WAUSAU — Keep Area Teens Safe (KATS) held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, June 15 to celebrate the official opening of Hillcrest House at 1115 Hillcrest Avenue.

KATS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) youth shelter care facility serving runaway and homeless youth as a bridge to services for kids in unstable situations in Marathon County.  The organization provides safe and secure housing, meals, case management including connection to mentorship and academic support, and other community services for youth ages 12 to 17 in central Wisconsin.

KATS provides a transitional home called Hillcrest House for up to eight teens at any given time who have encountered homelessness. Hillcrest House will serve as a safe haven for these teens while the KATS outreach staff work to secure a long term, safe living environment for each youth. The house is located on a bus line near a park and a church in a welcoming neighborhood near the highway allowing easy access for the youth served.

“We are working to break the cycle of sex trafficking, gang violence and drug addiction that our homeless teens are at risk for enduring.” said Dr. Mary Jo Freeman, President of KATS.

KATS works closely with law enforcement, social workers and high school liaisons to identify at-risk teens, while partnering with other agencies in the greater Wausau area to increase the pool of available foster care opportunities.

For more information on KATS, visit KATSInc.org or call 715-298-5053.