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Being part of Our House means you can feel safe to be who

you are. To know you’re able to trust and are surrounded

by peers and adults who care about your success.

It’s knowing there are people who can help you map out

your goals and navigate life’s challenges. It’s a

feeling that there’s someone to help celebrate

the highs and provide support during the lows.

It’s a community of people who care.

It’s OUR House.

Support for

Washtenaw County youth who are or have been in foster care


The mission of Our House, a Washtenaw County nonprofit, is to help young people (age 14-25) successfully transition from foster care to adulthood. Our vision is that they become successful, self-sufficient and can live independently with confidence.

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We're always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with the work we do. Become a mentor, help out with our monthly meetings, volunteer for a committee -- there are lots of ways to get involved

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Shelly, 20

Marcel, 16

Shelly is not your typical 20 year-old. Active and boisterous, her affect seemingly places her somewhere on the autism spectrum and/or fetal alcohol exposure, although the lack of medical records makes it difficult to confirm. Always ready with an obscure fact, she is the person you’d choose for trivia night. Unfortunately, Shelly’s adoptive dad felt unable to handle Shelly’s challenges and chose not to parent, leaving Shelly abandoned for the second time in her life at a critical time in her development. Shelly’s mom provided a loving home and did all she could for Shelly, but now it’s time for Shelly to move out on her own and become independent.


Challenges: Has not completed high school; needs a job, but has never worked; limited social connections; grooming and hygiene less than appropriate; trouble organizing herself and defining steps to achieve her goals.

Marcel entered foster care when his parents ‘left town’ and didn’t bother to tell him or his siblings where they were going. Taking on 4 young children wasn’t something his extended relatives were willing or able to do, so Marcel and his brothers and sister all went to different residential facilities – in some cases, a cross between an orphanage and a juvenile jail. Since Washtenaw County has no such facilities, the family had to leave behind not only their home, but also their school, friends and most of their belongings. Spread across the state, the kids rarely see each other and miss the bonds they used to share when they were a family. Marcel, the oldest, hopes to one day have a home to allow him to have his brothers and sister come live with him.


Challenges: Teens are less likely to be adopted or find a foster family and are more likely to ‘age out’ of foster care; unlikely to develop skills to help him succeed once he moves from the residential facility.

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[While the stories are real, the names, photos, and some details have been changed to protect the privacy of those we work with and care about.]

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