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People who make a difference

By Mark Havey

Often time’s people that actually make a difference aren’t the ones who talk about it. They just do it. Such is the case with a man named Dave Elmore. Dave hails from Huntington, West Virginia and came to Roatan via Guatemala a little over a year ago. He probably wouldn’t have wound up here except for the fact that he was working with an orphanage in Guatemala and became a robbery victim. To make matters worse, when he reported it to the police, they beat him and robbed him as well. His next stop was Roatan. Close to being broke when he first got here, he went to Eldon’s with the little money he had left and bought a bunch of bread and meats and spreads, made sandwiches and went up and down to all of the dive shops in West End selling his sandwiches in order to make some money to be able to afford a place to live.

Dave is currently teaching grades 1 through 3 at Miriam Hansen’s “Home away from Home” school in Sandy Bay .As part of that job, he also directs and holds physical education classes at the tennis courts at Anthony’s Key. If you talk to his students, they sing his praises loud and clear. I was speaking to the mother of one of his students last week and she commented to me that Dave had made such a difference in her daughter’s approach to studying and her attitude about school in general had vastly improved as a direct result of his being her teacher.

After hiking the Appalachian Trail (over 2000 miles) starting in 1998, he returned to Asheville, North Carolina and dedicated his time in helping “at risk” children, working with them in a wilderness environment. Children have always had a special place in Dave Elmore’s heart and as a result he has set out to help them the best he can.

With the help of friend Brandon Raab, Dave has set up a non-profit organization called the “Sol Foundation”. (Sol being an abbreviation for School of Life.) The Sol Foundation consists of 3 parts:
Part 1. Education – To provide scholarships, uniforms, transportation and even tuitions in some of the islands private schools for island children who don’t have the economic means to ever have these things. He is even considering starting a shuttle service to get kids to and from school each day.
Part 2. Sports Activities – In as many local communities as possible Dave is looking to lease, buy or have someone donate land for playgrounds and baseball and soccer fields. His goal being to start Youth Sports Programs throughout the island. He feels that if more island children were involved in these activities, it would keep them off of the streets and away from trouble and add to their sense of self worth. His plan is to get this program underway and eventually turn over the operations part of it to locals who show a desire to follow through with this sort of project. Being a scout for the Texas Rangers major league baseball team gives him an advantage in understanding how to put together and manage this part of his Foundation.

The 3rd and last part of the Sol Foundation is an internship program. This is focused on the late teens and early adults age group and will consist of local businesses such as hotels, computer stores, real estate offices, marine science or marine biology companies being asked to provide this select group of people with internships, exposing them to new skill sets and letting them absorb and learn how businesses are run. Dave feels that in many ways the future of the children and young adults here on the island should include these sorts of positions enabling them to become the decision makers of tomorrow for Roatan.

“I didn’t have this plan in mind at all when I first came here” said Dave. “It just kind of all fell into place on its own”. He has also been pleasantly surprised by the generosity of certain islanders who have contributed financially to his sports activities programs. He’s hoping more people will take the initiative to get involved on some level.

Actions speak louder than words and this is certainly the case with Dave Elmore. I found out about the work he is doing quite by accident and this was after seeing Dave around for quite awhile. He’s not one to blow his own horn. I approached him with the idea of this article because I feel he is one of the people here who really are making a difference and other people should be aware of it.

If you’d like to know more about the Sol Foundation or more importantly what you might be able to do to contribute or help Dave with his projects he can be contacted at dave_elmore@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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