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While statistics are worth celebrating, stories are what drive us. Here is an example of an experience we had with a remarkable individual.

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Dominic “Dom” Elson’s Story

Dominic “Dom” Elson was no stranger to a strenuous schedule in high school. His day would start at 6 a.m. when he’d get his brother ready for school and drop him off. Dom would then come back from classes and watch his brother till his sister arrived around 3:30 p.m. Starting a shift at his pizzeria job that lasted from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, he’d walk three miles to and from work.

Schedules like this aren’t unheard of. Many students strive to achieve work-school-life balance with a packed day. Dom, however, had to manage all three without a vehicle — and sometimes warm, clean clothing.

Growing up, Dom’s family moved frequently. His mom was always looking to try new areas while his dad lived in Ohio, and later California. The place he says he lived in the longest was Brigham City, Utah.

While in Ohio during the summer before he entered third grade, Dom helped his grandfather fix a work truck. 

“I worked on minor stuff like headlight housings and replacing the bulbs,” Dom said. “When the headliner in his truck fell or when it started grouping, I had to help put that back up and then I had to replace the seats when he found more comfy ones.”

This experience sparked Dom’s interest in working with cars. He started working on his mom and friend’s vehicles, and took every automotive class he could in school.

By his senior year, Dom had attended Ben Lomond, Bonneville and Ogden High School. It was while at Ogden that he met biology teacher Sara Byrd. 

Sara was able to connect with Dom — gaining an understanding of his interests and situation.

“She learned really quickly that in my spare time, I wouldn’t be sitting there playing on my phone like everyone was doing or working on assignments because I already had them done,” Dom said. “I’d be sitting there researching cars, learning about how you can make more power out of them, stuff like that.”

Sara also noticed that Dom’s outfits rarely changed, as he consistently wore one of two pairs of jeans and one shirt. This encouraged her to request KIND Fund assistance.

In her request, Sara talked about Dom’s on-foot commute to his pizzeria job — writing that he needed new boots and a warm coat. After reading this request, Young Caring for Our Young director Tami Olsen felt that she needed to know more about Dom’s situation.

The foundation reached out to Sara and asked if she could provide more info or if she could arrange a meeting with Dom. Sara had Dom call Tami, and the two talked about his situation and goals over the phone.

Dom’s first goal was to graduate high school. To help him with his commute, the KIND fund provided Dom with six months of bus passes.

“When I’d be sitting there on my way home from work at the restaurant, I’d text Tami and say ‘It’s nights like these that I’m happy that you’re willing to help me with the bus pass, when it’s raining and I’m seeing cars that are sliding on the road,'” Dom said.

Tami also tried setting Dom up with an interview at Young Ford Ogden. Dom initially declined because the dealership wasn’t able to match the pizzeria’s late-night amount of hours. After some convincing, Tami set up a meeting with Dom and then-general manager Travis Holt on a Sunday morning at the dealership — the only time he wasn’t working at the pizzeria.

Once the interview was finished, Travis offered Dom a job as a sales lot technician, providing him with a way to earn the income he was getting at the restaurant but not having to work as many hours. 

Dom accepted, and has thrived in the position. He won employee of the month shortly into his tenure, and has worked at Young Ford Ogden full-time since graduating high school.

Last year, Travis and then-general sales manager Dave Marley met with Dom to talk about a car. They asked him if having a vehicle would improve his situation, to which he said yes. 

The team at the dealership was not only able to find a Ford Fiesta that Dom could afford, but a generous employee even put the teenager on his insurance plan. Investing in his future, Young Ford Ogden has Dom enrolled at Ogden Technical College, where he attends automotive technician classes.

Tami says that stories like Dom’s depict the importance of the KIND Fund in a tangible way — helping the program expand its reach.

“When you see how the trajectory of a child’s life has changed because of one act of kindness, it makes it real for people and when it becomes real and they become part of something significant, it makes them want to do it again,” Tami said. “The donations increase and the requests increase because educators see they were able to help their students, and they see their students now thriving as a result of having clothes and shoes that fit properly.”

The Young Automotive Group uses five core values to guide the business. Through his experiences, Dom is able to resonate with one in particular very well — gratitude.

“It’s always important to be grateful,” Dom said. “It could be your coworker giving you a soda or somebody helping change your life for the better. You always want to be thankful for even small things because it shows that somebody was willing to go out of their way to do something nice for you.”

For more information on the KIND Fund, visit