Pathways to Success

2023 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
Teddy Thompson
Chief Program Officer
Read Letter

Letter from the

President & CEO

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Over the past few years, our girls have faced exceptional challenges that have had a profound impact on their daily lives. Stark findings on the pervasive sadness, suicidal thoughts and sexual violence experienced by teen girls have jolted communities and the wider public. While the youth mental health crisis touches every corner of society, we cannot overlook its disproportionate impact on girls.

To meet critical needs, we expanded our therapeutic and mental health services in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Now in 23 communities and growing, our Reach model is holistically positioned to meet the individual needs of girls both physically and developmentally, ensuring socioeconomic barriers don’t limit access to crucial mental health services. One such example is our partnership with THE PLAYERS Championship Village, where we are working to bridge the gap in access to substance abuse prevention and intervention services.

What continues to distinguish Pace is our evidence-based approach. We make a deliberate effort to listen and learn from our girls and stakeholders, enabling us to effectively address trauma and ensure evidence of our social impact. Through our advocacy efforts, we have actively confronted systemic barriers that affect the environments and communities of our girls, especially those with limited resources.

In that spirit, I am proud to share that this year, we hosted Pace’s inaugural Girls Leadership Institute. This institute brought together girls from communities across Florida to learn, grow, and build the leadership skills necessary to drive positive transformation within their families, schools, and communities.

We firmly believe that strong education skills, coupled with positive mental health outcomes, are the cornerstone of our work with girls. Our team's ability to care for our girls hinges on our ability to attract and retain top talent and this year we placed an emphasis on ensuring our compensation remained competitive in both the education and mental health arenas.

I invite you to explore this year's impact report, where you will find the remarkable stories of young women who, in the face of adversity, charted unique and personalized pathways on their journeys toward success. Our commitment to providing girls with access to higher education, vocational and trade opportunities is not just a mission, but a vision for a more inclusive and empowered future.

We cannot do this important work without the support of individuals like you, who believe in our mission and share our vision for a brighter future for all girls. Your continued support is invaluable, and we are deeply grateful for your commitment to Pace.

Mary Marx, President & CEO of Pace Center for Girls


Letter from the

Chief Financial/Business Operations Officer

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As the Chief Financial Officer of this esteemed organization, I possess a unique vantage point for comprehending its historical performance, current financial standing, operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, overall risk exposure, and prospects for future financial health.

In FY23, our strategic focus extended beyond financial well-being to encompass three pivotal areas: Cyber Security, Risk Management, and Operational Compliance. This emphasis yielded the most significant impact on cost savings within our insurance liability and technology spheres. Notably, we successfully mitigated organizational risk, resulting in a 20% reduction in liability insurance costs.

My leadership philosophy for the Business Services Division of Pace revolves around achieving cost reductions, enhancing cost efficiency, maximizing value, and ensuring effectiveness. When executed at the highest level of efficiency, this approach instills confidence in our donors, assuring them that their contributions are dedicated to advancing the mission and vision of Pace.

The future of our communities lies in the hands of our girls, and I consider it my responsibility to facilitate their goal attainment through the stewardship of a robust and financially stable organization. I take pride in highlighting the following accomplishments for FY23:

  • No material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting or compliance were identified during the FY23 audit.
  • Net Assets witnessed a commendable increase of $4.5 million in FY23.
  • Revenue experienced a noteworthy surge of $7.5 million in FY23.
  • The management expense ratio stands at a praiseworthy 14%, surpassing the best practice benchmark of 25% or below.
  • The program expense ratio is maintained at a solid 80%.
  • The completion and occupation of the Pace Clay building by our staff and girls mark a significant milestone.

My unwavering belief in our vision and mission is eclipsed only by my profound faith in the potential of our girls.

Thresa Giles


Letter from the

Chief Program Officer

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I'm honored to be speaking to you in my new role as the Chief Program Officer of Pace Center for Girls. Our organization has experienced remarkable growth and transformation since 2018, when I first joined as the Chief Advancement Officer. In my new capacity, I have the privilege of directing my focus toward the dedicated individuals who make our mission possible: our team members. We know that investing in our team is investing in our common future.

Pace’s impact extends far beyond our organization and reaches into the very heart of the 23 communities we serve. The past few years have presented unprecedented challenges, including a concerning surge in mental health issues among students nationwide, leading to alarming national school dropout rates. The statistics are sobering, but we know preventive and intervention measures can change these outcomes.

As we continue to expand our counseling and therapy programming in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, we do so with the mission of connecting girls with the resources they need to realize their full potential, regardless of who they are, or where they live.

The results of our efforts are evident in the transformative improvements among our girls. Eight out of 10 girls successfully graduate from high school, pursue higher education, or secure employment after completing our programs. They are the leaders, mothers, and community influencers who are shaping a brighter future for all of us.

However, we cannot achieve this alone. The economic and societal repercussions of leaving the girls behind who need us most is substantial. We depend on your support to implement proven models that don't just transform lives and communities today but for generations to come.

Thank you for being an integral part of our mission at Pace Center for Girls. Together, we can create a brighter, more equitable future for all.

Teddy Thompson

Hear from Our Pace Girls


Pace Broward


"In December of 2020 I started attending Pace at the age 15. I wasn’t sure who I was or what the future would hold. My mental health was declining, I was failing all my classes, and rarely went to school. Reserved and pessimistic I entered Pace. Pace shaped me into the person I am today. The staff taught me that it was okay to come out of my shell, it was okay to be loud and happy. They didn’t judge me for being just Karla. I thank them so much for helping me through my self-discovery. And let’s not forget the opportunities that Pace gave me: I did interviews, went to Pace Day at Capitol, and I was even featured in the Pace magazine. Pace has showed me so many amazing things life has to offer and now I’m going to take all that I have learned with me into my future."


Pace Citrus


“My name is Kiri, and I am 17. I’ve struggled with panic disorders, including agoraphobia, for as long as I can recall. School was overwhelming, and home wasn’t much better. This led me to Pace Citrus. At Pace, I can be myself; Pace provides me with the safe and supportive environment I crave and is preparing me for my future. I plan to pursue environmental science and eventually run a sustainable farm. It’s important to share my truth and what Pace has done for me; I admire the work of Pace and plan to pay it forward.”


Pace Clay


“Before coming to Pace, I had mental health and addiction struggles. I never expected to graduate from high school.  Since coming to Pace, I have learned to make friends, have more respect for myself, be open to change, and focus on what I need to do.  I learned to advocate for myself and be who I really am. I have made life-long friends who have made a positive impact on my life. Now, I am on track to graduate from high school a year early! I plan to attend St. John’s River State College and enter the medical field.”


Pace Collier


"Pace means a lot to me because Pace has helped me grow and realize my potential. Being at Pace encouraged me to never give up even through all the tough times and to 'grow through what you go through'. There are many things I'll take from Pace, but the most important one is to be myself. I have learned to be myself and to not change for people."


Pace Escambia-Santa Rosa


When I started at Pace, I was unaware of my worth, but now that I am a graduate, Pace has helped me see that I matter. I'd never seen a school care that much about its students. Pace is all about the girls, and as a former Pace girl, I can proudly say that I had a great experience. Seeing other girls be brave and open to growth showed me that I, too, could embrace growth and change. Pace helped me find my voice, and now I have a say in my life and have rewritten the narrative of my story! Thank you, Pace, for investing in my life and future and making me feel loved and valued.


Pace Hernando


Before I came to Pace, I was in an emotionally unsafe school environment. I was constantly bullied. One day, I was on the phone with a friend and she told me about Pace. My Mom and I came for a tour, and we loved it! I have come so far since enrolling at Pace. I have been given several opportunities including my recent trip to Pace’s National Office to represent Pace Hernando on the Girl’s Leadership Council. After completing high school this year at Pace, I would love to attend a trade school that offers automotive studies.


Pace Hillsborough


When Lana enrolled at Pace, she was on the brink of dropping out. With only a few credits and no motivation, Lana feared graduation was impossible. She faced so many challenges in her life, it was difficult to prioritize school. At Pace, Lana received the support she needed to work through her difficulties. She learned to cope with overwhelming emotions creating space to prioritize her academics. Through PaceWorks Lana learned more about her career interests, she toured colleges and universities and set her sights on a goal of becoming a nurse. Two years after enrolling at Pace, Lana proudly walked across the stage with the class of 2023. She will be studying nursing at a local college.


Pace Jacksonville


“Before I came to Pace I was skipping school every day, and had given up on my academics. I also had no voice for myself. When I first started at Pace, I thought it would be like any other school. I was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted with not just a school but a family. Pace helped me find my confidence and voice once again. I am forever grateful for all the opportunities Pace has given to me and all the girls.”


Pace Lee


Since enrolling at Pace in 2022, Rosayah says, “I have become a better version of myself. I remember when I couldn’t stay in class or school for a whole day.” Rosayah struggled in school, often spending time with a social worker until she could leave for the day. “Pace has helped me learn new coping skills that distract me when I’m feeling bad again. I have real friends who care about and genuinely enjoy being around me.”


Pace Leon

Paige and Asia

“When I first started here, I did not want to come. I was 14 years old in the 6th grade, but when I came here the teachers helped me work on my grades. My counselor also helped me so much because I was having trouble at home and getting to school. The staff here are helpful and really care. They made me realize that If I just wake up and come in, I already completed something.” - Asia, 16

“I came to Pace, and it was my first time in middle school. I was scared because I came from home school, but I felt comfortable being with my sister. I was not doing well academically, and was nervous about the work, but now I love Pace. My teachers and counselors help me even when I have my tough times at home and allow me to make up my work.” - Paige, 15


Pace Macon


Sakiyah was an honor student, varsity cheerleader, Prom Princess, Miss Southwest, and a student teller at a local bank. Despite her hard work and dedication, she experienced many challenges and felt real pressure from the high expectations set by her family and her community.   She was referred to Pace by a friend in the program. When Sakiyah began her Pace journey, she was looking for a safe place to talk about managing life stressors while creating feasible ways to achieve her goal of attending a four-year institution. Sakiyah graduated in the top 10 of her class this spring and is taking her academic excellence to Georgia Southern University.


Pace Marion


"I’m Kyleigh and I came to Pace Marion to overcome some challenging obstacles with my education. At public school, I had so much anxiety it would keep me distracted. But once I came to Pace I was able to open up more to my amazing counselor and I was able to make some good friends that shared the same traits as me. I am now almost caught up with all of my credits and I am about to graduate from high school. I plan on going to college and studying to become either an anesthesiologist or neurologist."


Pace Miami


"During my transformative journey at Pace Center for Girls Miami, I experienced an incredible level of academic and social support that changed the course of my life.  Since joining Pace Miami in 2017, I've come a long way from having just 7 high school credits to earning my high school diploma.  I enrolled at Florida International University, and obtained my bachelor’s degree this past July, and I'm now pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.  Pace equipped me with real-world skills, problem-solving abilities for personal and social challenges, as well as supportive academic administrators that I consider my fairy godmothers."


Pace Orange


For Shea, the road to success has never been an easy one. Navigating buses and trains, she begins her commute to Pace Orange at 5:00 am, traveling up to four hours every weekday to get from Deland to Winter Park. Shea’s story is one of resilience, determination, and the transformative power of education and holistic mental health support. “I come to Pace because I'm able to share my feelings and get good feedback that will help me in the future. I plan to go to Full Sail University after graduating high school because I've always loved music. It was always a big part of my life growing up because we didn't have money, we couldn't do a lot of things or go to a lot of places. Music was the one thing I could have for free.”


Pace Palm Beach


I remember being a little girl graduating from kindergarten thinking one day I would be a big girl graduating from high school. What I did not know then was that it would be a struggle to get here. Before coming to Pace, my high school time was filled with skipping and running away from school staff. By the time I got to Pace, I had failed every class, I was in 11th grade, and graduation was nowhere in my future from what I could imagine.

Transitioning to Pace was not smooth either because I was resistant to change. I wasn’t used to people caring, trying, or bothering me to get my stuff together. With the help of my team, I learned how to control my temper when things weren’t going my way and I learned to self-advocate. Soon, things began to look up for me. I was being given opportunities no one would have thought I would be, and my grades started to improve. I realized that graduation was possible. I even got honor roll and now I am a proud graduate of the Class of 2023!


Pace Pasco


“Before Pace, my life was sad. I almost dropped out before a counselor referred me to Pace. At first, I didn't like Pace. I didn't want to attend school, but the teachers changed me. They never gave up, even when I was ready to give up on myself. The staff cares and connects with their students. They're invested in your success and ensure you can have your desired future. I mentioned my passion for photography when asked about post-graduation. My counselor worked to obtain a camera, and now, I am enrolled in photography classes at Saint Pete College. Being a Pace girl means having the strength to never give up on yourself and having the confidence to pursue your dreams.”


Pace Pinellas


"I’m Akeeliah, I’m 15 years old and in the 10th grade. I’m in the Girls Leadership Council for Pace Pinellas. I just recently went to the Girls Leadership Institute at the National Office, and I look forward to sharing new ideas with my peers at Pace. The program has helped me to work at my own pace and reach my potential in school. The staff here motivate me to reach my academic goals and believe in myself. When I graduate, I plan to go to college, study entrepreneurship, and have my own clothing line."


Pace Pinellas Teacher


I am the Spirited Girls! teacher at Pace Pinellas and I enjoy being able to provide a holistic and creative environment for girls to discover their authentic selves.


Pace Polk


“Before coming to Pace, I struggled with anxiety and never felt I could be myself. I was nervous when I started. Once I saw how the staff engaged with the students instead of pushing them to the side, I knew I could ask for help. I could see how much the staff cared about the girls and how much the girls cared about each other. There are many reasons a girl could be at Pace, but at the end of the day, we're all women and lift one another up. All girls deserve the opportunity to start somewhere that will put them on the path to achieving their goals.”


Pace South Carolina


Trinity is an 8th grader participating in the Pace Reach Program. Prior to joining Pace, she was often suspended from school for her behavior. Trinity began working with her Pace Reach Therapist by setting goals. She’s been an active participant in her therapy sessions and even attends the Girls Circle groups with her peers. Trinity has found her voice and uses it to advocate for herself and others. She also uses the decision-making skills she learned in therapy which have helped her make positive choices and embrace growth and change. Trinity is now motivated to make good grades and engage in extracurricular activities including the cross-country team at her school.  She is proud of the young woman she has become and has dreams for her future.


Pace Treasure Coast


I was getting into trouble at school and eventually stopped going altogether, missing over a month of 10th grade. When I heard about Pace, I was skeptical, but after going for a few weeks I knew that it was the place for me. The staff all believed in me, and the small classes helped me focus. In May 2023, I became the first person in my family to graduate high school and am a proud role model for my younger siblings. The staff at Pace have a positive impact on me and continue to encourage me. Without Pace, I am not sure where I would be. 


Stories of Success

The Best is Yet to Come

How Pace Prepares Girls for their Individual Paths to Success




Emily, a recently graduated senior from Pace Broward, hadn’t attended school in two months before coming to Pace. She had recently lost someone close to her by suicide and felt hopeless.


Now, having graduated high school and been accepted to college, Emily recognizes that Pace “changed my mindset on how I see things. I wasn’t an optimist – I wasn’t able to see the positive side of things. Being here is a weird change, honestly, coming from a place that’s not supportive… everybody [at Pace] wants to be here and help the students.”


With the help of her Reach therapist, and her new teachers and peers, her life began to turn around as she started to see her own power and worth. She doesn’t dread the future – she’s excited about it.


Inspired by the impact her therapist had on her own life and mental health, Emily will begin studying Psychology at Broward College to one day become a therapist herself.


“Maybe I can help people and change the outcome so it’s not devastating to the person, the family, and people around them,” she said. Emily is receiving a scholarship from Pace to help with her college tuition, and her support team could not be prouder of her for using her experiences to make the world a better place.


With the end of her time at Pace upon her, Emily has sage advice for her younger self and for girls like her. Thanks to her time at Pace, she knows that mental health struggles don’t have to keep you from reaching your dreams.


“Things do change, and it’s not going to stay the same forever, even though it feels like it.”




For Toni, her future career in cosmetology – much like attending a Pace Center – is a family tradition. The recent Pace Broward graduate is excited to continue following in her mother’s footsteps by enrolling in cosmetology school after graduation.


“I’m excited because I get to go out in the real world and explore new things,” Toni said.


With her teachers’ help, Toni has been able to research different schools to find the right fit for her. Now, as Toni looks to the future, she’s reflecting on her past.


“I would tell my younger self to never give up on your dreams and keep going.”




Kennedy, a recent Pace Manatee graduate, earned her high school diploma while working at Starbucks part-time. She is currently enrolled at Hillsborough Community College and has begun the prerequisites for the Cardiac Catheterization Program.


Navigating Life's Challenges

A Journey Marked by Uncertainty Leads to Academic Success



Angel’s journey is marked by resilience. At a young age, she confronted formidable challenges that might have overwhelmed others. But Angel is not like many.


She found her way to Pace Pasco during the summer after sixth grade. When her previous middle school noticed her school attendance dropping, they suggested that she explore the option of joining Pace. Angel, though hesitant, decided to give it a try.


“During that period, my life was quite complex,” Angel reflected. “While I had maintained decent academic performance, I began to face challenges. I grappled with the temptation to skip school, turned to substances, and had many challenges at home. Additionally, my family faced chronic homelessness, compounding my difficulties.”


Angel’s early days at Pace were marked by uncertainty and adversity, but she had a fierce determination to rise above her circumstances. “My home necessarily wasn’t a safe environment and Pace provided me the safety I needed.”


“I became pregnant with my daughter shortly after enrolling at Pace and gave birth to her on the last day of school that academic year,” Angel recalled. “I was determined to get ahead academically and create a better future for my daughter.”


Pace became more than just a school for Angel; it was a lifeline that provided holistic support beyond what a typical educational institution offered. For Angel, Pace became a haven that understood her essential needs and went above and beyond to meet them.


Angel’s journey was far from conventional, but it was her unique path that set her apart. She graduated from high school at just 16 years old while working two jobs and enrolled at Florida State University, a testament to her unwavering dedication and the support she found at Pace. “Nobody in my family had gone to college. Pace taught me to care about my future.”


She proudly attributes her accomplishments to the foundation laid at Pace—a place that not only equipped her with academic skills but nurtured her emotional well-being and self-belief. “I think the most important part of Pace is the passion and the involvement of people that work there.”


Angel’s journey is an inspiration not only to herself but to everyone who crosses her path. Her story is proof that with the right guidance, a safe space to thrive, and a determination to succeed, anything is possible.


Today, Angel is a mother and a college graduate with plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration with a focus in nonprofit administration. She knows that her journey is far from over, and she is eager to give back to others what she has received herself.


“When I was a young girl, seeing how many people were so passionate about helping someone who needed it has really inspired me,” Angel said with a smile. “I’m hopeful one day life will come full circle, and I will be that for someone else.”


“From Pace’s founding in 1985 to today, Pace has been a testimony to every girl that there is a future and hope,” Angel concluded.


Sisters Defy Distance

Navigating Hours Long Commute to Achieve Success at Pace



For Shea and Precious, sisters and students at Pace Orange, the road to success has never been an easy one. The sisters go through incredible lengths just to get to Pace, but they choose to show up every single day for a better future.


Navigating buses and trains, they begin their long commute to Pace Orange at 5:00 am, traveling up to four hours every weekday to get from Deland, Florida to Winter Park, Florida.


For Shea and Precious, Pace’s holistic mental health support is what sets the programming apart from other schools. “I come to Pace because I’m able to share my feelings and get good feedback that will help me in the future. I went to three different elementary schools during our transition to moving in with our aunt and there were counselors but I didn’t have the same connection. At Pace, I’m actually able to share my feelings,” said Precious.

As the older sister, Shea feels a profound responsibility to be a role model for her younger siblings. She shared, “My siblings motivate me. I’m trying to be a role model for my younger siblings since our dad passed. I keep going and wake up every morning, not only for myself but for them.”


Shea’s experience at Pace has allowed her to open up and learn to rely on others. She candidly shared, “I’m still trying to get used to asking for help, because, after so many years of caring for my younger brother and sister, it’s kind of hard to get out of those ways — but I’m making progress slowly.”


For Precious, Shea is not just an older sister but also a source of inspiration. She explained, “My older sister motivates me because she has taken care of me my whole life. When my parents weren’t around, my sister was always there for me.”


When Shea and Precious think about their future, they see opportunities to inspire others through their creative talents. Music had always held a special place in Shea’s heart, and she believes in its power to save lives. She said, “I want to be that one person that can make a song or just a piece of music that inspires somebody else to keep going.”


Precious has a deep love for art, a form of expression that allows her to convey her feelings when words fail her. She sees art as a tool for storytelling, and her dream is to become a designer and start a fitness clothing brand.


Shea and Precious’s story is one of resilience, determination, and the transformative power of education and holistic mental health support. With their creative talents and unbreakable bond, Shea and Precious are not only forging their own paths to success but also lighting the way for others to follow.


Empowering Bright Futures

How Two Girls Overcame Substance Abuse and Society's Pressures to Pursue Their Dreams





Kya*, 17, is on the path to becoming a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse, while Ashley*, 14, envisions a career in the Air Force and later cosmetology. At a young age, societal pressures challenged the bright futures both girls know they will achieve. They grappled with substance abuse, initially hesitant to seek help.


Kya first encountered Pace’s Reach Program after being recommended by her local high school, where her grades and behavior were spiraling downwards. With a mix of curiosity and skepticism, she decided to give the program a try. For Ashley, it was her older sister who introduced her to Pace. Falling behind a grade, she decided to join the program to get back on track academically.


After enrolling at Pace, both girls began receiving substance abuse prevention and intervention services. The program provides vital resources, including group therapy, individual counseling, and practical coping strategies that have become pillars of the girls’ recovery.


“Society portrayed me to be one thing, but I’m more than that. I realize that I’m stronger than I thought I was. I am in control of my future,” said Kya.


Their stories echo a larger crisis in the mental health of teenage girls, with 1 out of 3 enrolled in a Pace Program self-reporting substance abuse. This extends to a range of substances, including but not limited to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, and other illicit substances. Ripple effects of the pandemic have resulted in an increased vulnerability to substance use and abuse and brought to light disparities in awareness of, and access to, quality substance abuse prevention and intervention services. The statistics are harrowing, but it is proven that prevention and intervention measures can change these outcomes.


Brielle, the girls’ therapist at Pace, emphasized the program’s community-based and flexible approach to success, focusing on individualized goals. Pace therapists can travel to girls to provide services in their home, school or community, and also meet with girls online. Family involvement is another crucial aspect, ensuring that caregivers are actively engaged in their child’s recovery.


Brielle reflected on Ashley and Kya’s growth and said, “I have watched Ashley grow into a leader during group therapy and Kya build on her intervention goals — it’s really inspiring to see.”


“I have been sober for over a year,” Kya affirmed. “The therapeutic services I’ve received at Pace have helped me stay away from substances. I don’t feel judged, instead I feel empowered to share my story and speak up for myself. I know I have a bright future ahead.”


Their journeys embody hope, resilience, and the potential unleashed when girls are empowered to believe in their capacity to shape their own future and inspire the generations that follow within their communities.


Pace’s Substance Abuse and Prevention Program is made possible thanks to THE PLAYERS Championship Village. Services are provided through Pace’s Reach therapy model and ensure girls and their families have access to substance abuse prevention and early intervention, case management and therapy, and other needed supports. The model is community-based to ensure there are no barriers to access.


*Pseudonyms are used to protect the privacy of adolescents.


Breaking the Stigma

Graduation Stoles Embrace Emotional Wellness



In a sea of high school graduates adorned with traditional stoles symbolizing academic achievements, there are two seniors in South Carolina who are rewriting the narrative.


Ty’unna and Iris, the inaugural graduates of the Pace Reach Program in South Carolina, proudly wear stoles that embody more than academic achievement. Their stoles from Pace serve as powerful symbols of their resilience and emotional strength.


Iris eloquently captures the essence of what the Pace graduation stole means to her: “To me, the graduation stole is not just a piece of fabric; it represents who I am and is a statement of what I have overcome to make it to the finish line. I am not just graduating because of my academic success but because I have learned that I have the power to be my own best advocate.”

Ty’unna proudly declared, “Wearing a stole that represents both my academic and emotional wellness journey gives me courage. I want everyone to know that I am a Pace girl, and I am going to walk extra slow so everyone can see it.”


These two remarkable young women exemplify unwavering determination, especially given the challenges they’ve faced. Mental health support is integral to helping students, particularly women, navigate middle and high school. Mental health challenges often hinder academic achievement, and Ty’unna emphasizes, “Mental health should be taken more seriously; people are suffering.”


As first-generation college students, Ty’unna and Iris are eager to pursue their postgrad endeavors as students at Florence-Darlington Technical College. Ty’unna plans on becoming an esthetician while Iris plans on becoming a nurse.


As for the legacy both girls are leaving, Iris said, “My success looks different than others. I’m the first Pace South Carolina graduate and the first person in my family to attend college. I’m wearing a stole that sends a message to my community, and I hope to inspire other girls to stand proud in who they are.”


Leading by Example

Remarkable Path from Pace to Principal





In 1994, Allison Garske, a freshman at University High was struggling to keep up with her classes. After 80 unexcused absences and a truancy order, Allison sought a different form of education, which led her family to discover Pace Center for Girls.


After transferring to Pace Orange, located at the time in downtown Orlando, Allison flourished and discover her passion for inspiring others.


“Going to Pace, I had teachers that told me ‘you got this’,” she said, “They provided structure and support for me to complete work at my own pace; that really helped.”


Right before graduation in 1998, Allison discovered she was pregnant. While preparing to become a new mother, she attended Valencia Community College and the University of Central Florida, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education with the goal of becoming a teacher.


After working at a number of schools, Allison decided to come back to Pace as a substitute teacher.


“I had this feeling of giving back to a school that gave a lot to me,” Allison said. “I wanted to give support to girls, providing time and structure to catch up on academics and be someone who cares and shares encouragement.”


Equipped with the same values and guiding principles her counselors instilled in her, Allison used that knowledge to teach young girls that came from similar life experiences.


“At Pace, team members are not just there to provide academic support,” she said, “they are there to change girls’ lives.”


As an educator and a former student that faced difficulties in the public school system, she understood the importance of providing an environment in which students could thrive.


“It’s more than the education, it’s the additional support that makes Pace an important part of the community,” Allison said. “The counselors and caseworkers and year-round service is what students really need.”


Allison is currently the principal of Southwood Elementary in Orange County. She received a master’s degree in special education and is passionate about working with students who are often overlooked in the public education system.


She is still in touch with her former counselor, Mrs. Billie Hutchinson, along with other teachers who provided her with love and support. Allison also built lifetime relationships with peers from Pace – she recently went on vacation with a former classmate whom she still counts as a close friend.


“Pace changed my life and is an amazing option for young girls who need something different,” Allison said. “I am a better educator because of my time at Pace.”



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


7 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


8 in 10

Strengthened or maintained


10 in 10

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



Average Age at Enrollment


Middle School


High School


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




5 in 10

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


6 in 10

Were disengaged in school and community life




8 in 10

Improved healthy social relationships with peers
and family members


10 in 10

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



Average Age at Enrollment


Middle School


High School

Our Volunteers' Impact


Total accumulated volunteer hours


Total value of one volunteer hour*


Total Value

*Florida Dollar Value for one Volunteer Hour: $29.41 | Source:



Women Empowering Women:
Disney Volunteers Spark Empowerment


The Disney Women’s Inclusion Network brought enchantment to life at our Pace Orange location. Dedicated volunteers revamped the Success Boutique and Dream Closet, essential spaces for nurturing the aspirations of our girls. Girls earned points for positive behaviors and accomplishments, allowing them to shop at the boutique. The boutique also serves as a space where girls and their families can have their basic needs met, providing not only clothing but also promoting positive self-image, responsible behavior, and budgeting skills among Pace girls.


This partnership between Pace Center for Girls and the Disney volunteers epitomizes the impact of corporate volunteerism. It’s a powerful example of unity and support, where a community’s collaboration leads to tangible transformations. Beyond the physical changes, it’s a story of how businesses engaging with their communities can create spaces where dreams thrive, affirming the pivotal role of community support and corporate involvement in shaping brighter futures.



Our Financials




Revenue: $58,969,088. Fed grants: 3%; Dept. Juvenile Justice (FL): 37%, DoJJ (SC): 1%, School Boards: 15%, Private Grants: 13%, Indv. Contr.: 19%, other: 12%




Expenses: $54,843,9777; Program: 80%; Management & General: 14%; Fundraising: 6%. $0.80 of every $1 goes directly to support our girls.


A New Year of Impact

As we head into 2024, 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 2023 donors!

Want to see your name on the 2024 donor list? Click the donate button below to support Pace’s work in 2024 and beyond!