GameAbove announces critical funding to support Ozone House

$500,000 to pay for social worker, new home to aid homeless & at-risk youth 

Game Above logoYPSILANTI (Dec. 11, 2019) – GameAbove, a group of dedicated Eastern Michigan University alumni with various academic and professional backgrounds, today announced $500,000 in grants to support Ozone House to help them complete its new facility as part of their ongoing mission to help youth in crisis, as well as fund a much-needed Social Worker position that will provide case support for EMU students and the local community. 

GameAbove decided to provide $250,000 to fund a social worker position for multiple years after learning this position needed funding. The social worker will collaborate with Engage@EMU, EMU’s front door to fostering and shaping mutually beneficial community and University partnerships. Uniquely, this social worker will benefit both EMU students and the community, in partnership with Ozone House.

The other $250,000 will go toward Ozone House’s capital campaign for the new shelter and housing program with wraparound services scheduled to open in early 2020. Ozone House, established in 1969, is a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy, and productive lives through intensive intervention and prevention services. There are approximately 1,300 homeless youth living in Washtenaw County every year.

“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,” said Denis Wolcott, spokesperson for GameAbove. “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.” 

Homelessness for youth means more than the absence of a safe place to sleep, enough food to eat or shelter from the cold. It means a lack of safe, stable relationships and vulnerability to dangers such as physical assault, sexual assault, or human trafficking, said Kristy Girty, Ozone House Executive Director. Ozone House helps young people in Washtenaw County, ages 10- 24, develop healthy relationships, as well as shelter them from the cold and dangers of being homeless.

“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. “We are very, very appreciative of GameAbove’s recognition of our success and for their support and trust in us.”

The grants supporting Ozone House continues GameAbove’s commitment to building better lives for the adults of tomorrow. Previously announced gifts of $3.5 million to EMU include the “GameAbove, Faculty First” initiative to support faculty development and the “Student Matters Most” grant to assist the academic and program needs of current and future students. The student initiatve focuses on providing financial resources for learning clubs, intramural sports, student government and student organization priorities, as well as solutions for student homelessness and housing insecurity, among other near-term needs. 

“Securing funding from GameAbove for university programs, facilities and efforts is much welcomed. Establishing a social worker position through Engage, and supporting an organization like Ozone House are a clear indication we have a special group of alumni who are committed to enriching both our institution and the community we serve,” said EMU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Rhonda Longworth.


About The GameAbove

At The GameAbove, our primary focus is to help shape, inspire and support the current and future students of Eastern Michigan University by reaching new heights in learning through transformation and inspiration in the educational experience. Together, we will strive for that next level of success with a GameAbove all others. The GameAbove family of organizations will also help improve the higher education experience by exploring and supporting the use of innovative financial models to sustain universities, creative giving within the community, enhancing the campus environment, elevating athletics and promoting pioneering academic programs.

About Ozone House

Ozone House is a community-based organization that offers young people, who are in crisis, facing homelessness or housing instability, a safe space. We help youth lead safe, healthy, and productive lives through intervention and prevention services, and programming that meets the needs of youth seeking supports. Services include 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter for minors, counseling, drop-in center, transitional housing, job training, leadership opportunities, LGBTQ+ services, college support, school support K-12, and substance use screening, support and education. Ozone House has been in the community since 1969.

About Engage@EMU

Engage@EMU is Eastern Michigan University's primary entry way to navigating and cultivating collaboration and partnerships between the University and business and community entities. Current social service programs and collaborations include: EMU Family Empowerment Program, the Ypsilanti Housing Commission’s Supportive Services program; The Collaborative:  Ypsilanti YMCA Child Development Center, The Legal Resource Center and education programs such as EMU Bright Futures and Upward Bound. 



Media contactfor The GameAbove:

Denis Wolcott, 213-200-1563,

December 11, 2019

Written by:
Denis Wolcott