Founder/President & CEO
Born February 13, 1983, three months premature, Jacob Zalewski was given a 3% chance of survival due to various complications at birth. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of three, but the onset came at birth.
“I have always said that if I was ever in a position to do some good in this wonderful world, I would do so without hesitating. I think we were all put here for a reason, and that absolutely everything happens for a reason. I am so very passionate about this foundation. I see its potential, not just for this year, but for the future as well. If all goes well, God willing, sooner rather than later Cerebral Palsy will be a thing of the past.”
Mr. Zalewski has never considered himself handicapped by this debilitating disease. Rather, he has considered it a blessing, looking at it as something God has entrusted him to use positively to inspire others
Stacy Fuson Paul
Director Of Special Initiatives
Stacy Fuson Paul is a model, actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She appeared in movies and television shows like Modern Family, Entourage, Iron Man 2, and Shallow Hal. Her modeling resume is even more impressive including four magazine covers, over twenty different publications such as Maxim, Shape, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Fitness, and successfully noted as the St. Pauli Girl. Stacy started her first business at the age of 28, a successful vitamin company, Vitamins by Stacy. During that time, Stacy went back to school and received her bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. Stacy has been a part of the One Step Closer Foundation family since the beginning. Stacy met Jacob in 2007 when she was playing poker on Sam Simons Celebrity TV Show. She was instantly drawn to Jacob for his incredible heart of wanting to help others and his positive attitude towards life. Jacob had a profound effect on Stacy and she was eager to help Jacob and The One Step Closer Foundation find a cure for Cerebral Palsy. In fact, Stacy was so inspired by Jacob that in 2017 she started the “Stacy Fuson Foundation”, a nonprofit organization offering financial support to people with disabilities. Stacy currently lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and 3 daughters, and is currently working on getting her master’s degree in Health Psychology and running her charitable foundation.
Jacqueline began her career as a Casino Marketing Executive in 2007 at the Bellagio Resort Casino and she is currently the Vice President of Player Development in Casino Marketing.
Jacqueline, a Las Vegas native, graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Mass Communications.
Jacqueline met Jacob in 2006 at the World Series of Poker while home on summer break from college. As Jacob started to develop the One Step Closer Foundation, he inspired Jacqueline to get involved. She became enthusiastic, she embraced his passion and his drive to help improve the advancements and treatments that can tremendously assist a person with Cerebral Palsy & various disabilities. She felt she could help make a difference by tapping into her casino connections and help raise funds for his foundation. Jacob asked Jacqueline to sit on the board of OSCF and she has been an active member for 14 years. Jacqueline believes it’s important to promote awareness and expand research studies in order to make a difference to those who are suffering from Cerebral Palsy. Needless to say, her favorite event is ‘All in for CP’ which usually takes place in Las Vegas.
Jacqueline is an avid golfer, Kansas Jayhawk and Golden Knights fan who enjoys family time with her husband and their two young sons, Preston and Lincoln.
Graduated from the University of Houston in 2008 with a degree in Media Production/ Communications.
She met Jacob through a professor who taught at The University. When she heard about the foundation and the impact it was making on those most vulnerable, she was more than happy to volunteer to help further the orgs mission.
Although Alyssa currently work in the corporate world in cash management services, she considers it a privilege to assist in anyway that she can. As the Event Coordinator since 2016, She’s been witness to the dedication and heart that Jacob Zalewski has for this foundation. Jacob’s passion and goal to ease the lives of those who suffer from cerebral palsy drives him to work around the clock organizing, planning, and spreading awareness about the difficulties of Cerebral palsy and those living with disabilities.
Her favorite thing about being part of the organization is being able to see first hand the joy that the foundation brings to the families and how grateful they are for events, programs, and impacts that are offered to them because of the supporters and donations made to the One Step Closer Foundation. ‘I am encouraged that the foundation will continue to grow and aid many more suffering families and one day find a cure for Cerebral Palsy’.
In 2010, Jason Diaz started his journey with 1SCF as a volunteer, meeting Jacob and becoming the foundations official Photographer. After documenting multiple events at Shriner’s and Texas Children’s Hospitals he became more aware of how many children were in need and how the foundation touched their lives, he told himself had to get more involved. Jason and Jacob became close friends and decided to unite both of their personal connections and professional skills to grow the organization to where it is today. Studying Computer Science and Phycology at The University of Houston, Jason Diaz began his career as a Systems Engineer with multiple Fortune 500 companies; ultimately becoming directly involved in the tech industry. He acquired many leadership and operational skills that are valuable today. In addition to his passion for growing the foundation and supporting its causes; Mr. Diaz regularly uses motivational and inspirational techniques to work directly with each person that we help on a day-to-day basis. His passion and dedication to furthering the goals of the foundation is paramount.
Director of Social Media
Jose Leiva, was born and raised in Houston, TX. He is an export coordinator with finance, management and photography experience. From a young age, he was involved with community involvement such as working at the Houston Food Bank, March of Dimes and later financial and hiring educating at the Star of Hope.
Jose always looks for ways to give back to those in need and stay involved in the community.
His involvement and passion for the One Step Closer Foundation is personal and important. As it is driven by having seen his mother and his special needs sister be in need and get help from organizations and how even that small gesture always went a long way.
“It is my belief, when we selflessly work together, a small gesture goes a long way to accomplish much and make an impact on the lives of others.”
Yvonne Mouton graduated summa cum laude from the University of Houston-Victoria with a degree in communication in 2022. She was in the real estate industry for many years before beginning a career in the mortgage industry. She is planning to obtain a master’s degree in behavior analysis and work with children who have autism and other developmental disorders. Yvonne met Jacob at an event in Los Angeles in 2012 and they became instant friends and have always remained in contact. The mission behind the One Step Closer Foundation is what drew Yvonne in and inspired her to want to be part of something bigger and more fulfilling. She believes that the ultimate reward is having the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life and that is what The One Step Closer Foundation is all about. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, working out, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Business & BAAS in Radiology from Lone Star Montgomery College
Laura Gimenez works full-time in the Oil and Gas field as a project accountant. She has always had a passion for charities, doing all she can to dedicate her time to give back. Laura has worked closely and has been involved in leadership with non-profit organizations for 10 years. She officially joined the One Step Closer Foundation back in 2017 after attending an event in Houston at Texas Children’s Hospital. “I immediately knew I was meant to be part of this organization. The close interaction with the kids and the way this foundation gives back to those who need it most stole my heart”.
In her free time, Laura enjoys traveling to new places and spending time with her dog, “Hope”.
Nafisé Nina Hodjat
Nafisé Nina Hodjat, Esq. has served as corporate counsel for the One Step Closer Foundation since 2018. Ms. Hodjat’s extensive background in various areas of law, including civil litigation, business law and constitutional defense, makes her a natural fit for the organization. Ms. Hodjat is licensed to practice law in California, Illinois and New York, in addition to several federal jurisdictions. Ms. Hodjat trains trial lawyers for the Gerry Spence Method, and has been quoted for her business and legal expertise in Forbes.com, CNBC, and other publications worldwide.
In addition to handling business and legal affairs for the foundation, Ms. Hodjat enjoys volunteering at events serving patients and their families. “I love furthering our mission to ‘bring smiles’ to children and families affected by cerebral palsy nationwide. Spending time with and getting to know the personal stories of individuals our foundation serves and how we can make a difference in their lives is a great joy and blessing in my life.”
Mason Lerner is a co-founder of the One Step Closer foundation. Mason first met Jacob when he was 16 years-old and Jacob was nine. They quickly became close friends and over the years they developed a big brother/little brother relationship.
In the foundation’s nascent stages, Mason was instrumental in planning its first successful events. He has been there every step of the way ever since.
Mason is a Houston, TX based writer and journalist. He is passionate about inclusion and the foundation’s mission to help people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities reach their full potential.