PACE Center for Girls Volusia – Flagler began serving girls and young women in 1996. Christina Davenport was the first President and Carol Wick was the first Executive Director. The Center was initially housed on Magnolia Street in Daytona Beach, and moved to the Maude Rigby Center in Ormond Beach in 2006. The current Chair of our Board of Directors, Eveline Kraljic is Chief Operating Officer at the Council on Aging of Volusia County, Inc. She is a human resources professional and is active in the Volusia/Flagler Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management and Toastmasters at Twelve, an affiliate of Toastmasters International, a public speaking and leadership organization. Eveline has been a Junior Achievement Volunteer Educator and was selected as part of the Leadership Daytona Class XXXVI. She has been on the Volusia-Flagler PACE Board since 2013 and is the mother of a young daughter.
Since our founding, the Volusia – Flagler Center has served more than 1,200 girls. We are proud of the accomplishments of our girls, many of whom have finished high school, are employed or continuing their education. A member of the Class of 2005, Stephanie Combs shared this story of how PACE helped her transform her life.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional household as many children do today. My father was an alcoholic, IV drug user and my mother suffered from poly-substance abuse. My brothers and I were often left to fend for ourselves. My parents never showed love to us or each other. My father would often physically abuse my mother and older brothers in front of me. My brothers and I began drinking alcohol and abusing drugs as early as twelve. My parents were so wrapped up in their addiction they never noticed our drug use nor did they oppose it when they did. When I was 14 I was arrested with my oldest brother and my father, and I had to spend a month in the Juvenile Detention Center. While there, I missed the first semester of my freshman year and decided not to return to high school upon my release.
About four months after my release I decided that I wanted to go back to school. I had a friend that went to PACE and loved it. I looked up the number myself and called to set up my intake appointment. It took all I had to get my mother up to take me that day and that day forever changed my life. I started PACE in Jan. 2003; I was half a year behind in school and emotionally destroyed. At PACE I attended multiple counseling sessions each week where I was allowed to express myself freely. I was allowed to be angry, or sad, and I always had a shoulder to cry on. The staff became my rock. They encouraged me to be a better me. I was also able to be a fourteen year old girl. I could be silly or catty and it was okay. I didn’t have to be the parent for those 8 hours. PACE was my second home, my favorite home! Above all PACE showed me love and compassion. People who didn’t even know me loved me, and for the first time I actually knew what love was. Most importantly I never felt judged!
"Above all PACE showed me love and compassion. People who didn’t even know me loved me, and for the first time I actually knew what love was. Most importantly I never felt judged!"
I very well could have continued the same lifestyle my parents did. My oldest brother has spent almost his entire life in prison, and my other brother passed away when I was 19. I tried to change cycle for my youngest brother who I raised, and I can’t express how grateful I am that this program existed. I don’t know where I would be if I had continued on the path I was on. PACE not only helped me academically and emotionally, I was taught life skills, I learned about credit cards and budgeting. At 15 I was clean and sober, I got a job and participated in a work experience program they started at PACE for a while. I moved in with an older cousin and was on my own. I was happy and independent. Over the past 10 years since my graduation I have become a mother, attended college and have had the same job for eight years. I currently work in the emergency department at a major hospital and will be applying for the nursing program in May. I am a PACE success story.
How many girls served annually? Approximately 121
What is the average age? 15
Why do girls attend PACE Volusia-Flagler? 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…
75% of our girls were failing one or more classes prior to coming to PACE
31% of our girls had a prior arrest before coming to PACE
20% of our girls used drugs and alcohol prior coming to PACE
What kind of success do girls have after leaving PACE?
89% had no involvement with Juvenile Justice within a year of leaving PACE!
86% improved their academic performance!
85% were in school or employed three years after leaving PACE!
208 Central Avenue
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
For enrollment referrals, please ask for:
386-944-1111 Ext. 1120