Success Stories

Here are stories of survival, dreaming big despite the odds, seeing the possibilities, and finding a home.

Ozone House has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of youth and their families in our community since 1969.

jessica

Seeing the Potential in “Broken” and “Lost” Youth

by Jessica

There are many times in a young person’s life when guidance is needed. Young adults are faced with difficult decisions every day that can shape the rest of their lives. Ozone House provided me with the guidance I needed. They were the light that helped me though the darkest times in my life.

OzoneHouse-Robin-Horz

A Blessing

by Robin N.

Being at the Ozone House for the first time, I did not know what to expect.  I have trust issues in new environments and that can make it difficult to get along with people.  But, when I got there, I felt relieved.  They did not treat me like an outsider.  As I got to know everybody, I began to feel comfortable and safe.

britney

Invisible

by Brittney B.

Invisible. That is the heart-wrenching reality of homeless children. Even strong community leaders fail to recognize the difference between a youth that has slept in a bed the previous night and one who has not. The kid you see carrying an iPhone in his hand or wearing the newest pair of Jays today may have begged for food off the streets yesterday. Invisible. Anyone could be completely oblivious to the situation an at-risk youth is facing.

martina


Finally Happy

by Martina P.

At 17, I was living with my former boyfriend and his family. I became pregnant while still in high school, trying to complete 12th grade. My former boyfriend didn’t like the idea of becoming a father at such a young age. He began showing hate towards me, which later turned into abuse. His stepdad (who is schizophrenic) put us out so often, we tried to find our own place. It wasn’t as easy as we thought. We lived in abandoned buildings, drug houses, and with different friends and family members. It was hard not having a stable place to lay my head. I missed a lot of school. I was in an abusive relationship. I was homeless. I was pregnant. I was going to fail the 12th grade. We eventually decided to move back in with his stepdad even though that meant dealing with his disorderly behavior. At least I could try to graduate on time since he lived by my school.

ashely


Against All Odds

Ashley’s story

Ashley, a former Miller House resident, started college last year at Western Michigan University “against all odds,” in the words of her Ozone House case manager, Larisa Galnares.

meghan


Dreaming of School in New York

Meghan’s Story

Meghan first visited Ozone House’s Youth Drop-In Center in Ypsilanti at 10 years old to get a hot meal with her older siblings. “The priority was always to get something to eat because we might not get something later on,” explains Meghan.

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Finding a Home

Cyn’s Story

Cyn is 19 and, because of Ozone House, she already has an impressive resume. Cyn provides information about Ozone House’s services and a positive example to kids on the street as a Peer Outreach Worker, helps organize Drop-In Center events as an Ozone Action Board member. She is also youth curator of 2nd VIEW, Ozone House’s gallery and weekly art workshop. “My life was negative. Ozone House helped me switch to positive,” Cyn says.


robin

Best Friends for Life

Robin’s Story

Robin came and sat on the steps of Miller House on July 6, 1995, 6 months pregnant and nowhere to go after she was kicked out of her house at 17 years old. Her parents told her that if she was old enough to have a child, then she was old enough to take care of herself, and off she went. Robin stayed at Ozone House’s Miller House for 3 months and learned about responsibility, time management and many other important life skills. At first she didn’t want to talk to anyone about what she was going through until she met a therapist named Misty. Once Robin opened up to Misty her life began to change.

Giving a voice to the voiceless

Ramone’s story

Ramone is a member of the SpeakOut team for Ozone House. As a senior in college, Ramone spent half the year homeless. When a member of Ozone House’s SpeakOut group heard his story, they knew he should connect with Ozone House. Now, as a member of SpeakOut, Ramone has shared his experience of homelessness with others and brought awareness to at-risk homeless youth. Ramone loves performing and feels like he is working with a group of all-stars who have come together for a common cause. While SpeakOut is a relatively small group, the young people who form it, make a big difference in our community. The members have met with state and local representatives, law enforcement, and provided a lens into what homeless youth experience on a regular basis. Ramone really appreciates that in SpeakOut they can use their voices to “speak for the voiceless.”

Originally from Flint, Ramone has always valued working within the community. While completing his Associate’s Degree at Mott Community College, Ramone helped mentor youth as part of his Honors Program. When not working with SpeakOut and Ozone House, Ramone continues to work towards his goals. In 2016 Ramone earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media from Eastern Michigan University. Every day, he tries to do little things that help him move him forward. He is often seeking out more opportunities to perform as it makes him feel completely comfortable and confident. As a member of the SpeakOut team, Ramone continues to engage the community and share his story as an advocate for youth. For an opportunity to see Ramone and his peers from SpeakOut perform and hear more of his story and others contact Ozone House at 734-662-2265.

Why did you come to Ozone House?

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Nate

Because “I had nowhere else to go. I had no support and I knew I needed help.” Nate saved over $2000, moved out of Ozone House into his own place, and is working full time.

Ashley

“My story is part of your community. I grew up with parents who were addicts and abusive. I found myself homeless at 15. Ozone House saved my life. I have a career now because of Ozone House’s safe, reliable support, and always being there like a family should be…like a community should be.” Ashley is now a Welding Engineer. She travels around the country to encourage other women to enter the field. Ashley serves on Ozone House’s Board of Directors.

Michael

Michael came to Ozone House when he was suicidal. His parents kicked him out of the home for being gay. After working with an Ozone House Family Therapist, Michael and his family safely reunited, and he is excelling in school and sports.

Jamie

At 17, Jamie called Ozone House seeking a safe refuge. After a stay in Miller House, our transitional living home, she saved over $1000 and went to college. Now married and living in a home she owns, Jamie is a professional who helps other kids succeed.

Tim

At 18, Tim participated in WorkZone, our intensive employment training and internship program for youth. After graduating from WorkZone, Tim put his customer service skills to use at McDonald’s, where he has worked for several years.

Paris

“The saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, comes to mind when I think about how I was affected by others at Ozone House. They bring people into a place where there are many others that can enrich their lives. Being a part of Ozone House gave me a community outside of just my family.” Paris, Former Ozone House client. Paris is an illustrator and poet, as well as a father and husband. As a youth, he was an Ozone House client and Peer Outreach Worker.

Allison

“Ozone House helped me to have a stable and caring environment in Safe Stay. Now I come to therapy every week to talk about any problems I’m having.” Allison is a college student.

Matthew

In 1991 I was homeless. I was a high school dropout. I was angry at the world. Ozone House gave me a safe place to collect myself, get counseling, and hold down a steady job. They gave me compassion when I needed it most. Since then, I have gone back to school, followed a dream, established a prominent career and I am starting a family. This would have been a very different story had it not been for the support I received in that very crucial time. Now I mentor others who need help.

Anonymous
I was a 14 year-old runaway with a backpack from Cleveland in 1974, sleeping in the Arboretum in Ann Arbor at night and panhandling by day at the Diag at U of Michigan. I got a hold of a pamphlet for Ozone House. I found the place and met some people who would listen to me. And, they helped me. I had shelter! The interview and subsequent counseling helped. Eventually, I saw wisdom in contacting my parents. Ozone House helped me get on a bus home
My life didn’t turn out perfectly. In the next 42 years, I was married for 30 and my 4 grown sons live stable and fruitful lives. Two grandsons were born in the last 9 months! Ozone House protected the life that I had barely started to live. Thank you, Ozone House!

Natasha
In 2009 I reached out to Ozone House because I was a homeless teen. I ultimately got into the Miller House program and you guys helped me get my GED, ENROLL IN COSMETOLOGY, AS WELL AS GET AN APARTMENT. Now I have my Cosmetology licence and have had my salon for 7 years now. I am forever grateful for all that Ozone House has done to guide me in the right direction.

Anonymous
At such a young age, unless someone tells you, it is unlikely for one to even know that their living situation is abnormal.  Such was the case for me.  I had grown accustomed to the frequent moving and also to the absence of supportive adults in my daily life that had any interest in my social or mental wellness.   From this resulted generally low confidence, low value of self, and also a general mistrust of adults.  In my opinion, these factors in adolescent years almost always manifest themselves as very serious realities later in the young adult stage of life.  For these reasons, I consider myself very lucky to have known the Ozone House Drop-in Center when I was between 10 and 14 years old.  To me, the space was this incredible supportive environment that I couldn’t believe existed so close and so accessible to me in the area.  In many ways, I did not understand why the staff was so kind or how they had managed to remember me and things about me from visit to visit.  Being as I visited sometimes less frequently than others, this fact meant a great deal to me when I was in junior high.
Anonymous
“Ozone House helped me see that this is my life and I am the only one who can define it. They have been with me every step of the way. I’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs, but with their support, I have continued on my life’s journey.”

Ozone House gives young people opportunities they would otherwise not have access to.

Ozone House client August 6, 2016

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