Salute Our Heroes: Michael Odupitan helps young people jumpstart their careers, while serving others

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:33 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A local leader is working to bridge the gap between minority youth and professional development through an organization called ‘Omni Circle Group.’

Michael Odupitan created ‘Omni Circle Group,’ an organization aimed at creating collaborations among Topeka’s diverse and inclusive community.

“I want to create an organization where minorities took responsibilities for the communities,” Odupitan said.

Omni Circle Group also aims to provide for families in need and the purpose of the organization came from a place that touches home.

“Omni Circle started about six years ago primarily, just because I lost my mom in 2015 and it kind of gave me a little added motivation, but also during a time of 2015 we were dealing with the Eric Gardner’s and the same situation we’re kind of dealing with today with the George Floyd situation,” Odupitan said.

Odupitan says after he graduated from Washburn University, where he also made a name for himself as a standout athlete and he grew a passion for working with young people.

“I started out working in the juvenile correctional facility and since then everything in my life has been around the youth, working with them in detention, in foster care. I was a foster parent for eight years,” Odupitan explained.

“My passion is to see them do better because I was one of those kids that had a rough upbringing and everything that I went through in my life was a little bit of a hurdle to get to the next level,” he added. “So what I wanted to do then is to provide them with opportunities so they wouldn’t have to go through all the pitfalls and of all the things I had to go through, just had to make that pathway a little easier.”

Odupitan also has a passion for bringing the community together.

He recently purchased a building for Omni Circle located at 1301 SW Topeka Boulevard. He’s making it a co-working space for the community.

“One of the things that I’ve been saying lately is that we just need to be able to be in the space where we can sit across the table from someone that doesn’t look like us and didn’t have that conversation so we have a greater understanding,” he explained.

“Primarily our goal is to unite in strengthening communities. We want to do that by adding value to the personal and professional development of our members, so that way we can start to bridge some of the gaps in communities in Topeka and start to see some of that and the wealth gap close, and do some different things in the community as far as helping families in need.”

Their building will provide additional space for a variety of activities.

“If they wanted to do photography in the space and then maybe someone that wanted to do a podcast. If they become a member they won’t have to go out and get all of these things,” Odupitan explained.

“I’m really looking at Omni just being an opportunity zone for the community and a way for them to expand themselves in a way to collaborate with people in the ways they normally wouldn’t.”

Omni Circle Group has been active in the community since 2019, organizing backpack giveaways, Halloween events, food boxes, and other projects, in partnership with other organizations.

“It was not to be about the spotlight for Omni Circle, it was really about just helping people. We didn’t want to glorify the service that we provide, it’s not about glorifying it’s just about giving back.”

Odupitan says Omni Circle Group is open for anyone to join. For more information on how to join and donate to the organization, click here.

You can find the organization’s Facebook page here.

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