WRITER | NICOLETTE CHAMBERY
PHOTOS | EACH ONE TEACH ONE
A Testament to Resilience and the Power of Community
How does an OB-GYN manage a successful career while also starting a nonprofit that she nurtures for 20 years as it gains traction?
Back in the early ‘90s, Dr. Patricia Ferguson was on bedrest with her own pregnancy when she started thinking of ways to empower women she encountered at work who were trapped in a cycle of poverty. She had the idea to start a mentoring program that would provide childcare and transportation so that single mothers could apply for work, get to appointments, and hold a job. She founded her organization, Each One Teach One, in 1999 so that these women could enhance the quality and stability of their own and their children’s lives.
The organization’s mission statement clearly outlines its ambitious aspirations, which it has slowly but successfully achieved. “Our ultimate goal is to see empowered youth soar in their educational, behavioral, and societal endeavors, transforming our communities from the inside out,” said Ferguson.
In the beginning, Ferguson received pushback from other members in the community who were skeptical of how her program could be more successful than larger established organizations like United Way. Ferguson understood that such organizations, despite ample funding, may have difficulty connecting with their target demographics and was not discouraged. She continued to develop small workshops and forums to educate parents about the resources available to them.
Starting in 2015, Ferguson invited various organizations that teach life skills (such as financial planning) and soft skills (such as effective communication and time management) to gather under the same roof. This has become an annual event, with prominent members of the community leading these important discussions.
As Ferguson has become immersed in the needs of her community, her own understanding has also grown, and that presents its own challenges. “It’s been hard to pick just one area and develop content and resources that address it. In the beginning, we quickly realized that we tried to take on too much at one time. We had to slowly work toward overcoming negative assumptions people made about our budding program and not let others’ historical failures dictate what we were capable of.”
As with any good organization, Each One Teach One works to incorporate lessons that the previous year has taught. Ferguson has been intentional about narrowing her scope of focus and maximizing what the organization can offer those in need of specific support.
“This year, our key emphasis was engaging. We’ve invested in a number of local events, and the turnout has been encouraging. We held a Black Panther movie premiere event that sold out. The interest is there, and we have continued to facilitate the opportunity.”
As she’s juggled two important careers while also serving as a medical advisor, Ferguson’s organization is a testament to her dedication to not only continue growing herself but to use her strengths to benefit her community at large.
Her patience in fostering the impact of her organization is admirable; it is also a salient example of what building community looks like. The time required for such an evolution can be daunting when adequate funding wanes and institutional support is skeptical, but Ferguson is championing a worthy cause that has gained in momentum and increasingly changes lives in Southeast Michigan.
Each One Teach One
3596 W. Maple Road, #103
Bloomfield Hills MI 48301