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.
Seeing the Potential in “Broken” and “Lost” Youth
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.
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.
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.
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.
Against All Odds
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.
Dreaming of School in New York
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.
Finding a Home
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.
Best Friends for Life
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
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?