Health: Ozaukee Family Services
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Ozaukee Family Services

Health: Ozaukee Family Services

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For some, going to counseling for the first time can feel daunting. There are a lot of emotions that they are already feeling – scared, nervous, anxious, depressed – and adding the new facet of counseling to their lives can be a lot. Ozaukee Family Services welcomes these individuals, and everyone, without judgement. 

“It’s a place where people go for education and support during different times in their lives,” Lisa Holtebeck, Executive Director of Ozaukee Family Services said. 

Image of Woman in OfficeIt includes programs that help new parents, families navigating a life change such as divorce, mental health care, and programs that link volunteers to seniors who may need help and company outside their home. The broad scope of work at Ozaukee Family Services helps everyone at all stages of life, whether they need counseling or assistance.

Mental health help is a large part of the organization, and it’s the largest-growing service, especially for youth. With a waitlist of 22 people looking for mental health services, 20 of the names are kids and teens. 

“That transition of ‘I’m about to be an adult,’ that’s really scary,” explained Maddie, a counselor at Ozaukee Family Services. “There’s anxiety around that. There’s depression. We're also experiencing this overwhelming feeling that people are having of abandonment,” Maddie said of clients ranging from young children to older adults. “And trying to work through where that's coming from, whether that's past trauma or things going on in their life right now.”

Anyone can benefit from counseling at the organization. Clients include those seeking couples counseling, marriage or divorce counseling, grief counseling, and all ages that need someone to talk to including children, teens, adults, and seniors. 

Maddie, a counselor at Ozaukee Family Services“We see people go through some of the toughest, craziest things. By the end of it, or even the middle of it, you see how resilient people can be,” said Maddie.

“We know how hard it is to ask for help,” Lisa stated. “So, success can look small. It can be someone who came to counseling because they had to, and they didn’t talk for the first month. And slowly, maybe, they start opening up to their counselor.”

Success is also seeing a smiling senior who has someone to go for a walk with or help them at the store. Ozaukee Family Services pairs volunteers with seniors who don’t necessarily need counseling, but rather, a friend. Their concern for the well-being of all individuals is palpable among the staff and in the happy faces of clients who have been helped.

Lisa credits the organization’s success to the entire staff’s warm and welcoming presence. At Ozaukee Family Services, even the most reluctant client finds support, whenever they're ready.


When you give to United Way, you're not just making a donation. You're changing a life. The clients, volunteers, and staff at Ozaukee Family Services remind us that to live better, we must Live United.