WEST DES MOINES — Julian Dismute had to visit dark places to find true light — and meaning — in his life.
Today, Dismute — a graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High in 2009 — is a successful motivational speaker, faith-based learner, and future leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization through the Des Moines Public School District. Her mission is to spread energy and positivity through a passionate belief that people have an inner strength waiting to be discovered.
Dismute would know. About six years ago, he needed to hear this message for himself.
“After basketball didn’t work out, I tried to do what so many others do: get a job and start climbing the corporate ladder.” said Dismute, a former Dodger hoop and soccer star. “Without basketball in my life for the first time (competitively), I really didn’t know who I was. I was married with a young son at home, but inside I was lost. I thought I was trying to make things better, but every day it seemed to get worse.
“In 2016, I felt really ready to check it out and finish it all. I was tired and had no desire to continue. That’s when I cried out to God. He showed up and told me said, ‘Julian, be who I called you’. Everything else will be fine. It was a turning point.”
Dismute doesn’t necessarily feel like his mind was saved overnight. His soul, on the other hand, began to find peace. And a new path has been discovered.
“I’ve been on this journey of motivational and inspirational speeches since 2017 now,” said Dismute, who currently lives in West Des Moines with his wife, Manson Northwest Webster graduate Amber (Allbee) Dismute, and their son, Kyrie. “I went through a lot of therapy and had to do a lot of healing. It wasn’t easy. But I’m here, doing my best to improve myself and those around me.
“I continue to draw closer to God every day. He moved me. I preach, mentor, lead a men’s group, and serve on a leadership team at my church (Dismute also earned her leadership coaching certificate in 2021). I try to spend a lot of time in and around the sport, connecting my faith and drive to my background in athletics.
The move to FCA seemed like a natural path for Dismute, who will take an active role as an organizational representative at all five Des Moines metro schools: Des Moines Lincoln, Des Moines Roosevelt, Des Moines Hoover, Des Moines East and Des Moines . North. Dismute is currently in the fundraising phase of the process, which he would like to have completed by the first week of June.
“I have big goals and big plans” said Dismute, who speaks in and around the Des Moines area through his “House of Pillars” organization with Amber, mental health and wellness coach. “God sends me to these schools and I need to be prepared. I want to use the summer to build relationships with the coaches and settle in for the next school year. I try to raise awareness of FCA and the opportunities it will provide to students.
“You need a village. Right now, a lot of my life is spent trying to empower others — especially now with kids who need direction and guidance at an impressionable age.
Dismute knows some of the pitfalls and perils teens face. He saw his fair share of adversity growing up, losing both parents and battling the temptations of his inner demons.
“My mum and dad both passed away at an early age, and knowing what I know now, an organization like FCA would have been a really good outlet for me at the time,” Dismute said. “It’s an opportunity to see you’re not alone, to discover meaning and direction, and to choose life and light instead of living in darkness.
“Maybe a lot of these kids don’t understand faith in Christ. Being able to actually engage with them and build that trust… equipping them with the tools to find out who they really are and holding them accountable would be a beautiful thing.
Dismute also wants to provide a teen-appropriate perspective when it comes to athletics.
“You think it’s so important at that age, and in so many ways, but there’s more to life than sport,” Dismute said. “It took a lot of wrong turns for me to realize that myself. Teenagers have so many gifts and talents within them. Sometimes it’s as simple as showing that someone believes in them. Not just as athletes, but as students, citizens and future leaders.
FCA was founded in 1954 and today operates in 107 different countries around the world. According to its website, “(For nearly 70 years), the FCA has challenged coaches and athletes at the professional, college, high school, high school and junior levels to use the powerful platform of sport to reach every coach and athlete with the transformative power of Jesus Christ. . FCA is focused on serving local communities around the world by engaging, equipping and empowering coaches and athletes to unite, inspire and change the world through the gospel.
To support the FCA cause of Dismute, visit https://my.fca.org/juliandismute