Congratulations to our faithful founders Andy and Janeth Fernandez who on behalf of Firewall Centers were recognized “for outstanding commitment to our families” by Broward County School Social Work Association as they were awarded “Broward Citizens of the Year.”
Below are two of the nominating letters they are both deeply encouraging and humbling. Thank you Yolanda and Betsy, the nomination means so much as we all know your commitment and sacrifice to our kids is unmeasurable.
Yolanda Thrower, Broward County Social Worker
“I personally worked with Firewall Ministries when I was assigned Indian Ridge Middle School and I can attest that Andy and Janeth were a critical piece in many of our student’s success. The program not only provided a place for our students to go after school but also filled in the parent link when necessary. Janeth attended parent-teacher conferences with or without the parent; emails teacher and communicates to parents what needs to be done; assisted the school staff with the implementing of interventions at their site; they signed agendas for the students with uninvolved parents; they referred families to the SSW with complex problems and ensured that the family followed up with referral; they assisted with the harvest drive every year; they have provided transportation for some parents to get them into the school for a conference. They are truly safe haven for their students.”
Betsy Roberts, Broward County Social Worker
“I am truly lucky to have met Andy and Janeth Fernandez. They are amazing individuals who really have created a fantastic program for our students and families. I believe in what they are doing, data and statistics show it is working. I am a strong advocate for the Firewall Program. Andy and Janeth are the real deal – they unconditionally give of themselves, to help not only the students but their families. They are very “present” in the lives of our youth and role model a healthy lifestyle. I would often get a text from Janeth in the evening, worried over the negative behavior of one of her high schoolers. Janeth has incredible insight and is able to gain the trust of not just the student but the parent as well. Together we would intervene to assure the safety of the kids and quickly take proper action. She would often tell the parent,” just go see Betsy”. They listen to her and come into Western the next day. Janeth had already laid the groundwork and I am then easily able to build a trusting relationship with the parent and assist with their issues. The Firewall staff and students are actively involved in the Western Harvest Drive. A majority of the high school students are recipients but Andy and Janeth believe in giving back. They believe in service to their community. They arrange for the kids to volunteer their time and assist in the organizing, heavy lifting and sorting of the food days before the event. The day of the event, Janeth and her staff pay it forward. They come out, volunteer and even transport food in their cars to families who could not make it. I strongly recommend Andy and Janeth for “Citizen of the Year 2014”. These two people give and give and give – and ask for nothing in return BUT to see their kids walk the stage and earn their high school diploma! Now – isn’t that the best form of recognition and success?”