Turning Pain into Hope and Help for Others: Our Colleague Sabrie Taylor

Turning Pain into Hope for Others

Our colleague Sabrie Taylor and her family are turning their pain into hope and help for others.

“DeJohn Ward was a fearless young man who hoped to be an underwater welder. Six years after losing the Marysville teen to suicide, his family aims to better the lives of other young people through a new scholarship.

The Love Don’t Judge scholarship, $2,000 to be awarded to a member of Marysville Pilchuck High School’s class of 2021, adds to a youth program Sabrie and Steve Taylor founded in their son’s memory in 2019. That program, a safe Saturday night drop-in place for teens at the Marysville Boys & Girls Club, hasn’t operated for the past year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

If we could change things for just one kid, it would be worth it,” said Sabrie Taylor, whose son was 19 when he committed suicide at the family’s Marysville home Feb. 14, 2015.

“Love Don’t Judge is about accepting every kid, regardless of race or economic status,” she said. Suicide “doesn’t discriminate.”

According to online information about the scholarship, the Love Don’t Judge organization is “built on the memory of our son/brother DeJohn Ward.”

The organization’s Facebook page shows photos of Love Don’t Judge sweatshirts Sabrie Taylor said were sold to raise money for the scholarship. It tells how the family “took it upon ourselves to create a safe space for young adults and teenagers who might be going through a hard time or simply need a positive space to be.”

“It’s something for our youth our son didn’t have in Marysville — a place for teens,” Taylor said. With the help of friends, the Taylors launched the free, Saturday evening drop-in center nearly two years ago. At the time, they told The Daily Herald they chose the site because DeJohn and his younger sisters, Oshinaye and Veronika Taylor, now 21 and 19, spent so much time at the Marysville Boys & Girls Club as kids.”