Just 1 at a Time


at a time
Just 1 at a Time

One Story at a Time

We have been deeply impacted by the news of the suffering caused by the refugee and migrant crises on our Southern borders, regardless of the politics and practicalities involved.

To provide their children with a better life, many of our own ancestors, including our parents and grandparents, fled violence and unlivable conditions to come to this nation as refugees. Similarly, in the border cities of Tecate and Tijuana, many migrants come from other areas of Mexico, fleeing violence and danger in search of a better life.

Many of the people we assist are not only migrants but also individuals caught in poverty cycles; ending these cycles is central to One Story’s mission. Reduced employment, the post-COVID health care crisis, food insecurity, and a lack of access to essential resources like clean water, food, and basic medical care all contribute to a never-ending cycle of poverty. These compounding issues make it impossible for hardworking people to break free from this loop and succeed in life.

Our compassion stems not only from our own histories but also springs from our natural deep wells of love for all of our sisters and brothers. We hear their stories and feel called to action.

To help impoverished individuals out of this loop, it is essential that we provide information, motivation, and useful assistance, such as education, access to inspirational programs of music and art, and healthy food and medical attention. After five years of operating in Mexico, we are so pleased with the changes we have made. To learn more about our incredible efforts, please read our individual stories. We also invite you to learn more about the Helping the Helpers Program.

Rebuilding Lives

Through our support of our flagship programs — The Individual Stories, Helping the Helpers — we stand behind visionary volunteers and their migrant/refugee community in building new lives, away from the trauma and violence they fled.

By learning new skills, and offering the gifts of music and art, they can sustain their families and create a sense of meaning and purpose that leads to healing and resilience.

We know that the only thing that separates us from the fate of those sleeping tonight in crowded shelters or in ICE detention camps, cold and afraid, is the simple circumstance of our birth. We do not know how to solve the big picture, but we feel the urgent call to do what we can for those needing our hand. It is easy to become overwhelmed in the face of so much suffering, and we realize that the best way to help is one story at a time.

Gala Event

Stay tuned for news of our upcoming Gala Event!

Join co-founder & folk singer extraordinaire Peter Yarrow, joined by Grammy-nominated singer & songwriter Mary Gauthier.

Click HERE to enjoy last year’s presentation.

And please contribute.

The Year in Review: 2023

An Example of What We Do

These three. Their mother died. Their father, a laborer in Tijuana, works as many jobs as he can to provide for them. Their 12-year-old sister gave up her dream of school to care for them.

One Story at a Time recently found an exceptionally generous helper who is going to sponsor this beautiful family. They will help provide daycare and childcare for the triplets, school for the older girl who takes such impeccable care of her little sisters, and relief for the brave dad, who has been so steadfast and loyal to his family.

It’s a good news day in a crazy world. Please help us help those at the border.

With gratitude, Linda Carroll, Co-Founder

Orquesta Guadalupana

Follow Orquesta Guadalupana on Facebook. Click HERE.

The Perla Monroy Family in Oregon

We are thrilled, relieved, and humbled: after months of following their plight and supporting their efforts to reach safety, the five members of Perla Monroy family crossed the border and have lived in Corvallis, Oregon for more than a year! An extra boost of confidence allows us, with permission, to now use their real family name.

Read our profile of them (HERE), Aimee Ginsburg Bikel’s essay, where you’ll see them as the “Portillo” family (HERE), and Fernanda Echavarri’s diary in Mother Jones magazine of the Perla family’s experiences that are both poignant and filled with hope:

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Why Us?

Your understanding and your support of these thousands of people on the border— caught between the lives they fled and the lives they seek — will help in direct, positive, and immediate ways.

We see the remarkable effects of your contributions. Your $10 provides a month of vitamins, your $20 those five new blankets, your $90 a new violin for a child to join an orchestra, your $200 a family’s opportunity to move from the streets into a safe community.

Know that our board members are not armchair fundraisers. Collectively, we are in border communities the entire year. And we take absolutely no salaries for our work.

The situation is extreme and often overwhelming. That’s why we choose to affect change with one pair of shoes, one medical exam, one scholarship, one teacher’s salary, one person, one story at a time.

Our goal is solidarity, not charity. The results? Time and again, as we continue to experience: your support is a way for us — migrant and donor alike — to reconnect with our own dignity.

In Gratitude: Rancho La Puerta

The Ranch is known for its magical connections, and we are living proof of how this works.

One Story board member Jill Thiry started “Sonidos de Sanacion,” a threshold choir in Tecate. Says Jill: “Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely (President of Rancho La Puerta) recruited Maria Lourdes (Lulu) and Hermana Esperanza to sing with her. When a guest at the Ranch told Jill that Peter Yarrow wanted to sing at the border, she was able to reach out to Lulu. Within days the first concert had been scheduled, and rest is history. That was the night One Story at a Time was born.”

Rancho La Puerta Has . . .

• Donated food for the shelters from its organic garden, Tres Estrellas, during the pandemic.

• Given us gift certificates for day- and week-long stays to auction in order to raise money.

• Designed and donated a beautiful casita to assure safe housing for one of our helpers, Ron Wakefield.

• Sarah Livia has generously shared her vast knowledge about nonprofits with us.

Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely, along with her mother Deborah Szekely, founder of The Ranch, and so many of the Ranch staff continue to help us so generously with donations, encouragement, and letting others know about our work.

We stand with great gratitude for their generosity and blessing.

Just One Donation at a Time

Your support makes a world of difference.
Please join us.

Some of the ways we're changing lives, together:

Shelter, Food & Clothing

Your contributions have helped us in . . .


bunk beds in shelters.


prepaid Visa cards for food and hygiene supplies for safe houses.


boxes of clothes, blankets, and healthy snacks for people living in the depths of poverty.

Inspiration, Aspiration & The Arts

We support people by teaching music, art, and literacy to the impoverished as a way to feed both inspiration and hope. Many of the people we serve have suffered major trauma, abuse, and loss, and we believe the arts offer one way to help them cope. We have sent art supplies to safe houses for children, and one of our new stories includes helping support the remarkable work of musician Ron Wakefield.


music, art, and literacy.


to cope with trauma, abuse, and loss.


art supplies to safe houses for children.

Education & Job Training

Although primary school is free, the fees for school supplies, uniforms, and transportation often add up to the equivalent of a family’s entire monthly salary. We supplement families that cannot afford to send their children to school. Another initiative is to teach women rescued from violent and hopeless situations to care for themselves with a new vocation. Your donations have purchased new sewing machines. With contributions to this long-term investment, many women will now have a new vocation they can use while transitioning from their previous lives.


abused women care for themselves with a new vocation.


long-term investments to assist woman transitioning from their previous lives.


families who cannot afford to send their children to school.

Look at These Faces!

We often hear so much about the overwhelming stories of terror and loss regarding the migrants’ plight.

Today, we want to offer you a moment to feel the possibility of hope, resilience, and even joy.

Because of the generosity of so many of you we were able to deliver hundreds of backpacks to kids in Tijuana. Deon and Eric Merten from Corvallis are spearheading the Backpacks at the Border project.

Let’s keep it going.

Thank you so much. Please take a moment to enjoy these beautiful faces.

Backpacks at the Border

We have an urgent need to help a particularly large number of kids, ages 1 to 18, who are arriving in large numbers at the border. They are receiving food but only have the clothes on their backs. Many have arrived from detention containers in the U.S.

We were able to deliver 250 backpacks to the Center for Unaccompanied Children in Juarez, Mexico, and many more to shelters in Tijuana. Urgently, we need more: we are collecting backpacks and items to place in them to help during this uncertain time.

Click HERE for our list of recommended items.

If you, your family, church, friends, or school would like to help or support this project, please connect with Linda…

Emergency Relief

With the help of our local “eyes and ears” ⏤ especially our beloved Lulu, who works full time with our foundation and her vast network of other people in the Borderlands ⏤ we identify families and individuals with pressing needs, and we mobilize to find a quick solution.

Bus tickets, medical care, scholarship money, legal aid, blankets, enrollment fees, and roof repair, along with food, clothing, and medication for the refugee shelters in Tijuana: all make an immediate, tangible difference in the lives of those who once lived in dignity and are now struggling to survive.

Your gift matters.

Discover how you can help change

One Child. One Woman. One Man.
One Family. One Hope. One Life.
One Story at a Time.

Some of the ways your donation helps change lives:


equals new shoes or five blankets.


equals a scholarship for a child to go to school for a month, transportation, supplies and food.


equals rent for a family to move from streets or shelter into a safer structure or 1-room house in a small community.


equals salary for a teacher for three weeks at the shelter.