One For One believes in the fundamental idea that one person, one choice, one step, one chance, one job, one day, one opportunity…can change a life. Our organization is about meeting the needs of the youth that we serve—providing opportunities and connections that have the potential to transform lives, one person at a time.
One For One was originally established in 2007 as the Ferrer Foundation, which focused on children of incarcerated parents. The organization has evolved its mission over the years to best serve youth living in Chicago communities where violence is prevalent.
At the heart of One For One is Founder and Executive Director Meghan Olson.
Ms. Olson’s impetus behind the foundation came out of personal difficulty. In 2006, her father was falsely accused of a crime in Puerto Rico and was temporarily incarcerated. While there, a priest named Father Miguel Ferrer provided guidance, kindness, compassion and faith to the Olson family at a time when they needed it most. Though Fr. Ferrer passed away shortly after knowing the Olson family, his impact was lasting. Ms. Olson founded the Ferrer Foundation as a way to honor Fr. Ferrer’s life, and that continues through the work being done within One For One.
A lifelong Chicagoan, Ms. Olson has been advocating for children her entire career. Early on, she worked with the Chicago Public Schools Office of Early Childhood Education in various capacities. Ms. Olson facilitated the Cradle to Classroom Program on the West Side of Chicago, where she served teen parents and their infants by providing prenatal, nutritional and educational services. In 2010, Ms. Olson partnered with the Community Renewal Society on a task force that successfully influenced state representatives to change a Department of Corrections policy in favor of children and families of the incarcerated. She has served on the Advisory Board for Passages Alternative Living Programs, a social service agency dedicated to family advocacy. She also served on the Women’s Committee led by Illinois Senator and Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, which planned community-based activities and wellness programs for women and children. Ms. Olson holds a B.A. in Child Development and Family Studies from Arizona State University.