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Family creates nonprofit to help others overcome hardships

Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 17:58:50-05

CLEVELAND — A family is hoping to help others overcome tragedy and hardships.

John Dijulius and his children suffered a tragic loss when the matriarch of their family was killed in 2009. They had the support and resources to get through it, but realized other families do not.

"I always knew my dreams were possible, and that's because of my parents and my community. But there are people who don't hear those four, 'I believe in you' words," Dijulis said.

Dijulius decided to create a nonprofit called "Believe in Dreams."

They fulfill the dreams of economically disadvantaged youth, who have survived life-changing trauma.

The team works tirelessly to instill hope in the hearts of children and to buffer the impact of the challenges they face.

"And so while tragedy doesn't discriminate, we all experience these hardships. Overcoming one really does," Dijulius said.

Marquitta Jackson, a single mother of four, was struggling to give her children the best life possible, but then her son's guidance counselor nominated them for a dream experience.

"I was excited because I never heard of Believe in Dreams," Jackson said.

They gifted her daughter a bedroom makeover with her very own pet fish.

The family was also gifted water park tickets, clothes and toys.

"It made me feel like, someone believed in me. Like don't give up, keep going, there's always somebody out there who believes in you," Jackson said.

To learn more about the nonprofit, click here.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.