Our Founder, Verna Wright
Verna Wright, founder of the Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center was born and raised in Wabasso, FL. She is the second eldest of three children born to the late Dasie Bridgewater.
After the passing of her mother in the Fall of 2000, Mrs. Wright had the inspiration to open an after-school youth program for low-income children within the Wabasso community in her mother’s memory. Mrs. Wright choose her hometown community of Wabasso because she saw there was nothing positive for children to interact with except street corners and other non-productive behaviors. She did not want the children in the to be disadvantaged and without opportunity.
Wright opened the Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center on September 5, 2001 and has not looked back; the Center and the children are experiencing tremendous growth each year.
Since the opening the Center's participants are attending school on a more consistent basis as well as showing major improvements in their grades. In addition, for three consecutive years, all of the enrolled 3rd graders reportedly passed the FCAT. “It hasn’t always been easy starting and operating on a budget of $500 with $400 of that going to repairing the roof of a dilapidated building,” says Wright. The Dasie Hope Center started its first three years in a smal
l building with extensive structural damage. With Verna’s vision, local support, and community partnerships, the Dasie Hope Center was able to relocate into a more spacious building as well as build a new playground for the children.
Verna concludes, “There’s so much more to be done, but I knew I had to try my best to make a way because deep in my heart I felt the kids in Wabasso deserved an outlet and a chance at succeeding in life--just as my own mother once paved a way for me."