PACE Center for Girls Jacksonville is located in Duval County and was founded in 1985 by Vickie Burke. Since opening, PACE Jacksonville has served over 3,000 girls through three distinct components: Academic, Social Services and Transition Services.
PACE Jacksonville is one of 19 centers across Florida. For more information on our statewide organization, click here.
Follow PACE Jacksonville on Facebook to stay up-to-date with our upcoming events and check out photos of recent actitivites at our center.
With the track Melinda was on, many never thought she would graduate high school much less achieve anything more. On May 23, 2014 after PACE’s annual high school graduation ceremony staff received a surprise when they returned to the center. Melinda’s mother had dropped off her graduation announcement from Florida Coastal School of Law along with pictures in her cap and gown. She says she wanted to let PACE know that, “Melinda would have never achieved this without the help she received from PACE”.
Before coming to PACE, Melinda failed the 9th grade three times and was sent to an alternative school. Her mom found out about PACE from someone at work and she brought Melinda in. At first, Melinda says she was reluctant about coming to PACE but quickly realized how this was going to be a positive experience for her. Melinda saw right away that PACE staff cared about what she was doing, her grades, and whether or not she came to school. This was the first time in a while that she was being held accountable. Even though her mother cared, she always worked two or three jobs and just wasn’t able to be the force in Melinda’s life that was constantly making sure she was doing what she should. Melinda says about her time at PACE, “If you were 5 minutes late you had to answer to someone and then your parent had to answer too”.
"Melinda graduated from PACE in 9 months and says that it was the “bridge between others holding her accountable and becoming accountable for herself"
Melinda also credits the smaller classrooms and more one on one attention to helping her overcome her academic obstacles. Her counselor, Yvenia also played an important role in her time at PACE. Yvenia worked with Melinda’s mother to get her more engaged and she says it set the foundation for their relationship to change for the better. Melinda graduated from PACE in 9 months and says that it was the “bridge between others holding her accountable and becoming accountable for herself”.
Ever since Melinda was 6 years old she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. She graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law in May 2014 with several honors including Moot Court, Honor Board, Phi Delta Phi and Pro Bono. Melinda passed the Florida Bar and on April 20, 2015 she was sworn in by Judge Charles Cofer of the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Melinda now gives back by volunteering at PACE Jacksonville and is a role model for every girl that comes to PACE to change her life and become who she is destined to be.
How many girls served annually? Approximately 182
What is the average age? 15
Why do girls attend PACE Jacksonville? Girls attend PACE to get appropriate counseling and education in a nurturing environment. To become enrolled, they must be between 12 to 17 years old, at least one year behind in school, and have 4 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…
65% of our girls were failing one or more classes prior to coming to PACE
37% of our girls had a prior arrest before coming to PACE
29% of our girls used drugs and alcohol prior coming to PACE
What kind of success do girls have after leaving PACE?
93% had no involvement with Juvenile Justice within a year of leaving PACE!
91% were in school or employed three years after leaving PACE!
86% improved their academic performance!
2933 University Blvd N
Jacksonville, FL 32211
across from Jacksonville University
Phone: (904) 448-8002
Fax: (904) 448-2808
For enrollment referrals, please ask for:
(904) 448-8002 ext 3343
Gordon Bailey, Chair
Karen Nasrallah, Vice Chair
Cindy Edgar, Secretary
Rae Brown, Treasurer
Laura Gonzales, Past Chair
E. Andrus Healy
Chase B. Zimmerman