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EMU alumni group donates $500K to Ozone House

Funds to pay for new home, social worker, aid to homeless and at-risk youth

Rendering of Ozone House's new facility at 1600 Huron River Drive in Ypsilanti. (Courtesy: Ozone House)
Rendering of Ozone House's new facility at 1600 Huron River Drive in Ypsilanti. (Courtesy: Ozone House)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – A group of Eastern Michigan University alumni known as GameAbove announced Wednesday its gift of $500,000 to local nonprofit Ozone House for youth in crisis.

In early November, the group donated $3.5 million to its alma mater to support faculty and students, and now its philanthropic efforts are expanding into the local community.

Ozone House is in the process of completing its new shelter in Ypsilanti for homeless and at-risk youth in Washtenaw County. GameAbove announced that $250,000 will go toward the organization’s capital campaign for the new facility, which is set to open in 2020.

After learning the social worker position was in need of funding, GameAbove committed the other $250,000 to fund the position for several years. The social worker will work in collaboration with Engage@EMU, the school’s community partnership program.

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Established in 1969, Ozone House helps local youth by providing in-depth intervention and prevention services and, in urgent cases, emergency shelter. Each year, approximately 1,300 youth in Washtenaw County experience homelessness.

“GameAbove recognizes the importance of ongoing support, intervention and assistance being provided to hundreds of young people in the greater Ypsilanti area and at EMU in order to help them onto the path of safety, stability and productive lives,” Denis Wolcott, spokesperson for GameAbove said in a statement.

“Providing construction funding for Ozone House and providing a clinical social worker to EMU are fundamental to this purpose. These resources will help many individuals, some of whom could include Eastern Michigan University students as well as youth who dream of going to college or additional education.”

Youth who experience homelessness are at higher risk for experiencing physical and sexual assault and human trafficking, according to Ozone House Executive Director Kristy Girty. Ozone House helps youth ages 10 to 24 in Washtenaw County by sheltering them and helping them develop healthy relationships.

“As we prepare to open our new facility, ensuring we have qualified staff to engage and support the young people we serve is a continued step forward,” Girty said in a statement. “We are very, very appreciative of GameAbove’s recognition of our success and for their support and trust in us.”

To learn more about Ozone House, visit www.ozonehouse.org.

To learn more about GameAbove, visit www.gameabove.com.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.