It takes a village…Guest Blogger: Douglas Manigault, III

Guest Blogger General Blog, Ozone House Services

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African, specifically Igbo and Yoruba, proverb that has been widely used to describe the importance of a community’s role in a child’s growth and success. Well, there seems to be some truth behind this proverb, as evidenced by the support Ozone House has received to support its WorkZone Program. This year, we received our largest amount, in dollars, of support from corporate and community partners. Walmart Foundation, DTE Foundation, and General Motors Foundation collectively provided over $40,000 to support WorkZone, while the United Way of Washtenaw County and the Ypsilanti Area Community Fund (through Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation) pitched in an additional $30,000 for a grand total of $75,000. This support allows WorkZone’s programming and operations to function for this fiscal year (October 1, 2016-September 30, 2017). As mentioned in a previous blog by Ozone House Executive Director, Katie Doyle, in this time of political uncertainty, it is refreshing to know that corporate and community partners are committed to helping build stronger communities.

WorkZone is a workforce development program, at Ozone House, that is designed to increase employment opportunities for homeless youth in Washtenaw County. WorkZone provides an opportunity for resilient young people to develop skills and gain experience in a professional work environment in order to be more competitive for the job market. The program combines job skills training, job coaching, work experience through a 100-hour internship, and intensive one to one homeless case management to ensure youth are on a path to achieving their career goals. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, 50 youth participated in the program and have become productive members of society.

The majority of youth in WorkZone come from Ypsilanti, which is the county’s most economically distressed community. People under age 18 are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line as their peers in the state and nationally.

As a nonprofit organization, Ozone House relies on corporate and community support in many ways. Some of the most important ways are through donations, annual gifts, volunteerism, as well as community and foundation support, which currently make up the 60% of our funding that is not covered by federal grants we secure. The WorkZone Program has a few ways to utilize volunteer and business support:

  • Resume review
  • Interview help
  • Host an intern at your company/organization
  • Participate in a career panel at our Ypsilanti Drop-In Center

What a great time to consider giving to Ozone House to help youth get from crisis and poverty to thriving members of OUR community.

Douglas Manigault, III is Ozone House’s Program Evaluation and Grants Director.  Douglas earned a Master in Social Work degree from the University of Michigan.

You can see Douglas in our newest video here: