Graham and Nicole Davis, the founders of Advance Panama, fell in love with Panama on their first visit in 2008. They made El Valle in the Coclé province their home in 2014. The Davises moved when their two children at the time were only two years old and three months old.
“We were distressed to see the disparity between the wealth and affluence of the homes on ‘Millionaire’s Road’ compared with the humble reality of deep poverty for everyone else living in the valley,” said Graham Davis. This impressed upon them greatly. What troubled them most, was the inability of even very highly motivated individuals to escape this poverty cycle without help. They quickly responded to the ubiquitous call of being that support.
The idea quickly hit home soon after moving to El Valle when a bright, young friend of theirs was unable to pay the mere $30 university application fee. She was not supported educationally, financially or relationally by her family. This eventually led to the development of Advance Panama and its core priorities.
The Advance Project was officially born in January 2016. Graham and Nicole’s desire to live out Jesus’ command to love their neighbors compels them to give sacrificially and provide strategic opportunities to those in need of a helping hand. Their time and resources are focused on one-on-one mentoring of students in leadership and life skills, tutoring English, monthly leadership seminars, fundraising, participating in their faith community and church, as well as participating in several other long-term community projects that also emphasize education and leadership. There are no other initiatives this comprehensive in Panama.
During the course of the last five years, they have added two more children to their family, both born in Panama. Last year, their only daughter, Noely Belle, passed away in a car accident in El Valle. Despite this horrific heartbreak, they continue serving with Advance Panama, developing leaders in the developing world, one soul at a time.