Mission Stories

The Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota

The uplifting Parents Program (Program UP) was created to empower single parent families by providing resources to support their advancement in education.  The goal is to assist lower-income single parents to acquire the education needed to become financially sustainable, and thus provide stability and opportunity for their children. Brittney Papike and Yuka Ochiai believe this Catholic Social Services-led (CSS) program led them out of poverty.

Program UP helps single parents receive a GED and further their education so they can find a skilled job, earn a livable wage and get their families out of poverty.  Program UP currently has seen the graduation of nearly 30 single parents and has over 60 single parents currently applying for entrance into the program for this year.  While the numbers do not appear large, the Diocese of Rapid City is sparsely populated with the northern counties having less than one person per square mile.

Brittney is now an RN and can support her 4 and 11 year old children, and Yuka is now a CPA supporting her two young sons, ages 5 and 2. Both mothers, now without public assistance, bring about a greater self-awareness for them and their children, as well as make a decent living wage and are off all state and federal programs, saving thousands of dollars for state and federal programs.  When looking at the many successful single parents completing the Program Up, the savings go into hundreds of thousands of dollars in unspent subsidy monies.

The Diocese of Rapid City contains two of the poorest counties in the entire United Sates with rampant poverty.  It is through programs like Program Up single parents and their children find hope for a better life.

The Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota is assigned to Corpus Christi Church, Bonita for MCP 2021.

–  Deacon Greg Palmer, Diocese of Rapid City

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