Mike Smith: It’s not what he’s done, but what he’s doing

Mike+takes+a+photo+with+each+one+of+his+audiences%2C+and+he%27s+one+from+the+event+AHN+attended+in+September.

Mike Smith

Mike takes a photo with each one of his audiences, and he’s one from the event AHN attended in September.

Karlee Nipper, Junior Staff Writer

After listening to countless speakers from school and other student council sponsored events, I thought I knew exactly what to expect. I thought I knew what I was going to hear; the same old ‘I went through this in my life, and this is how you can benefit from it’ with little relatability. It all seemed to be the same lesson from different perspectives hammered into our heads time after time, but when Mike Smith stepped up onto the stage I was already hooked. His ‘Professional Teenager’ attitude and style makes most adults think “Who gave this guy the mic?” It’s not until he begins with his first few sentences does anyone realize that he is someone they can learn from.

Mike is so engaging because he’s been there, and he is still improving. Mike was that lonely kid who put his head down in the hallways. And after his sophomore year in high school, Mike became the four varsity sport athlete with the attitude that he’s better than everyone else. The most inspiring piece of Mike is that he changed himself, transformed the people around him, and cracked the corrupted culture of high school. By looking past the judgements, trophies, peer pressure, and gossip, he was able to notice a kid named Calvin. Now, Calvin was the kid who felt like a ghost, someone who felt like he didn’t matter, Mike was able to teach himself, Calvin and everyone else that he did matter. Mike was able to change everyone’s ideas about what was cool and what wasn’t. Nights with his friends went from partying with pills and girls to fulfilling a bucket list with his best friends to benefit their characters and the people in their community.

Mike Smith - The Harbor

This transferred into his college years in a multitude of ways. He gave homeless people socks because they normally have to use the same socks months on end, and end up with ‘boot rot.’ He started taking all the uneaten food from his college cafeteria, and gave it to the homeless. From these few projects, he knew he wanted to major in ‘helping people.’ The great thing about Mike is that he’s still improving himself, people around him, people in need, and the youth. Mike isn’t just a speaker and doesn’t just talk about what he’s been through, but he talks about what he’s doing now.

Mike is the founder and executive director of his two nonprofits Skate for Change and The Bay.

Mike Smith - The Harbor

He also is partnered with DUDE Be Nice and Yeanice beanies. DUDE.Be Nice is a program all for being nice to people, and showing them the appreciation they deserve, and the program emphasizes the idea through apparel. Mike’s partnership with Yeanice beanies is all about get one give one, so for every beanie purchased Mike gives a beanie to a homeless person who needs one. He’s generous and is clever about how to get his word around. At all the times Mike speaks at school events he brings along his apparel; which spreads like wildfire among the youth.

As a perfect example of Mike’s generosity: when I saw Mike in early October, after I had already seen him in September, I told Mike about the ideas the girls and I had cultivated from his speech the first time. He was so proud he gave me a free Beanie!

10624972_752880484759508_1206292240172899387_n
Courtesy of Karlee Nipper

 

Mike has also skated across Nebraska three times, and is planning to skate for four months from New York City to Los Angeles in Summer of 2015 to raise money for his organizations. With all the impressive projects Mike is involved in, we couldn’t help but be inspired, and a few projects of our own are now in the works of AHN’s Student Council.

PLUS! Mike Smith is active in all social media, so go check him out on his Instagram and Twitter.