One Can Help was featured recently in the Lenny Zakim Fund (LZF) newsletter. As one of One Can Help’s very first foundation funders, LZF’s support the last few years has been invaluable. Read the full newsletter here.
Being part of The Lenny Zakim family has meant a great deal to LZF grantee One Can Help and the children and families they serve. “We so appreciate LZF’s support,” says Executive Director Anne Bader-Martin, who began the organization while working as a court-appointed juvenile attorney.
One day, in 2006, while sitting with a pregnant teenager in a fast-food restaurant and listening to her describe her hopes for her baby and her fear that she could not afford a stroller, a man tapped Anne on the shoulder and handed her a check. “Get her the stroller,” he said, and walked away. “We all started to cry,” Anne says. At that moment, Anne realized that people would help if they understood the need. So she sought out colleagues and friends and founded One Can Help. Since then, One Can Help has provided resources to thousands of children and families in the juvenile court care system, who otherwise would have to do without.
“We provide the means to children and families trying to improve their lives and reach higher,” Anne says. “Court is a great catalyst for change, but only if there are sufficient resources to support the process.” More than 80% of the children and families in the juvenile court system live in poverty, and many don’t have the basics most of us take for granted: stable homes, sufficient food, consistent heating, school supplies, clothing, or supervised after-school activities.
“What makes our organization unique,” Anne says, “is that we provide critical resources to all children in juvenile court, as well as their parents, because we know that assistance may even prevent the need for foster care, which is traumatic for kids.” Using an innovative approach, One Can Help collaborates directly with a child’s attorney or DCF social worker. This efficient partnership results in applicants getting help in one to three days, with minimal staffing costs.
“Can you imagine treating patients in a hospital without medicine? That is what it feels like in court, when no resources are available,” Anne says. “It’s like the quote from Lenny himself, which makes us feel like LZF truly understands what we’re doing… to make(ing) vulnerable people’s lives better-people who have the will, but lack the means. Lenny’s goal was to provide the means. That’s the goal we share with him every day.”