As juvenile court-appointed attorneys, we have all seen many children and families struggling to pull themselves up and out of “the System.” So often, the odds seemed stacked against our clients—no bus fare to get to weekly therapy appointments; no beds for those who are sleeping on the floor; no phone for a job search; no security deposit to secure an apartment, even though they’ve found a job; not enough money to pay for activities, so their teens won’t hang out on the street.
In 2005, one of our founding members, Anne Bader-Martin, sat with a teenage client in a fast food restaurant after reviewing her case. Fifteen and pregnant, the girl spoke insistently about how she needed a particular stroller for her soon-to-be-born baby, but could not afford it. As they were finishing their meal, a man tapped Anne on the shoulder and handed her a blank check for $175. “Get her the stroller,” he said, and walked away.
At that moment, Anne realized that people would help if they understood the need. She immediately sought out like-minded colleagues and friends, and founded One Can Help as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2006.
Since then, One Can Help has reached thousands of at-risk children and families. “We’re not miracle workers,” says Anne. “But we can help those clients who are trying really hard to improve themselves, but who just don’t have the means.
“Failing to provide help to poor children and families who are in court because of behavioral concerns stemming from difficult social circumstances is a bit like trying to run a restaurant without food or a hospital without medicine. Court is a great catalyst for change, but only if there are sufficient resources to support the process.”