For Mika Daniel, helping disadvantaged youth open to their potential is a passion and part of who he is as a Pacific Islander.

“I’m deeply in touch with my Samoan culture,” says Mika, 38, father of three and Team Leader at a Barnados residential Family Group Home.

“As Pacific Islanders, we are naturally caring and respectful people, it’s just in our genes. We are also great storytellers. Our elders pass on knowledge from one generation to the next and in that way help our young people flourish.”

Mika embodies that. Right now, he’s enjoying working with his team to support three young brothers who have been reunited in the Family Group Home that he manages.

“I’ve been working with these boys for a while and there is a lot of background trauma. They’ve come from different carers into to this home environment that we’ve created, and they are transitioning together back into the community.

“It’s a beautiful thing to help them take on new opportunities allowing them to explore what they are capable of and seeing them really flourish.”

Mika says his role as team leader is to draw the “map” for his staff and the youth they are caring for, that takes them on a journey from where they enter to where they can be.

This includes everything from therapy interventions and educational connections, ensuring they have life skills and everything they need, to providing them with new opportunities like kayaking, cross-country and soccer – and just hanging out with them.

“These might sound like routine things to many people but for some of these youth they’ve never had the opportunity. Now we’re seeing amazing things happen. One youth for example just got the Golden Boot Award for soccer at his school.

“I mean that’s just awesome.”

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