Power Purpose Connection

2022 Impact Report

Across our Programs, Pace Served


Girls each year


Girls since 1985

Letters from the

Executive Leadership Team

Mary Marx
President & CEO
Read Letter
Thresa Giles
Chief Financial/Business Operations Officer
Read Letter
Yessica Cancel
Chief Operating Officer
Read Letter
Teddy Thompson
Chief Advancement Officer
Read Letter

Letter from the

President & CEO

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As we face continued global uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, we draw power from our girls who choose to show up every single day. They recognize they have an important role to play as young leaders — using their voices to make a difference in their families, schools, and communities. More importantly, they believe they can be part of the solution, as changemakers in our society.

Advocating for our girls is at the core of our mission, and attention to existing gender inequities impacting our girls continues to be a priority at Pace. We set forth a leadership credo grounded in our values and guiding principles. With our girls, in the communities we serve and in our daily workspaces, we rely on our values to direct us toward fulfilling our shared purpose.

We proved this year that times of great challenges often inspire great innovation. This year marked the first global application of our approach, partnering with IREX through a Community Collaboration Impact Grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of State to share our model with girls in Bhutan. At home, we furthered our goal of serving more girls in more communities as we expanded our counseling and therapeutic services for girls in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In partnership with The PLAYERS Championship Village, we are addressing disparities in access to substance abuse prevention and intervention services for girls in Northeast Florida.

Our work and the future of our girls remains grounded in celebrating not only empowerment, but real, lived power. Our girls must not only benefit from policies but also use their voices and lived experiences to design those policies. In 2022, our advocacy work gave young people the ability to have their record expunged, removing a substantial barrier to college admission and employment for some 26,000 Florida youth.

We are grateful for the support and resilience of our team, board members, partners, volunteers and donors. Your support is what inspires us to do more, to reach more girls, and to ensure hope for the future.


Letter from the

Chief Financial/Business Operations Officer

Dear Friends and Supporters,

At Pace, we believe all girls and young women, regardless of their circumstances, should be cared for, supported, and encouraged to become the best versions of themselves. Our society depends not only on a woman’s ability to access opportunity but also on her ability to take charge of her own story and future. When it comes to the future of Pace—there is one engine that will continue to drive it: the power of our girls and young women. 

As the Chief Financial Officer for this great organization, I’m uniquely positioned to understand the historical performance, the current financial position and the opportunities for future financial performance and health. 

We left FY21 strong despite the obstacle of a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social unrest. We entered FY22 strong not only financially but also compliance driven.

I truly believe that culture drives our team’s behavior and over the last two years collaboration and feedback has been engrained in how we operate. To achieve and maintain the highest level of impact either financial or compliance, the team’s mindset must be focused holistically. 

Strengthening our base remains critical in ensuring we have a stable foundation as we grow in new communities and serve more girls. Our business operations are grounded in cost avoidance, effective infrastructure and, most importantly, an investment in our team and our girls’ futures. 

  • Our finance team secured a clean and strong financial and compliance audit, noting complete forgiveness of Pace’s Paycheck Protection Loan and securing an employee retention tax credit.
  • We created a cyber task force securing the safety of our data, team and, most importantly, our girls.
  • We leveraged various software platforms and data sources with business intelligence to expand comprehensive and efficient reporting for all of Pace.

We addressed the rise in inflation, the increased strain on employee retention and safeguarded our financial position. We trust in our results and in our girls to hold ourselves accountable. 

I believe in our mission, our staff, and our girls. I look forwarded to another amazing year serving girls.


Letter from the

Chief Operating Officer

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This past year has clearly demonstrated the need for us to unite in support of our girls — and the untold millions struggling with similar challenges amid a growing youth mental health crisis. Now in 23 communities and growing, Pace’s model is holistically positioned to meet girls where they are both physically and developmentally, ensuring socioeconomic barriers don’t limit access to critical mental health services.

Our work is grounded in going beyond the numbers, and intentionally listening to our girls and team members about their lived experiences. We addressed structural, cultural, and relational shifts to better meet the needs of team members and girls. Facing new challenges, we invested in team member acquisition and retention, recognizing the adverse mental health impacts on our team during times of crisis and economic uncertainty. Mental well-being is at the foundation of everything we do, and our staff can’t care for our girls unless we care for them first.

We must continue to ensure that our girls and fellow constituents are true participants in evaluating impact. This past year, we partnered with Stanford Social Innovation Review to report new evidence that participant feedback can provide a proxy for future outcomes.

In this year’s impact report, our girls share how their social impact goals are turning into reality. Girls like Alivia, now a sophomore at Fort Valley State University, who testified at the Georgia Legislature to advocate for an increase in mental health funding: “At times, I don’t realize how much I’ve gone through, because I don’t want it to define me, but my story is important. I hope it can inspire others to recognize the power of their own story. I am the most resilient person I know and because of Pace, I can recognize that.”

We see every moment and new day as an opportunity for change as we work to inspire and connect the next generation of social innovators, industry disruptors, mothers, leaders, and advocates.


Letter from the

Chief Advancement Officer

Dear Friends and Supporters,

During times like these, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenges we face, and the speed of each new crisis. When I see our girls exploring careers in healthcare, having access to workforce certificate programs, developing self-efficacy, and most importantly, supporting one another.

The UN General Assembly set a goal in 2015 to achieve global gender equality by 2030. But now at the halfway point, girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges and barriers to accessing their potential; made worse by simultaneous crises of COVID-19 and economic instability.

We are intentional in listening and learning from our girls and constituents to respond to trauma and understand individuals lived experiences. Our partners share our vision for systemic change and understand the importance of conducting participatory research — used to improve the well-being of girls not only at Pace but within greater communities.

Our partners are generous not only with their resources, but in innumerable other ways—as advocates of our movement, mentors for our girls, and real agents of change in their industries and communities. As demonstrated by Ashbritt and Broward College, who teamed up this year to create an emergency management certification and career pathway for our girls, breaking barriers to a historically male-dominated industry.

Girls like Libby, a senior at Pace who plans to join the Air Force, and her wise words reflect what the future will look: “There are more women and girls doing things that statistics say men should do. We are saying, no, I can do just as much as you can. Pace showed me the leader that I can be.”

Our girls are ready for a decade of acceleration forward. Your support is critical in helping more girls find their power. As Pace grows to serve more girls in more communities, human connection is more important than ever to ensure our impact is sustainable.

Our Stories


Pace Broward


Zharia came to Pace with anxiety and depression and had trouble interacting socially. These challenges impacted her attendance. She shared that she did not feel well and, over time, began to seek support from her counselor and other staff members. As time passed, she began to use her voice, especially when sharing her love of designing, drawing, and painting. With consistent support, Zharia excelled and successfully graduated with the Class of 2022 and is currently studying graphic design at Broward College.


Pace Citrus


“My name is Dorothy, and I am 15. I came to Pace because my grades were bad at the school I was attending. After I was exposed to Covid, I tried to complete assignments on my iPad, but it was a struggle, and I was unable to pass my classes. I came to Pace looking for a new opportunity. Pace has given me the skills that I needed to become a leader and to be a better student. I plan to go back to high school, go on to college, and become a marine biologist.”


Pace Clay


“When I first started at Pace I was in a bad spot. My mom went to jail, and I had to move in with my grandma. Everyone at Pace made me feel welcome from day one. They treated me like family and were always there to help. When I got pregnant, I didn’t think I would finish high school, but the team at Pace gave me the support and courage to reach my goal of graduating on time. I walked the graduation stage with my son in my arms. I am very thankful for Pace. They changed my life and helped me grow into the woman I am today.”


Pace Collier


Sheyley had been dealing with mental health issues and engaging in harmful behaviors including running away and skipping school. Her parents brought her to Pace for a positive environment where she would receive the support she needed with academics, counseling, and life skills services. “Pace helped me value myself and my life. I connected a lot with some of the staff who were very supportive of everything, always giving me good advice. Pace helped me take responsibility for my actions and not blame anyone else but me.”


Pace Escambia-Santa Rosa


“Enrolling in Pace was the best decision for me. Before Pace, I was skipping school every day and my grades were quickly going downhill. My mental health was getting worse and I was very unmotivated. I wanted to drop out of school completely. My friend, who attended Pace, asked me to enroll. Since the first day I arrived, I have never been so motivated. The teachers and students are so welcoming. I have never been to a school that helps you with schoolwork but also helps you with yourself. Everyone here just wants you to succeed and celebrates your accomplishments. I now know what I want to do in my future and it's because of Pace. I am so thankful that I can experience the Pace girl life and create so many memories here!”


Pace Hernando


“My name is Liah and I am a Senior at Pace, Hernando. Pace gave me a fresh start after I had given up on everything. Before Pace, a traumatic experience took my ‘childhood’ too soon. I was a straight ‘A’ student, but by sophomore year, everything went downhill. No one believed I could recover, except for Pace. Pace gave me eye-opening opportunities that prepared me for the future. I met my Senator, took a college tour, and participated in working with Arc, an organization advocating for those with disabilities. Now, my goal is to graduate and make my family proud. I am beyond thankful for everything that Pace has done for me.”


Pace Hillsborough


“I am so thankful for Pace. I enrolled because I was failing and needed to make up credits, but I got so much more than just credits. The staff really believed in me and helped me put my life back on track. During a Pace career fair, I met a recruiter for the military. I knew right away that I wanted to go into the Army. Pace helped me graduate a year early and I followed my dream and enlisted in the Army. Since joining the Army, I have had so many amazing experiences and lessons, traveling across the country, and even living in South Korea for a year. While in the Army, I will be attending nursing school. I am so thankful for the opportunities and support that I received at Pace.”


Pace Jacksonville


“I am a proud Pace girl. Like many students, I started virtual school during the pandemic but found it to be very challenging. My grades were suffering and I needed something different. When I found Pace, I knew things were going to change. The encouragement of the staff and the girls helped me learn more about myself and my family. My two younger sisters also attend Pace and I see how this environment is best for our family. My future is bright because I am becoming more mature and have the confidence to handle anything life might throw my way.”


Pace Lee


Shade came to Pace after living in a dysfunctional home environment. By the time she was placed in a stable home environment, she was skipping school, failing 7th grade, and at risk of not being promoted to the 8th grade. Now, as a result of Pace, Shade has nearly perfect attendance, an A/B average, and has learned to advocate for herself and Pace in the community. “I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t come to Pace.”


Pace Leon


“Before coming to Pace, I was feeling depressed. I did not want to come to school or do my work. But coming to Pace has helped me realize all the resources available to me to get where I want to be and begin thinking about my future and career. I want to be a psychologist and a therapist. I may even be a counselor at Pace someday.”


Pace Macon


When McKenzie came to Pace, she hoped to learn to effectively communicate with her peers and she worked with her therapist to identify situations in her life that went poorly due to communication barriers. Over several months, McKenzie learned how to identify her needs and share her points of view harmoniously. She learned how to craft ‘I’ statements, use words and phrases to diffuse a situation, adjust her body language, and practice active and reflective listening. “Pace taught me to avoid situations that could escalate into something unsafe or get me into trouble. I learned when and how to walk away from situations, and the importance of communicating better with family and classmates.”


Pace Manatee Alumna


Growing up in an immigrant family, Lizeth wanted to be the first in her family to graduate from high school but struggled with testing. “You guys were on me – I hated it then, but now I am glad you did! Ms. Mercedes, my Counselor, worked through things and even helped me after school. Pace gave me the time I needed and helped me grow personally. I’m now attending the Cosmetology Program at Manatee Technical College while working part-time at a salon. Pace even provided a scholarship for me to attend!” When asked what brings her joy, Lizeth responded “I’ve been able to do new things with my life because of Pace.”


Pace Marion


“My parents decided to take me out of my public school and send me to Pace Marion. At first, I was too shy to let myself begin a new adventure at Pace or to get to know girls who were going through similar experiences as me. But then I quickly made new friends and now have the drive to graduate early, accomplish milestones, and be a leader for myself and other young girls. I am proud I have become someone who is a good example of how Pace helps girls like me.”


Pace Miami


“Before Pace, I was quiet, I didn’t like talking to people and I was a troublemaker. I would constantly skip school and I was failing. I wasn’t even supposed to graduate this year, I was that far behind. Since coming to Pace, the staff has accepted me with an open heart. They made me feel comfortable here and I was able to be my true self. I suffer from a neurodivergent disorder, which causes me to have social and academic issues. Pace worked with me and created an environment where I could do my best. They somehow made school my safe space and now, I am thriving.”


Pace Orange


“I’m Janaya and I have been at Pace for two years. At first, I was worried about being at an all-girls school. I was shy and didn’t know how to talk to people, having been homeschooled since fifth grade. It took me some time to come out of my shell, but Pace really helped me. Pace has the most caring, supportive, funny, and loving staff. Even when I was at my lowest, Pace helped lift me up. I found myself here when I didn’t know where to stand. Pace is like my second home, my second family.”


Pace Palm Beach


“My childhood was spent in a very toxic household. Growing up, I experienced lots of substance, emotional, and physical abuse. These harmful living conditions led me down the wrong path and I began doing drugs, failing all of my classes, and skipping school. My mental health needs at the time were not being met which resulted in a call to the police. In the police car, I met an officer who encouraged me to seek help at Pace Center for Girls. The positive and supportive environment I experienced at Pace allowed me to focus on my academics and mental health and I graduated in 2022 with my High School diploma as Pace Palm Beach’s valedictorian.”


Pace Pasco


“Before Pace, I was getting in trouble and not keeping up my grades in school. I love to learn but struggle with learning in public school. My teachers at Pace push me to be my best and work with students like me, as individuals. Most importantly, the lessons they teach go beyond textbooks, and the wisdom they share is invaluable. Their confidence in my ability to reach my goals helps me to believe in myself. Being a Pace girl has empowered me to be fearless!”


Pace Pinellas


“My name is Audree, and I am in 10th grade. I hope to graduate in 2023 or 2024. Pace has helped me in so many ways starting with my academics. I have caught up in my classes because I am able to work at my own speed. Pace also encourages me to succeed in life, giving me access to counselors who I can talk to about anything. These resources have helped me so much mentally. Because of my experience, I want to be a therapist or counselor one day.”


Pace Polk


“Before coming to Pace, I struggled with focusing on my goals. I struggled with life's stress, and how I coped was harmful mentally and physically; I felt very lost and alone. Since coming to Pace, I have grown so much. Pace has taught me that I am worthy and that my happiness and well-being are as important as anyone else's. Our teachers are attentive to what makes me unique and have helped me learn to advocate for myself. Being a Pace girl to me means being confident and knowing my self-worth.”


Pace South Carolina


In previous school settings, Kamiah struggled with behavioral issues. It wasn’t until Pace that she found her footing and reclaimed her mental health. “Mental health is one of the most important things in the world, without your mental health being stable, nothing else in your life is going to be stable. Pace provides so much support. When you’re here, you build a family. It’s a comfortable space where you can talk to people.”


Pace Treasure Coast


Prior to coming to Pace, Yullissa was severely truant. Yullissa and her family were struggling with basic needs and school was not a priority. Working to help provide for the family took precedence. This resulted in her being behind academically. While at Pace, we connected her and her family to the McKinny-Vento Assistance program, linked her to additional mental health resources, and helped provide a flexible school environment. Through hard work and support, Yullissa graduated in May 2022.


Pace Leon Social Service Counselor

Niykeal Westberry

“Pace has helped me focus on my growth and development as a counselor as well as a human being. Coming to Pace, I was a completely different person than I am today. I have grown in many areas, including dealing with difficult situations and de-escalating moments of high stress or emotion.”


Pace Manatee Teacher

Leah Coffman

“I chose Pace because I wanted to surround myself with like-minded individuals working towards the same goal… changing the world one girl at a time. Girls are frequently left behind with no recognition for their talents or abilities; I'm here to help create those opportunities. I was a teenage girl and I find it much easier to relate to them, especially when what they need most is a person to talk to.”


Pace Pinellas Counselor

Bailey Spenlau

“A core reason I work with Pace Center for Girls is that Pace provides young women with an opportunity for growth. All young ladies that have the privilege to attend Pace are met with compassion, humility, and encouragement. Pace embodies a holistic and authentic approach to supporting each student in the best way possible. We meet a student where they are; regardless of their story, providing them with the support and guidance to grow into strong, caring, and successful young women. While some days are challenging, I find joy in being able to partner with young ladies who are choosing a better life for themselves.”

Once a Pace Girl, Always a Pace Girl

A Conversation with Anita Crumbacker, Pace Class of 1985

In 1985, Pace Center for Girls, then called Practical and Cultural Education, was a new organization looking to help girls in the juvenile justice system by giving them an education and a new outlook on life.


“I didn’t want to go to school. I wanted to be like every other young person that I was around. I wanted to be free, do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it,” shared Anita Crumbacker, who had run away from home after being kicked out of high school during her junior year.


Anita eventually ended up in a detention center and the judge gave her two options: stay in the detention center until she was 18 or go back to school. That was when Pace came to interview her for the first time.


With only 10 slots to fill in the original Pace class, Anita met Vicki Burke, Pace’s founder, who explained to her the new Pace model, offering her a high school diploma and an opportunity for a better future. Vicki was a passionate young social worker who saw the inequities in the treatment of girls by the juvenile justice system and had the courage to bring about change.


Anita started her senior year at Pace with Vicki, three teachers, and nine other girls. They met in an upstairs classroom at the Snyder Memorial Methodist Church in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Pace’s vision was to ensure that their futures were bright, the obstacles they were facing were addressed, and their needs were taken care of.


“I thank Vicki for believing in us. She saw a vision that nobody else saw, and she has helped so many young ladies,” shared Anita.


With only two weeks left before graduating, Pace helped Anita land her first job as a mail opener at Illinois State Scholarship Commission. She would eventually become a business analyst at the same company, working there for the next 16 years. Later, she worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield and Jones College where she had the opportunity to go back to school and obtain her bachelor’s degree in business.


“In the back of my mind, I always wanted to go back to Pace, to give back what was given to me,” she said.


I thank Vicki for believing in us. She saw a vision that nobody else saw, and she has helped so many young ladies.


In 2021, Anita joined the Pace Jacksonville team as a resource coordinator. The Pace she now knows looks very different from the one she had attended, with 21 centers in Florida as well as serving communities and school districts in Georgia and South Carolina. But the core values and principles that Pace was founded on remain the same.


Anita is inspired to show Pace girls, many who come from backgrounds similar to her own, that a career and a future beyond the obstacles they have faced are possible.


“There’s nothing more powerful than when I see a girl come into Pace that has had her back against the wall and then I look up and she’s back in school, or in law school, or trying to become a nurse or have a career that’s going to help someone else.”


Anita is still in close contact with three former students, including her best friend Erin and two staff members of the original group at Pace back in 1985. “From ‘85 to today, Pace has been a testimony to every girl that there is a future and hope,” Anita concluded.


Our Work

Expanding Pace Beyond our Walls to Tackle

The Youth Mental Health Crisis


Pace Reach Services was launched in 2009, with the goal of serving girls in need of mental health and other support services. Since its inception, the Reach Program has grown to serve more than 17 communities, some without existing centers, serving an average of 1,100 girls per year.


Due to the challenges over the past few years created by the recent pandemic, girls are struggling now more than ever with mental health needs. These challenges have created setbacks in their emotional and educational development.


The expansion of Pace Reach into new areas of Florida, Georgia, and now South Carolina helped to bring support to these girls who otherwise would have been overlooked and underserved. With the addition of South Carolina and new counties in Georgia, Pace Reach has grown six percent in 2022.


To illustrate the impact of the Reach Program, we spoke with Kamiah, a junior at Alfred Rush Academy in Florence, South Carolina where she spends two days a week in the Pace Reach Program. In previous school settings, Kamiah struggled with behavioral issues. It wasn’t until Pace that she found her footing and reclaimed her mental health. “Mental health is one of the most important things in the world,” said Kamiah, “without your mental health being stable, nothing else in your life is going to be stable.”


“You feel like you have voices behind your voice,” Kamiah says, while reflecting on the relationships she’s developed through Pace Reach. “When you’re here, you build a family. It’s a comfortable space where you can talk to people.”


As Pace continues to change the trajectory of girls and young women in diverse and unique states and municipalities, we continue to develop partnerships with key stakeholders. These advocates have helped us better understand the needs of each area we serve, developing solutions that best serve these girls and young women, strengthening the future for girls, as well as the communities in which they live. 


“Prior to Pace, my family and I had been facing some challenges—a lot of it came from financial struggles. The tipping point was the eviction, which hit me really hard. I felt guilty. I prided myself on being an overachieving 16-year-old, and I believed I could have done something to prevent this situation,” shared Alivia, an alumna of the Pace Reach Program in Macon, GA. 


“Through Pace, I learned the value of self-care. I learned my worth and how to give myself the credit I deserve. My favorite quote that my counselor told me was: ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.’ She helped me reframe my circumstances and find the positive in every situation. She reinforced my determination to never give up. I learned to prioritize myself and my mental health on the path to self-discovery.”


As we continue to expand our services through the Pace Reach model, we recognize the need to bolster, enhance, and expand our Reach services is even more imperative. Our goal is for more girls to experience therapeutic counseling services geared to their unique needs and circumstances. Pace understands the importance of applying approaches that are specifically tailored to girls, that focus on their strength to address the challenges, and that work in communities to understand. We recognize that if our girls are to reach their potential, we must provide the support services needed to help them find their strength, power, and success.

CENTER Day Program

Pace’s center-based day program provides year-round education, counseling, and life skills training for a comprehensive and individualized experience for middle and high school-age girls.


Girls served



8 in 10

Were failing school six months prior to attending Pace


8 in 10

Demonstrated behaviors related to

juvenile delinquency


9 in 10

Were disengaged in school and community life



8 in 10

Improved academically*
*Measured by Florida STAR testing


7 in 10

Strengthened or maintained self-efficacy, the belief
that you can succeed


8 in 10

Are engaged in their community, measured by being
enrolled in school, higher education, or employment

REACH Program Services

Pace Reach is a therapeutic and counseling program offering social, emotional, and behavioral health and support services for girls ages 11–17 and their families. Reach therapists provide services in the home, school or community, and also meet with girls online.


Girls served



6 in 10

Were feeling sad or hopeless, including thoughts of self-harm


5 in 10

Were disengaged in school and community life



8 in 10

Improved healthy social relationships with peers
and family members


8 in 10

Are engaged in their community,
measured by an increase in healthy behaviors


Listening Practices: A Cornerstone at Pace

When we listen to our participants, families, and team members, we can more fully enrich their lives by working together to support their outcomes. Pace has developed the capacity to listen, reflect, and act on the feedback received from girls, their families, team members, and community partners and use it as a tool to build equitable evidence. Feedback is core to our learning agenda and contributes to quality improvement efforts, innovation, and social impact. Functionally, feedback links the day-to-day work of our team members to our mission by bringing participant voices to the table when discussing issues affecting program implementation.

During the past year, our ability to use feedback has been highlighted in different forums. Pace participated in the Feedback+Summit in Jacksonville and shared how our team members collaborate with the Girls Leadership Councils—a selected group of girls working on developing their leadership qualities—to rethink caregiver engagement, reconsider criteria for program enrollment or transition, and even select team members and food vendors. We also published ‘The Hard Virtues of Soft Program Measures’ in the Stanford Social Innovation Review to demonstrate how we are leading a movement where the voices of program participants are being empowered by demonstrating how they can inform outcomes.

Specifically, we shared how we used Participatory Action Research, surveys, and focus groups to gain insights into how girls from different groups—race, age, and length of time in the program—experience services and how we respond using feedback to enhance experiences impacting their outcomes. Moreover, we attended the Building Evidence to Advance Equity convening sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation where we connected with nonprofits from across the US and exchanged learnings describing how participatory evaluation and feedback deeply support equitable practices.

Looking forward, Pace’s research and evaluation agenda will continue supporting listening practices as a cornerstone. Pace girls will continue to participate in program evaluation activities by vetting questions included in surveys and focus groups and supporting data collection activities. We are committed to engaging in discussions about the findings with different stakeholders, including girls, team members, and community partners to provide contextual meaning and develop potential solutions.

Our Partnerships

If She Can See It, She Can Be It

Breaking Barriers in a Historically Male-Dominated Industry


Over the course of two years at Pace Broward, Karla has experienced amazing growth in her understanding of herself, her goals, and what it will take to achieve them.


Prior to coming to Pace, Karla struggled to feel like she fit in. She first found out about Pace as she was navigating challenges related to her identity. “I’m a Black woman of Brazilian descent and my culture often isn’t represented,” she shared. Looking back on her journey, Karla is grateful for the sense of community Pace has offered her, describing the culture as “supportive, inclusive and diverse.”


“Pace has been like a second family, especially for those who don’t have a good family at home,” she said. “At Pace I feel comforted, loved, and supported. We really look up to Pace staff and respect and support them.”


One of the largest catalysts for change in Karla’s Pace experience has been her participation in the extensive life-skills training and career preparation. When she came to Pace, teachers and counselors helped her update her resume and successfully find a part-time after school job, where she works today.


It’s through Pace’s Healthy Youth Transitions Program that Karla first learned about the Emergency Management Program (EMP) created in partnership with Broward College and emergency management and logistics firm AshBritt.


The workforce certificate program is designed to familiarize girls with the abundant career opportunities available in the well-paying emergency management industry.


Given that her father works with generators and supports hurricane preparedness, emergency management immediately caught Karla’s attention. Through Pace, Karla met emergency response professionals, attended a hurricane readiness convention, and had the opportunity to speak directly with individuals who work in the field.


“You don’t always see people working together in other jobs,” said Karla, describing how the teamwork exhibited by the emergency response workers jumped out at her. “If I didn’t come to Pace, I wouldn’t know about how the emergency response people work and how much they help each and every one of us.”


Not only was Karla impressed by the teamwork and commitment of emergency responders, she was also impressed by their collaboration with Florida’s government agencies, and felt represented by the amazing women leaders that make up so many emergency response teams in the state. One of those women is Brittany Castillo, Chief Executive Officer of AshBritt, who inspires Karla because “you don’t see many women running huge companies. It’s incredible. It makes me believe that if I can see it, I can be it.”


With all this new insight, Karla has big plans for the future. “I plan to attend Broward College after Pace, and then move on to Florida International University (FIU), where I want to pursue a degree in emergency management, or marketing,” she said. Since joining Pace, Karla has had the opportunity to tour both campuses with her career coach.


Karla feels that the skills she has learned at Pace will help make this bright future a reality saying, “I can get shy and anxious sometimes but knowing what I know about myself now, I plan to strive for leadership positions in the future.”


As Karla prepares herself for graduation and her next steps, she is immensely grateful for the Pace staff who have supported her along the way and encourages girls who have struggled to continue working towards bettering themselves.

“To anyone who is going through a hard time,” said Karla, “just remember to keep going. Your hard work will be worth it.”


“To my younger self I would say: ‘You’re going to make it, and you’re going to make it big.’”


State Farm Partnership Provides Opportunities for Girls to Impact Local Communities


For the second year, Pace partnered with State Farm on a state-wide service project with our girls. Service learning is a key component in the Pace program, helping connect our girls to the broader community and allowing them to explore how they can make an impact beyond themselves.


Texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, and fiddling with music – all common activities of teenagers – can have catastrophic results when driving. In recognition of Distracted Driving Month, girls completed lessons, crafted art projects, and heard from guest speakers including representatives from State Farm, and Cara Filler, America’s leading speaker on traffic safety and peer pressure. The project culminated in a display of our girls’ poster projects at the Florida State Capitol.


Kiya, a girl at Pace Pinellas, shared, “Do not answer because it doesn’t matter if you get a text from your mom, boyfriend, or anyone. If you are driving and you answer that text, any second, something could go wrong.”


“Working with Pace girls has been a memorable and rewarding experience,” said Jose Soto, State Farm Corporate Responsibility Analyst. This valuable partnership has truly helped our girls learn and create an impact beyond our centers.

Our Volunteers' Impact


Total accumulated volunteer hours


Total value of one volunteer hour*


Total Value

*Florida Dollar Value for one Volunteer Hour. SOURCE: Independentselector.org



One Person's Advocacy can Make a Difference


More than 20 years ago, a parent of a Pace Girl who was a co-worker of Mary Warner’s at CSX, approached her about starting a clothing closet for the girls at Pace Jacksonville. With two black garbage bags and a couple of volunteers, Ms. Mary began collecting clothes and bringing them to the center. As this labor of love grew, the clothing closet was officially renamed “Ms. Mary’s Boutique” in 2012.


Ms. Mary’s dream for the girls finally came true seven years later when Pace Jacksonville officially turned on the “OPEN” sign and became a permanent boutique for the girls. Ms. Mary has an army of volunteers who fell in love with her vision to serve our girls.


Mary Warner, a Pace Ambassador, continues to serve the girls and families of Pace Jacksonville, as well as the community by engaging volunteers to help the girls and young women of the Jacksonville community.



Our Financials



Revenue: $58,396,455



Expenses: $47,984,557


A New Year of Impact

As we head into 2023, Pace would like to extend our most sincere thanks to our donors and to our board members. Their tireless support ensures we can continue to support the great in every girl this year and every year. 

Click the link to the right to find a Pace location near you and learn more about our work. You can also meet our Board of Trustee members, as well as our 2022 donors!

Want to see your name on the 2023 donor list? Click the donate button below to support Pace’s work in 2023 and beyond!