Generous Grant from United Way of Broward County Helps Firewall Centers Provide 75 At-Risk Youth at Pompano Beach Middle School with an Opportunity to Not Only Survive, But Thrive

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. (August 31, 2016) – Firewall Centers, a non-profit organization that offers free after-school tutoring, mentoring, and leadership development to middle and high school students, is continuing its partnership with United Way of Broward County. After three years of supporting Firewall’s Center at Pompano Beach Middle School with a $30,000 annual grant, the United Way of Broward County has now graciously awarded Firewall another three-year grant, and this time in the amount of $61,670 each year.

Funds will be used to expand Firewall’s Center at Pompano Beach Middle School from serving 50 at-risk students at the school to 75. The grant will also allow Firewall to run a 5-week summer program at the school to provide academic and character-building activities to students that prevent the summer slide.

Currently, 75.3% of Broward County students are graduating from high school, with a much lower rate for disadvantaged youth. Firewall seeks to raise graduation rates by providing support strategies aimed at improving the achievement of disadvantaged students like those that attend Pompano Beach Middle School.

“United Way of Broward County is pleased to support programs like Firewall,” stated United Way of Broward County President and CEO, Kathleen Cannon.  “Students should have the tools they need to thrive in school and life.”


The reason why so many schools and funders are taking notice of Firewall: the program works! During the 2015/2016 school year, 100% of the Pompano students were promoted to the next grade level. Other impressive program outcomes included the following: 98% of the students did not exceed 5 absences per marking period during the school year (per Broward School Board standards), 95% did not receive internal or external suspensions from school, and 97% achieved all A’s, B’s, & C’s in reading, 93% did so in math, and 94% did in language arts. Mckenzie, an 8th grade student from Pompano Middle School commented, “What I like most about Firewall is that they take pride in helping us with our education and teaching us how to be servant leaders in the future.”

Firewall’s daily, school-based mentoring and tutoring program is designed to help low-income students achieve academic success, build character, and transform into servant leaders. The program, called T.H.I.N.K. (Take Charge, Have a Plan, Involve the Right People, Never Quit, Keep Giving Back) Leadership, provides students with opportunities to excel academically as they are given targeted attention on critical subjects like reading and math not only during the school year, but for several weeks in the summer. The program also utilizes its own curriculum based on its T.H.I.N.K. acronym in order to equip students with necessary life skills such as learning to take charge of one’s own actions, setting goals, making informed decisions, and overcoming obstacles. Firewall is not just a program – it is a family that begins walking through life with students when they first enter middle school and continues throughout their high school years and as they transition into college/career.

Thanks to the generosity of United Way of Broward County and other likeminded supporters, Firewall will operate eight centers in Broward County this year, serving 500 students every day.

Pompano Beach Middle





Firewall was established in 2003 in response to the death of a thirteen year old girl who overdosed on drugs while left unsupervised during after-school hours. Ever since, the agency has been operating daily, school-based mentoring and tutoring services designed to help students achieve academic success, build character, and transform into servant leaders. For the 2015/2016 school year, Firewall’s T.H.I.N.K. Leadership program has eight locations within Broward County Public Schools serving 500 students. The program’s overarching objective is to improve performance outcomes among at-risk students as related to their school attendance, behavior, and course performance, thus helping them to ultimately achieve self-sufficiency as they pursue their life goals. You can learn more about Firewall Centers and how you can get involved at or follow them at


About United Way of Broward County:

United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, non-profit organization servicing Broward County for more than 75 years. United Way of Broward County mission is to focus and unite the entire community to create significant lasting change in the impact areas of Education, Income and Health, the building blocks for a better life, which positively impacts people’s lives. United Way of Broward County is the catalyst for change and convener of partnerships that unite the hearts, minds, and resources within the Broward community. For more information, visit