An Evening of Hope supports Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — More than 100 supporters and friends of the Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center attended the Third Annual “An Evening of Hope” fundraiser at Pointe West Saturday night.  Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, Regents Professor at Florida A & M University (FAMU), was the event’s honorary speaker.  Prior to this appointment, Humphries, regarded as one of the most innovative and successful educators in America, served for nearly 17 years as President of FAMU.

The legacy of Dasie Bridgewater, who passed away in 2000, continues to live on in the Wabasso community through the hard work and determination of her daughter Verna Wright.  Wright founded the Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center in her mother’s honor, and doors opened in 2001.  The center grew from 2 children to 32 almost overnight, and today there is a waiting list.  Proceeds from the event will help to enable to the center to continue to grow and improve its facility. Both women exemplify how people can improve the lives of others through sharing and giving. Born and raised in Wabasso, Wright channeled her concern for children into the center, which provides free, safe, educational and recreational activities for children ages 5 – 18 in afternoon and summer programs.

Community support for the center has come from many businesses, such as the event’s grand sponsor, Warren Schwerin of Oak Point Development Company and presenting sponsor, Dr. Johnny Benjamin of Pro Spine Center.  Over the years, the Sheriff’s Department and non-profit organizations such as the John’s Island Foundation, Grand Harbor Outreach Program, numerous churches and the United Way have also contributed to the center’s success.

Verna worked for 19 years in the school system, her husband taught for 31 years, retiring as a Vero Beach High School math teacher, so education clearly has been an important part of their daily lives.  Eight students have been sent to college in the last three years, and for the last five years, all of her third grade students passed the FCATs.  In addition to education, children at the center are taught cooperation, respect and manners, the need to listen and to care for one another.  {igallery 46}

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