Serve-a-Thon 2021 was a SUCCESS!

On Saturday, April 24th, over 40 Firewall staff, AmeriCorps members, and high school students gathered at the Davie mobile home park where Firewall Centers’ Headquarters is located. Blue shirts could be seen all around the community completing different service projects like delivering groceries, painting a family’s mobile home, cleaning shoes, and painting the Orange Park community center.

This all started with a packing day in partnership with Harvest Drive of South Florida. With their support, we were able to pack 144 bags of groceries, which totaled to 3000 pounds of food all to be distributed to families in the mobile home community.

For Serve-A-Thon, we partnered with In Jacob’s Shoes to get new/refurbished, name-brand shoes. We deep-cleaned over 100 pairs of these shoes so that we could send them back to the In Jacob’s Shoes distribution center to be delivered to needy youth all across Broward County.

Inside the Orange Park Community Center, we had members begin renovating our students’ learning space in preparation for the 2021-22 school year. We expect the full renovation including the addition of new computers, furniture, flooring, etc. to be completed by fall 2021 so that our students have safe and beautiful place to study and learn.

Our favorite and most rewarding project was in the hands of our Home Painting Team! Firewall was able to accomplish a full-service paint job for one of our Flamingo Elementary students and his family. They even got to pick their own color! They were so happy with the finished product and were so grateful that Firewall made such an impact in their day-to-day lives.

At the end of it all, Vertical Church supplied the team with lunch from Chil-Fil-A as a thank you for continually changing lives all around Broward County. It was a well-deserved gift as you can see from the smiles on our staff and AmeriCorps members’ faces.

This all couldn’t have been accomplished without the support of our Serve-a-Thon sponsors: Guy Brickman from State Farm and Lime in Plantation.

We’re Accredited!

Firewall Centers, the after-school mentoring and tutoring program, located in Davie,FL has earned National Accreditation through Green Apple Accreditation of Children’s Services.


Green Apple Accreditation of Children’s Services is a national, independent accrediting agency for Child Care Centers, After School Programs, Private Schools, and Behavioral Health Programs.

Firewall Centers was founded in July 2003 after the tragic death of a 13-year-old girl who overdosed on drugs while left unsupervised during after-school hours. Founders Andy and Janeth Fernandez began meeting weekly in the very mobile home park where the young girl lived and died, providing activities and positive object lessons for its youth. Recognizing the need for a daily positive presence, an after-school mentoring and tutoring center was established. Since 2012 when Firewall Centers began its first after-school program within public schools, the organization has expanded from serving 40 students to now more than 500 every day. Even COVID could not stop us! We continue to receive more recommended students from school administration.

Exciting Collaboration with Harvest Drive

Firewall Centers strives to deepen its impact on families by working collaboratively with other organizations. Firewall and Harvest Drive have worked together over the last 7 years, gathering food for the families of many of our students. Harvest Drive strives to educate students on the issue of hunger in our community and empower them to take leadership roles in lessening hunger’s devastating impact. During the month of December, we sat down with them to discuss how we can grow our partnership in 2020.

One way that we will be collaborating is by bringing our students and mentors together to one location to pack 144 boxes of nonperishable items provided by Harvest Drive. This will take place during our 7th annual Serve-A-Thon in the spring, and these boxes will then be distributed to the families that we serve who are most in need.

During this new year, we are planning to have many opportunities to impact Broward County. Through our annual Serve-A-Thon, we will be collaborating with multiple non-profits and serving the community with about 20 different projects. It is important that the students at Firewall learn how to serve others while being a part of our program. Through Serve-A-Thon, Firewall students will learn the importance of serving by making cards for senior citizens, bags with supplies for the homeless, collecting canned food items for Harvest Drive, and more.

Everyone is eager to see what will unfold as these organizations work together to bring change to our community.

Thanksgiving Has Been Served

When you think of Thanksgiving most think of a relaxed, fulfilling time with family and friends. Our biggest problems are usually debating between leftover turkey sandwiches or eating another slice of pumpkin pie. It’s almost too easy to enjoy our time and never stop to think of those who may need help during this Holiday season, yet more than 1 in 5 families across the country and over 260,000 individuals in Broward County are unable to provide themselves with a meal that many of us may end up taking for granted.

These families are not far from home, but are often your neighbors and fellow community members. These are the families of students we serve every day here at Firewall. This Thanksgiving, we strived to meet more of the needs of our students by also serving their families. A partnership between Calvary Chapel Plantation, Harvest Drive Florida and Firewall Centers Donors collaborated to bring over 150 Thanksgiving Day meals to Firewall families all over Broward County.

On behalf of all the families that make up Firewall Centers, we would like to give a BIG thank you to our generous partners for sharing in something special for our community. Calvary Chapel Plantation and Harvest Drive Florida are paving the way in servant leadership and we are humbled to have been a part of serving with you.

21st Century Community Learning Center RFP

Firewall Centers, will be submitting a proposal in response to the 21st Century Community Learning Center Request for Proposals. Through Firewall Centers’ 21st CCLC program, 50 students at Flamingo Elementary School will be served during the 2019/2020 academic year. Students will be provided with tutoring, Project Based Learning (PBL), cross-curricular activities, and homework assistance to support academic achievement. Project-based learning activities support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields and English Language Arts (ELA) instruction. Daily topical sessions also address student socioemotional needs throughout the year. Daily student programming also includes opportunities to participate in personal enrichment activities such as nutrition and physical education. Centers facilitate five adult family member knowledge sessions surrounding academic supports, socioemotional learning, and health and wellness. General program goals include increased academic achievement, improved decision-making skills, and increased parental involvement.


Firewall Family Dinner 2016

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.”