Our History

For more than thirty-five years, Pace Center for Girls has been transforming the lives of girls and young women. Founded in 1985 by Vicki Burke, the first Pace Center launched with ten girls in Jacksonville, Florida. Vicki had an idea, rooted in facts, that girls were entering the juvenile justice system as a response to delinquent behavior often caused by trauma. Pace has successfully grown to annually serve more than 3,000 girls in 23 locations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Through a successful and proven evidence-based model, focused on the development of critical life, health, and academic skills, Pace has changed the life trajectory of more than 40,000 girls and is recognized as one of the nation’s leading advocates for girls in need.


Pace's Progress


Pace opens thirteen new locations in Florida


Juvenile judges, local community members and the Florida legislature begin advocating for the expansion of Pace.


Pace launches a study of girls who have experienced the juvenile justice system, which led to the publication of "Educate or Incarcerate", a report that validated the Pace model and the need to keep girls safe and out of trouble by prioritizing prevention and intervention services.


Pace opens an additional eight locations.


Pace begins piloting the Reach Counseling Program, providing counseling, case management and mental health services in partnership with schools, community organizations, and court systems to girls beyond the walls of the Centers.


Pace partners with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida legislature to implement the "framework for systems change", results in a 50 percent decrease in girls' involvement with the juvenile justice system.


The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recognizes Pace with the Impact of Year award for our work changing the juvenile and family court systems.


Today, Pace's approach and advocacy unlocks significant changes in programs, policies, and practices to benefit girls nationally.