lead the Way,’” he said.
Mika came up with three categories to focus on – Front line workers, local leaders and small businesses who needed help.
And so far, he has kept to his word.
He currently has 10,000 followers and “Lead the Way” is shown on Instagram and Facebook as well. When you see this spunky determined young man on camera interviewing local business leaders and politicians it is clear a star is in the making.
He has interviewed the Deputy mayor of Boca Raton, Jeremy Rodgers, Laura Albertini of West Boca Medical Center and chatted with Officer Amy Suarez, Social Resource Officer of Police D.A.R.E. In total there are nine YouTube videos on his “Lead the Way” show.
Mika’s interviews are thoughtful and well prepared. The 10-year-old straight-A student has sophistication and composure way past his chronological age.
He rode in a police car with Officer Suarez and discussed bullying, negative sentiment toward police and drug abuse problems.
“Do you think that due to COVID-19 depression and drug overuse will get higher?” he asked. “What message do you have for students and parents to avoid these problems?”
Mika has taken his cause – and his social media outlet –to combat the ravages of coronavirus. He interviewed Sadia Baig, the owner of Firehouse Subs in Boca Del Mar. Not only did Mika highlight the restaurants more salient features, but he talked with Baig about their recent donation of 250 box lunches to ICU workers at West Boca Medical Center.
“In tough times we should all come together,” said Baig.
“I was watching the news and I saw businesses and people losing their jobs and not making money and I wanted to help,” said the first-degree black belt, gymnast and aspiring tennis pro.
Good people doing good things is one of Mika’s prime messages on his YouTube show. He promotes local businesses, such as tennis instructor Rick Macci tennis camp, and is eager to shed light on issues (and people) who make life better, during these difficult times.
Mika has seen these traits up close. His dad Shahbaz Ali works at a leading technology company and mom Ayesha is his PR advocate. Both help with the show and support Mika’s natural gifts.
Ayesha has done such a stellar job helping her son flourish that his show – and his mission – has been profiled on local NBC and Fox News news. His editorial credits also far exceed those of most working professionals in Boca Raton.
When not on YouTube watching tennis videos of his favorite player, Novak Djokovic, Mika is making videos, playing tennis, or doing Taekwondo. The budding tennis pro plays tennis six hours a day and has a clear understanding of goal setting, even at the age of 10.
“When I retire from tennis, I want to be a tennis coach, tennis commentator and TV reporter,” he said.
If the past is any indication of the future, then Mika will have his pick of careers and hobbies. But for now his immediate goal is getting the governor to come on “Lead the Way.”
Not matter who appears on “Lead the Way,” Mika is happy to show that goodness comes from a myriad of places and people.
“I want to spread the word that not all cops are bad and that if you have a voice you should use it for good.”