On June 30th, we had the opportunity to host 15 high school graduate students at our Orange Park Center. Dividing the two schools, Plantation High and Western High, we were able to keep to code and still enjoy each others company.
We sat down with them and ate great food from Padrino’s Cuban Restaurant. We discussed with them their hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. Some students were going straight into school and taking classes to graduate quickly. Other students came to the party straight from work, and were going to continue working hard at their current job. After that, those students are hoping to attend college. Two of our Firewall Alumni will even be joining our team of mentors for the 20-21 School Year! They will be directly making a difference in kids’ lives that were just like them.
Calling their names, just like at a formal ceremony, they walked up and received a gift card and medal. We want to help them smoothly transition into their adult lives with a little monetary help, and lot of pride for the program they attended. All of them were very appreciative of the get-together and were sad to leave. We want to wish a great upcoming year to them and their fellow graduates all over Broward County.
This is an exciting year for Firewall! We have the most seniors graduating of all Firewall history. This program has not only helped our high school students learn more about themselves, but also about how we impact Broward County. We even had the opportunity to hire some of our graduating seniors! Sebastian Requena, a former Western High School student, was involved in our program at Flamingo Elementary just down the street from his school.
While keeping his eyes on the prize of graduating high school, he also was learning new ways to help his community and grow in experience. Sebastian even said “it felt like being a mentor in my last year of high school was like I was giving back to the program that helped me.” It’s not just about helping others at Firewall Centers, our mentors gain great experience. “Working for you guys gave me an idea of what I want to do with my life,” says Sebastian. At Firewall we seek to help the community by not just being in the community, but being the community.
Meet Sebastian in the video down below!
We’ve all at one point or another had difficulty learning something. Whether it was Chemistry in high school, Algebra in Middle school, or even Art in kindergarten, we all needed to find a way that we learned best.
Many students today focus on the Procrastination-Cram method, where they wait until the last day or hour and try to “cram” as much information in their head as possible. Other students maybe use memorization or repetitive mnemonics to help them recall the information.
But, what teachers and professors are finding out is that there are small good things that can help with the big bad work they have to complete. Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D speaks of many “laws” about teaching/learning in his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Teacher. I found a way to condense them into 3 easy techniques.
The first technique is Content. Relevance, association and interest play a big part in what you are teaching. Make sure you are using examples that your child can understand and relate with. But, not just things that are new.
The second technique is Interaction. Your student wants bright, colorful, moving parts. They want to be able to see and feel that they’re doing something that has impact. Just like when you work and you get paid, they seek that direct causal relationship between input and output. Which leads us to the last technique.
The third technique is Effect. Your child needs to see the effect when there are no moving parts. The reward and the challenge needs to exist. Overcoming a challenge can be a reward in itself. But, if the task becomes to cumbersome, a reward at each milestone can help them move forward.
Hopefully, these techniques can aid you in assisting your child or student in many ways!
When thinking about Christmas time, everyone pictures their own special traditions and the ways that make it feel like Christmas to them. The holiday season looks different for everyone. Some enjoy the season by receiving gifts and spending time with their loved ones, while others enjoy it by giving. We love seeing our students smile, especially when it’s caused by people who through their actions, are applying our principle of “Keep Giving Back”.
This year, one of our board members, Aaron McKee, and his wife Toni, purchased board games for every one of our student’s at Walker Elementary School for Christmas. Walker Elementary School is located within Fort Lauderdale’s 33311 zip code where the per capita income is $15,490 and the average household income is only $43,220. The need is great in the neighborhoods surrounding the school which is why Firewall chose to serve Walker and it’s students. In fact, the school is located in an area that has a higher rate of childhood poverty than almost 97% of U.S. neighborhoods, and many of these children attend Walker. The smiles on the student’s faces are enough to show how much this meant to them.
It is our mission to help the students who are a part of Firewall Centers achieve academic success, build character, and transform into servant leaders. It was such a great opportunity for the students to see one of our board members and his wife serving and blessing them this holiday season.
Every year we partner with Samaritan’s Purse during the holiday season to make a difference. Operation Christmas Child, which is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, provides partners around the world with shoe boxes that are filled with hygiene items, toys, and school supplies. These boxes are sent to children who have been affected by a natural disaster, war, disease, and other catastrophic events.
For the 4th year, our high school students had the opportunity to help play a part in making a child in need’s holiday season special by packing some of these boxes themselves and adding a handwritten card wishing them a Merry Christmas.
Operation Christmas Child helped our high school students get into the holiday spirit as they excitedly lined up to fill the boxes and had the opportunity to see all of the items that were being sent out.
When asking one of our Program Directors Elizabeth (Liz) what she thought about the experience she said, “It was so amazing to see so many students who have struggles of their own give their time and money to help other children this Christmas season.”
Not only has this opportunity been one that will impact children all over the world, but it also truly impacted the students that we get to work with every day. It has been our pleasure to see those we serve, serving others.