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About PACE Alachua


PACE Center for Girls Alachua is located in Gainesville, Florida and was founded in 1998 by Kathie Southwick. When Kathie retired after 17 years, she was thrilled to pass along the leadership of the center to our new Executive Director, Natalya Bannister. Since opening, PACE Alachua has served over 1,500 girls by providing holistic social, academic, and career-building services to girls in need in our community.

Our Passion
PACE Alachua is dedicated to serving at-promise girls by helping them find their voice and providing tools to help them reach their full potential. Most girls come to us at a very critical time in their lives. A time when they are faced with challenging decisions and life circumstances that could shape the course of their future. We in turn provide our girls with the support and resources they need to position them for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy.

Kenna's Story

Alachua KeenaKenna, came to us with social anxiety disorder that led her to be credit deficient for high school courses. At the height of her issues, she was unable to even attend school; her anxiety was so severe until being called upon in class resulted in her becoming physically ill resulting in her not wanting to attend school. Through counseling at PACE and the love and support of staff, teachers, and students, Kenna began to blossom in front of our eyes. Eventually, she participated in our fashion show, UF Homecoming parade and served as a keynote speaker at our largest fundraiser in front of over 400 attendees, the Throw a Girl a Lifeline Luncheon. Kenna is now back on track academically and set to graduate high school soon. In the words of Kenna,

"I can’t thank everyone here enough for helping me through my problems; everyone has them – we just have a little bit more."



How many girls served annually? Approximately 88
What is the average age? 15


Why do girls attend PACE Alachua? Girls attend PACE to get appropriate counseling and education in a nurturing environment. To become enrolled, they must be between 11 to 18 years old, at least one year behind in school, and have 3 or more risk factors.


What are risk factors? Risk factors are the underlying issues that lead girls to academic underachievement. These are issues such as: foster home placement, substance abuse (by girl or family member), domestic violence, incarceration of a family member, neglect, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, grief, emotional health concerns, low income, and more.


Think about these statistics…

15 is the average age of girls entering PACE

69% of girls were failing at least one class prior to attending

26% of girls have a prior arrest


What kind of success do girls have after leaving PACE?

95% had no involvement with Juvenile Justice within a year of leaving PACE!

93% were in school or employed three years after leaving PACE!

83% improved their academic performance!




natalya bannister framedNatalya Bannister   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1010 SE 4th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601

Phone: 352-374-8799

For enrollment referrals, please ask for:

Taylor Kennedy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

352-374-8799 Ext. 8721


Follow PACE Alachua on Facebook to stay up-to-date with upcoming and recent activities at this center!


 Supported by the Alachua County Board of County Commission's Community Agency Partnership Program




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