October Newsletter 2019

Hello from Firewall Centers!

Some of you may have noticed that Firewall Centers is sporting a brand new logo. It’s an exciting time —- and as we strive to reach more students across more schools, we want to continue to grow and improve as an organization.

So what’s changed?

You’ll see it’s not just our logo that is changing. We’ve changed our website, our social media, our messaging, and our colors to better reflect our mission of transforming students into servant leaders through academic support and character development.

We know that you will enjoy our new look as much as we do and continue to partner with us as we continue to #MakeADifference in the lives of students across South Florida.

STUDENT TO MENTOR: Why Mentoring Matters

Our Firewall Mentors are the core of what we do to transform students into servant leaders. Some of our best mentors are Firewall alumni. They are servant leaders and incredible role models for our students.

This year, we are excited to have a mentor who graduated from our Western High program, Zack Ortega. He has been a part of Firewall from the 7th grade through high school graduation.

Read more


We’re still recruiting college students and recent college grads to become AmeriCorps Firewall Mentors for the 2019-2020 school year! Perks include an education award to help pay for college and/or student loans, a bi-weekly living stipend, and leadership development!

Apply at https://firewallcenters.org/apply

We are also looking for a full-time Elementary Program Director to join our team! Read more here.


August 2019 Newsletter

Firewall Opens Two Centers!

We are so excited to announce that we have successfully opened two new centers at Horizon and Flamingo Elementary. As Firewall continues to grow, so does the impact on our local community. We couldn’t have reached this point without the love and support from our Firewall Family, and we thank you!

Our work doesn’t stop here! As we continue developing our future doctors, lawyers, engineers, and servant leaders, we want you to be a part of the process. Firewall has open volunteer opportunities for anyone that is interested in making a difference. For more information, visit FirewallCenters.org/volunteer

We need your help!

Ms. Janeth has been nominated for the Local 10 Life Changer Award. This award recognizes a hometown hero who entered a person’s life at a pivotal point and made a significant impact.

Janeth is the Chief Program Director of Firewall and is responsible for managing and training more than 80 staff members. Through Janeth’s leadership, Firewall has grown from serving 40 students to more than 500 every day across nine public schools.

Help her win by voting every day until August 31st! You can vote here!

Thank you, Broward College!

We recently received a $2,500 sponsorship from Broward College for our High School Program. Firewall wishes to recognize their generous contribution and thank them for their continued support in helping us transform students into servant leaders.We are excited to continue to partner with them as they make a positive impact preparing students for successful futures.

We’re still hiring!

We’re still recruiting college students and recent college grads to become AmeriCorps Firewall Mentors for the 2019-2020 school year!

Perks include an education award to help pay for college and/or student loans, a bi-weekly living stipend, and leadership development!

Visit FirewallCenters.org/apply

Firewall Centers
13451 SW 7th PL  | Davie, Florida 33325
9545301871 | info@firewallcenters.org

July 2019 Newsletter

Though school is officially out for summer, Firewall’s work continues. This summer, we offered a six-week program in a mobile home park community in Davie. Our program focuses on preparing students for the upcoming school year and consists of leadership training, English-language exercises, and math review.

At Firewall, we pride ourselves on being a dynamic organization that tailors our approach to meet the individual needs of our students. For Juan and Miguel, two 7th graders that just moved here from Venezuela, learning English is a priority.

Instead of putting Juan and Miguel through our regular program, our mentors primarily focus on improving their English language skills. The boys take turns reading aloud and underlining words they don’t know. Later, they write the words on flashcards to practice with their Firewall Mentors.

 Firewall Mentor, Raevin, Juan, and Miguel

“By reading with my mentor, I’ve learned new vocabulary words and how to pronounce them. It’s good for me to learn English so I can meet new friends and feel more connected.” – Miguel

Children from lower-income homes can fall 2 to 3 months behind in their reading during the summer months, but Firewall students will enter the school year avoiding the learning loss that typically accompanies summer break. 

Because of your support, Juan and Miguel now have foundational English Language skills, which are critical for academic learning and social integration. Thank you for helping us make a difference in transforming lives.

School Supply Drive

Throughout the summer, we are collecting supplies for the upcoming school year!

Here’s a list of the most needed supplies for our students. We appreciate any support you can give. Simply purchase items and drop them by our office in Davie!

Looking for Firewall AmeriCorps Members

Do you know any college students or recent college graduates that would be great role models?

We are in need of Firewall AmeriCorps Members to work with our students from August 2019 to June 2020. Members receive a bi-weekly living stipend, a scholarship for college/student loans, and leadership experience. 

Please help us spread the word! If know anyone that is interested, they can apply at firewallcenters.org/apply

Firewall Centers provides daily, school-based tutoring and mentoring services designed to help students achieve academic success, build character, and transform into servant leaders. You can help support this transformation and give at firewallcenters.org/give

June 2019 Newsletter

Meet John, an AmeriCorps Firewall Mentor that worked daily with our Western High School students this past school year.

John graduated from Princeton University in 2018 and will attend Duke Law School in the fall to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer.

He has always had a passion for helping others and serving the community, but it was Firewall’s mission that inspired John to apply and serve as a mentor.

“I was ecstatic about the opportunity to work with young people. High school students should be filled with hopefulness and optimism about the future. Unfortunately, many at-risk youth are shackled by low expectations and have a low opinion of their abilities. At Firewall, I saw firsthand the life-changing power of mentoring. We help students visualize themselves as the next doctors, lawyers, police officers, and mechanics by working with students to develop a concrete plan that make their dreams a realistic achievement,’ said John.

‘This made all the difference for Louie, a student who always dreamed of becoming a firefighter, but didn’t know how to actually make it happen. After we reviewed the basic requirements and charted a plan of action, Louie returned to school with a newfound commitment to his academics, now understanding that his GPA would affect his chances of becoming a firefighter.’

This summer, John will help update our High School program to ensure our students are best prepared to enter the workforce.

“Andy and the Firewall team are constantly looking to improve the program and the services we offer and I’m honored that he’s involved me in this process. I am confident that our evidence-based reforms will make a meaningful impact on our students’ lives.”

May 2019 Newsletter

Our Servant Leader Celebration hosted by Eric Yutzy was amazing!

Our keynote speaker, Anita Fain Taylor, shared with the students that “regardless of what job you are given, as small as it may seem, give it your all.”

We also recognized our graduating High School seniors, including Arnold, a Firewall student that has been with us since 6th grade!

Arnold received a four-year full ride scholarship to Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school. He will also be graduating in the top 10 of his class of over 700 students at Western High School!

He shared with tears in his eyes how grateful he was for his Firewall Mentors that supported him throughout Middle and High School.

“I won’t ever forget the times that my Firewall mentor, Taylor Grippo, spent talking with me about my goals and my grades. She has remained committed to my success since the instant that we met. During my ACT and SAT prep, during my college applications; She was always there.”

Arnold’s mother, Arnold, and Taylor Grippo, his previous Firewall Mentor

Thank you for your continued support during the school year and the years to come!

April 2019 Newsletter

Meet De’Andre, a Firewall student. De’Andre didn’t think he’d be able to graduate, but now he’s graduating a year early!

De’Andre started attending Firewall in 6th grade. Throughout Middle School and into 9th grade, he was unmotivated to do work and struggled in most of his classes. But Firewall’s long term mentoring and tutoring developed his confidence and maturity.

For De’Andre it all came together in 10th grade when he decided to become a firefighter. He started to work harder at his school work and began taking extra online classes.

Now in his junior year, because of his own determination and Firewall’s help, De’Andre will graduate this May, a year early!

“He is so polite and mature now. We wish him the best! He is a true example of the long term impact Firewall can have on students,” said Janeth Fernandez, Program Director.

Consider giving towards Firewall can continue to support students like De’Andre!

March 2019 Newsletter

Soroptimist International of Davie visited our Western High School Center and shared their ‘Dream It, Be It’ curriculum that provides career support for girls.

Two students shared with the group about their dream to go to college. During their last session, one of the Soroptimist ladies gifted them each with $100 to start their college fund! The girls were overwhelmed that someone cared enough to invest in their future.

Soroptimist talked about putting their dreams into action and gifted each girl with a blazer to wear on future interviews, a book on leadership, and a necklace with an encouraging quote!

‘My grades got better when I realized that education after High School is necessary to get a good job. I want to help support my family in the future, so I’ve decided to start now by focusing more on my grades,’ said Katherine, 9th grade.

Thank you, Soroptimist, for investing in the lives of our High School girls the last three years!

Fundraising for Serve-A-Thon has begun!

This month, we had students, staff, and community supporters like you come together at multiple restaurants to support Firewall. Thank you for coming out and giving back!

‘Thank you so much for what you do for my student,’ said Firewall parent, Rochelle, after attending the fundraiser at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.

Rochelle wanted her daughter, Jasmine, to be in a program that helped her excel in school and provided mentoring. Jasmine now has a Firewall mentor that cares for her, ensures she completes her work, and tutors her in subjects that are difficult for her. 

Jasmine, her mother Rochelle, and Firewall Mentor Frances 

These fundraisers are a part of our 6th Annual Serve-A-Thon and help us raise support to mentor more students like Jasmine in the 2019-2020 school year!  If you’d like to give to Serve-A-Thon, click here.


Firewall Centers

February 2019 Newsletter

For the second year in a row, our students and mentors gave handmade Valentine’s Day cards to over 200 elderly care residents with the help of Heart2Heart Outreach of South Florida.

It was pretty eye opening because we got to see all the physical problems the residents had and how much they miss the company of their family,’ said Shante, 10th grade Firewall student.

Over 60% of elderly residents in Florida will never receive a single visit from friends or family so it was quite special for the residents to receive hand delivered Valentine’s Day cards.

‘You went through all this trouble to make me happy…thank you,’ said one resident.

Each note was written and read aloud to the residents by a Firewall student.

‘There were so many smiles and quite a few tears of joy. Some powerful moments as students witnessed the mental and physical struggles of elderly residents. Hearing the kids say ‘Happy Valentine’s Day! We love you!’ to everyone they visited was such a beautiful sound. Thank you Firewall Centers!’, said Blake Silverstrom, Heart2Heart Outreach Executive Director.

We are excited to partner again with Heart2Heart Outreach on April 27th for our 6th Annual Serve-A-Thon! Our students will get the opportunity to visit the elderly, package meals for the hungry, feed the homeless, and more.

If you’d like to get involved by becoming a Serve-A-Thon sponsor, please contact us today!

Thank you for helping transform students into servant leaders!


Firewall Centers

January 2019 Newsletter

This Christmas, we gave each student at our Walker Elementary Center their own stuffed animal donated by Barry University students and a Christmas book donated by the Local 10 Big Book Drive!

In the area surrounding Walker Elementary, there is a greater percentage of children living in poverty than is found in 97% of all U.S. neighborhoods.

We wanted to give the students a memorable Christmas by going beyond meeting their academic needs and blessing them with a special gift they could enjoy.

 We also partnered with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital who donated Christmas stockings filled with presents to our Crystal Lake Middle School students.

The students loved the gifts and were grateful for their generosity!

Mentor Training

Our goal is to prepare our AmeriCoprs Firewall Mentors to succeed not only as they serve their students, but also as they reach towards their own futures!

So this month, our Mentors received training from the Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA)!

Brian, Kathyrn, and Mallarie taught our mentors how to build good credit, breakdown their budget, and more!

Thank you for your continued support and stay tuned for more updates!


Firewall Centers

December 2018 Newsletter

Firewall was presented with a check from Church United for $28,073 to help fund our new Center this year, Walker Elementary!

Several churches in West Broward County came together to fund Walker Elementary

‘We decided that one of the most important things we could do to serve our community was to invest in the education of the next generation. It then became a natural fit to partner together with Firewall Centers because of the incredible work they are doing and their reputation in the community,’ said Jon Elswick, Crossway Church Pastor.

We are so grateful for their generosity and the Love South Florida Initiative that has allowed us to serve more students!

Firewall Centers Student

Rashod is a fourth grader at our Walker Elementary Center. Last week he came into Firewall and showed us he’s now on A/B honor roll!

At the beginning of the year, he would get into fights and didn’t want to do his work. Roshod’s Firewall Mentor would help tutor him in reading and math. Now he cares about academic time and excels at it!

He is a completely different person because he saw that Firewall believed in him.‘ – Caitlin Mantooth, Curriculum Specialist

We are excited to impact more lives with your help!

Remember that every dollar you give will be doubled from now until December 31st!