Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Ogitchida takes message of single-parent families across country

ST. PAUL, Minn. ñ Sometimes people donít know how hard it is to be a single parent, and single parents may feel alone: but one single parent is on a quest to change that.

Mukwa Ogitchida, a Narragansett with ties to the Anishinaabe and Dakota, is cycling through the 48 contiguous states to carry the message that there is help for single parents and to educate the general public about the realities of the single-parenting life.

Ogitchida lives in St. Paul. He started his trek June 15, has traveled to the Eastern states and is now moving through the South. Aug. 14 is his planned finish date.

ìI want to bring an awareness: this [single parent families] affects 21 million children and

I thought it needed some publicity,î Ogitchida said.

He is cycling from town to town, shaking hands and talking about the issue.

ìThere is a very positive reception ñ a few people want to dig in, and most people are really positive,î he said.

Ogitchida said he recognizes that children of single parents are not always able to participate in extracurricular activities and also may not have the best nutrition. His plan is to organize a Web site that will list all the organizations that can help single parents and their children.

He changed occupations to become more involved with children and to better accept his role of single parenting. Ogitchida was at one time a restaurant manager; now he works as an assistant in

an inner-city school and teaches soccer.

ìI realized how many employe-es I had to let go because they made decisions over work for children. I want to see more resources that will help single parents: the children of single parents are at risk,î he said.

He added that 50 percent of children in 2001 lived in single-parent households.

Ogitchida suddenly became a single parent after a divorce two years ago. He also grew up in a single-parent household.

Ogitchida is the primary caregiver of three children, ages 11, 9 and 6. The children are with their grandmother while he is on this journey.

He will take college classes to eventually earn a masterís degree so he can acquire a teaching certificate, and then teach in inner-city schools, he said.

Ogitchida, who used the bicycle as his mode of transportation when in St. Paul, now uses it to attract attention so he can speak to anyone about single parenting. Most of the people he has spoken with that are single parents, he said, are either black or Hispanic.

Ogitchida will cycle through almost all of the countryís American Indian reservations, he said.

ìI hope that the people who are able to can look beyond their busy days. I really support a family, they have opportunities that other people donít have. Iím fortunate in certain circumstances to see beyond the forest and take a new path,î he said.

One of the best encounters heís had with a person took place in Boston, where he sat in a park next to someone. They struck up a conversation and the person informed Ogitchida that his daughter worked for an organization that helps other organizations apply for additional funding.

ìHe was excited to be able to connect me and his daughter,î Ogitchida said.

The most heart-wrenching story occurred in a laundromat. The laundry attendant was a single mother of two children.

ìShe fit the profile. She didnít understand there was help out there. We started talking and she just never realized she wasnít alone; she thought she was the only person struggling,î Ogitchida said.

Ogitchidaís Web site is www.48forkids.org. His story is posted, as are comments from friends and people he has encountered.

ST. PAUL, Minn. ñ Sometimes people donít know how hard it is to be a single parent, and single parents may feel alone: but one single parent is on a quest to change that.Mukwa Ogitchida, a Narragansett with ties to the Anishinaabe and Dakota, is cycling through the 48 contiguous states to carry the message that there is help for single parents and to educate the general public about the realities of the single-parenting life.Ogitchida lives in St. Paul. He started his trek June 15, has traveled to the Eastern states and is now moving through the South. Aug. 14 is his planned finish date.ìI want to bring an awareness: this [single parent families] affects 21 million children and I thought it needed some publicity,î Ogitchida said.He is cycling from town to town, shaking hands and talking about the issue.ìThere is a very positive reception ñ a few people want to dig in, and most people are really positive,î he said.Ogitchida said he recognizes that children of single parents are not always able to participate in extracurricular activities and also may not have the best nutrition. His plan is to organize a Web site that will list all the organizations that can help single parents and their children.He changed occupations to become more involved with children and to better accept his role of single parenting. Ogitchida was at one time a restaurant manager; now he works as an assistant in an inner-city school and teaches soccer.ìI realized how many employe-es I had to let go because they made decisions over work for children. I want to see more resources that will help single parents: the children of single parents are at risk,î he said.He added that 50 percent of children in 2001 lived in single-parent households.Ogitchida suddenly became a single parent after a divorce two years ago. He also grew up in a single-parent household.Ogitchida is the primary caregiver of three children, ages 11, 9 and 6. The children are with their grandmother while he is on this journey.He will take college classes to eventually earn a masterís degree so he can acquire a teaching certificate, and then teach in inner-city schools, he said.Ogitchida, who used the bicycle as his mode of transportation when in St. Paul, now uses it to attract attention so he can speak to anyone about single parenting. Most of the people he has spoken with that are single parents, he said, are either black or Hispanic.Ogitchida will cycle through almost all of the countryís American Indian reservations, he said.ìI hope that the people who are able to can look beyond their busy days. I really support a family, they have opportunities that other people donít have. Iím fortunate in certain circumstances to see beyond the forest and take a new path,î he said.One of the best encounters heís had with a person took place in Boston, where he sat in a park next to someone. They struck up a conversation and the person informed Ogitchida that his daughter worked for an organization that helps other organizations apply for additional funding.ìHe was excited to be able to connect me and his daughter,î Ogitchida said.The most heart-wrenching story occurred in a laundromat. The laundry attendant was a single mother of two children.ìShe fit the profile. She didnít understand there was help out there. We started talking and she just never realized she wasnít alone; she thought she was the only person struggling,î Ogitchida said.Ogitchidaís Web site is www.48forkids.org. His story is posted, as are comments from friends and people he has encountered.