Woodinville teenager makes most of pandemic, launches podcast raising money to feed others

The pandemic has radically disrupted our kids’ education and their lives. Not only are they missing being in school with their teachers and classmates, but many students have seen their activities critical to their physical and social development scrapped. 

Still, it’s not all bad. Just ask Zayn Patel of Woodinville. The curiosity-driven teenager is making the most of his free time and he could serve as an example for your kids. 

16-year-old Zayn Patel made the most of his pandemic downtime, starting his own podcast.

When the pandemic hit, more time at home allowed Patel to dedicate his downtime to something he always dreamed of doing -- starting his own podcast. 

“I sat down at my computer and said this is something I really want to pursue,” shared the energetic 16-year-old.

Patel is nationally recognized for his talents in lacrosse. The incoming senior at Woodinville High School was asked to compete in the U.S. Lacrosse National Combine. Between dedicating his life to lacrosse and his schoolwork, the desire was there, but there was little time left to create a podcast. 

The shutdown of in-school classes and athletics last spring offered something he hadn't experienced in years -- downtime.  

Still, Patel would quickly learn becoming a content creator isn’t just plug and play. He would spend hours crafting the concept of the podcast, learning how to record and edit audio, add necessary transitions, all while lining up and conducting interviews.

He said his determination resonated with the people he was desperate to interview. 

“This was one of the best conversations that I’ve had throughout, just because there was so much knowledge,” Patel said about interviewing Stanford student and author Shobha Dasari, who wrote about about designing health technologies. 

In time, Patel created Foundations, a podcast that tapped into his personal passions, fittingly focused on reaching your goals through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Patel's "Foundations" podcast can be found on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Anchor.fm

“Every single time I release a new episode and I go back and refresh the page and I see my name,” he said smiling about his accomplishment. “That’s where I just felt the feeling, I’ve made it big, you know.” 

Yes, it's a bit of an ego boost for any teenager to have their own podcast, but the real rewards came when his venture started bringing in money from sponsors and donors. 

So what's he going to do with the money from this newfound income stream?

“I said, I was going to donate all the money to a charitable organization,” Patel said. 

He realized the pandemic that gave him the time to follow his dreams, also left others without food on the table. This was Patel's way of paying it forward. 

“I’ve donated over 550 meals, 580 so far to Feeding America," he said. "It’s just so simple. I’m just doing what I love, in essence, everything that I’m doing is going to a better cause.” 

A teenager, realizing a pandemic can also provide an opportunity to find his voice, with a positive message, that's clearly worth a listen. 

“The silver lining of the entire thing, being able to find the positive, during such a negative thing going around the country,” Patel said.

If you would like to check out Patel's podcast or donate to his mission click on this link: Foundations Podcast by Zayn Patel