On November 4th, Firewall hosted its first family dinner with over 150 in attendance at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. Guests connected with Firewall students, saw them perform a talent show, and heard about their Firewall experience through interviews and video.
The evening had a dynamic start with Firewall students showcasing their talents through five different performances. The performances included singing, dancing, and even an original Rap written by Durante, a seventh grader from Firewall’s Lauderhill center. It was a great outlet for the students to express themselves and provide some fun entertainment for the night.
Guests heard from Joanne Daudt, a Firewall Board member, who spoke about Firewall’s impressive model and its ability to yield effective results in the students that are a part of the program. “Principles of integrity, morality and basic life planning are not taught in school today, but I see them being instilled in Firewall students. I am confident that these students will graduate from high school and move on as successful servant leaders,” said Daudt.
Patricia Genhold, the Assistant Principal at Bair Middle School, shared how Firewall is not an aftercare program. She noted the program is effectively building character in her students and improving their academics. Genhold was impressed by the work ethic and passion she observed from the Firewall mentors and how much they cared for and helped their students.
One of the final highlights of the night was the student panel interview and a life changing video. Event attendees heard directly from three students about their Firewall experiences. Not only did they talk about their goals and dreams, but about how they were applying the principles of “never quitting” and “giving back” to the community in their everyday lives.
Directly following the interviews, guests watched a video about Victoria, an eleventh grader from Firewall’s Western center, who has been with the program since she was in sixth grade. She went from being proud of getting terrible grades, to now excelling academically and constantly serving her classmates. Firewall helped her through a hard time in her life when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she is truly grateful for the support system she had. Someday, she hopes to become a Firewall mentor.
The dinner was a tremendous success as guests learned not only about the program but Firewall’s future plans and goals. It was a great way to spread the vision and gain community support. Victoria summed it up perfectly when she said, “Firewall is really there for you. You are not just a student to them. You are family.”