Help change the world through One Can Help

Issue April 2014 By Joshua Crawford

It's been said that it's impossible for one person to change the world, but even if that's true, one can help.

In 2005, while sitting at a Dunkin Donuts with a "very pregnant" teenage client, attorney Anne Bader-Martin found herself discussing the pregnancy. Her client knew she wanted to keep the child and what she wanted most was a stroller, but she knew she couldn't afford one. After a few minutes of conversation, another patron at the donut shop handed attorney Bader-Martin and her client a blank check for $175.

This event, coupled with what she saw every day in court led Bader-Martin and a group of attorneys to form the nonprofit organization One Can Help.

Their mission statement is simple: "… to encourage low-income, high-risk children and parents involved in the juvenile court system to get the help they need to make positive changes when no other funds are available from state agencies." And that's exactly what they do.

"Our system allows us to use programs and individuals already in existence so we have very little overhead," said Bader-Martin. "Our goal is to make sure that people who would be able to succeed but face a financial constraint aren't held back by that."

Currently serving exclusively Middlesex County, One Can Help has helped families involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the courts with everything from bus passes to domestic violence counseling. Bader-Martin stressed: "What we're able to do is individualize the grants we give. We don't give everybody gloves or everybody this and that, when someone applies they say what they need, it's vetted, and that specific need is met."

The use of existing court personnel, attorneys and social workers allows for 100 percent of donated funds to go directly to the services rendered by the organization, and they're looking to expand.

Bader-Martin said she's constantly getting inquiries and requests from other counties but as of yet doesn't have the resources to step in. They're also looking to form a legal advisory committee, something MBA members may be interested in.

For more information about One Can Help, visit www.onecanhelp.org or call attorney Bader-Martin at (617) 930-3468.