As an OB-GYN, Dr. Patricia A. Ferguson's main directive is to help women, but she found that there was more to do beyond the walls of her office. Having worked at Detroit Community Health Connection, in what she calls an impoverished area, she witnessed first-hand the number of women trapped in a cycle of poverty. They didn't always have the information that would have made a difference – so she helped. This same purpose of providing resources and helping others along their path is what inspired her to found Each One Teach One back in 1999. The nonprofit targets fourth to 12th graders to ensure "all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, have access and exposure to resources and experiences that will enable their future success," the website states.
For the past three years, Ferguson, along with her supporters, have held an annual symposium in an effort to bring the resources directly to parents and children. This year's event will take place at the Michigan Science Center with TV One host Roland S. Martin as keynote speaker, and Fox 2's Huel Perkins serving as the emcee. The free event features breakout sessions designed to connect those parents and students with educational resources, serving as a de facto one-stop shop. "We take for granted common sense," Ferguson says. "We take for granted things that we know because of our background and experience – everybody doesn't have the benefits that we have."
Ferguson first honed in on this fact because she noticed not just the apparent disparities, but also the similarities all parents seemed to share, even across socioeconomic lines. "When I started my own family, I started to see issues in navigating through middle school and high school, (helping) them along their career path," she says. "I am a college graduate – a medical doctor – and I was still struggling trying to make the best opportunities for my kids. We all had the same needs." She adds although the organization has been around almost 20 years, "it's taken this long to muster a group of committed people." The Detroit native who graduated from Henry Ford High School, and later from Wayne State University's School of Medicine, understands the complexities students face when trying to find resources for college and other aids. "That's the purpose of Each One Teach One – if you find something out that helps you, turn around and help somebody else," she says.
Although Each One Teach One isn't a brick-and-mortar organization, nor an after-school program, its purpose is to be "the entity that connects the dots between all these programs that exist, and resources that exist, connecting the dots between them and parents and students who need these resources." In effect, Ferguson explains, they "bridge that gap." Ferguson currently works as a physician consultant in case management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Still, she's driven to help a wider range of people, approaching things holistically, you might say. "I think the most important thing I've learned is information is the most valuable commodity," she says. "If there's not a connection, it's not automatic. Most of us are in the middle. Those people who have talent, have potential, but just didn't get the memo on how to maximize utilization of those resources."
2018 Annual Prep for Success Educational Symposium
Michigan Science Center, 5020 John R, Detroit
8 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 10
For more information on Each One Teach One, visit iameachoneteachone.com.