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U.S. Marshals honoring local nonprofit for helping children, law enforcement

Believe in Dreams to be honored with national award
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 18:38:04-05

CLEVELAND — Katie Eichenauer is in the business of making dreams a reality for children.

She is the executive director of Believe in Dreams, a nonprofit youth empowerment organization that gives dream experiences to kids who have had nonmedical trauma and live in poverty.

“It can be anything from domestic violence history in their family or abuse or neglect, extreme poverty. The majority of our kids are living in households that are making less than $20,000 a year, an incarcerated parent, a parent with an illness,“ Eichenauer said.

The organization started in 2014, and since then it has helped more than 500 local children.

“A new pair of shoes, or a bed of their own, or being able to go to a local sporting event. We had one girl that wanted to stay at a hotel with a pool,” Eichenauer said.

Law enforcement officers often see children when they are most vulnerable, including the U.S. Marshals Service. Marshals track down violent fugitives, but they are also on a mission to find missing, endangered or abducted children and when they do—those kids need help and support.

“Let’s say they recover a child, so that child doesn’t end up going back out on the street or back into a dangerous situation—wrapping them with services, getting them connected with community so that they feel safe at home,” Eichenauer said.

In 2021, Believe in Dreams teamed up with U.S. Marshals in Northeast Ohio. The organization helped when the USMS found a missing 15-year-old girl.

“She had dreams of becoming a nurse, so we were able to link her with the University Hospitals nursing program,” Eichenauer said.

On Wednesday in Washington D.C., Eichenauer and her nonprofit will be in the national spotlight. Eichenauer will receive the Citizen of the Year Award by the USMS.

“It’s very humbling, it’s such a nice honor,” Eichenauer said.

“Katie and her team work diligently day in and day out to positively affect the community in which we all serve. Believe in Dreams and their mission directly influences the positive notion that community support and simply believing in someone can have an astounding impact on someone’s life,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott, Northern District of Ohio, said.

Click here to learn more about Believe in Dreams.

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