Pace offers services that take into account how girls learn and develop. Girls differ from boys in their relationships, cultural roles, communications, and learning styles, and the experiences they bring with them.
We support the development of girls’ views of women as capable, strong, and self-directed and acknowledge the way girls learn and experience the world. Our supportive staff members respond to and celebrate each girls’ strengths and challenges. We create an environment that responds to the needs of the girls so they can feel safe to develop meaningful and trusting relationships.
Being strengths-based is a philosophy and way of viewing girls as resourceful and resilient in the face of adversity. Pace focuses on and believes in a girl’s unique strengths and positive attributes to help her achieve her goals.
This emphasis on strengths is implemented formally through Pace's Growth & Change rewards system and informally through the day-to-day interactions between the staff and the girls. The Growth & Change program used at all Pace Centers encourages girls to advance to program reward stages by completing specified milestones, such as maintaining a certain attendance rate. Rewards can be tangible (such as clothes or make-up) or privileges (a lunch date with a staff member or allowances in the dress code).
Counselors also take a strengths-based approach in their one-on-one sessions with girls. In these sessions, counselors help girls recognize their strengths and refer back to those strengths when helping girls develop strategies to address the challenges in their lives.
Upon leaving Pace, many girls have noted they learned to recognize positive things about themselves while at Pace such as, their ability to help others, being a good listener, and being a good mother. More broadly, many girls said they had higher self-esteem after attending Pace.
Being trauma-informed means acknowledging that trauma is driving a girl’s behaviors. By acknowledging their trauma, we seek to heal and empower our girls to live healthy and centered lives through positive coping skills and positive relationships.
Pace team members are trained to recognize the symptoms of trauma and to understand how trauma can affect a girl’s behavior. Pace uses knowledge of a girl’s trauma history to inform their care. Key components of our trauma-informed approach include a focus on safety, transparency in order to build trust, a focus on collaboration and relationships, a strengths-based approach, and recognition of cultural, historical, and gender issues.
For example, if a girl was being disruptive in class our staff would try to recognize how her experience might be affecting her as opposed to taking a punitive approach. One staff member put it this way: “If a girl has had trauma that caused them to have high anxiety about social situations, then that’s going to come up in everything that they do every day. You have to keep that in mind that she has had this horrible experience.”
- School suspension or expulsion
- Academic underachievement
- Attendance concerns or truancy
- Involvement with law enforcement or Department of Juvenile Justice
- Parent or sibling in prison or on probation
- Personal or family mental health struggles
- Suicidal thoughts
- Self-harm or mutilation
- Alcohol or drug use
- Aggression or anti-social behavior
- Family instability or conflict
- Domestic violence
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Runaway behavior
- Pregnancy or early initiation of sexual activity
If you or a girl you know is experiencing any of the above traumatic situations please reach out to Pace for a free consultation.