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Empowering Future Leaders: Alexis Journey to College and Career Success

At Pace Center for Girls, we celebrate all our girls’ successes as they look towards the future! College Signing Day celebrated on May 1, is a monumental occasion, marked by a commitment to inspire students to reach higher. This initiative, presented by Better Make Room, celebrates all students who have made the decision to pursue an education past high school, whether at a professional training program, the military, a community college, or a four-year college or university. 

Reflecting on her journey, Alexis emphasizes the pivotal role that Pace played in her academic and personal growth. With her sights set on studying psychology at Santa Fe College and later Florida A&M University, Alexis epitomizes determination and aspiration. “Every girl deserves to be respected and heard,” she shared.  

At Pace, Alexis found not only academic support but also the encouragement and guidance she needed to navigate the college application process. With the assistance of her dedicated counselor, Alexis successfully completed her college applications—a milestone that holds special significance as she will be the first person in her family to attend college.  

“I want to be a therapist because I want to be that person that can help kids. Before I came to Pace, I didn’t have a counselor who helped me. My cousin Ashley encouraged me to attend Pace, and it turns out that Pace has become my safe space,” reflected Alexis. “Because I’ve went through so much in my life, I feel like I will be able to relate and better understand the challenges that girls go through.” 

Of her many accolades, Alexis is proud to be the Girls Leadership Council President at her center. In celebrating Alexis’s achievements, we honor not only her individual success but also the collective efforts of educators, mentors, and advocates who are dedicated to empowering young women to reach their full potential.  

Alexis is the recipient of a college scholarship provided on behalf of State Farm. Pace is grateful for State Farm’s support to support career and college preparation for our girls.


Empowering Voices Through Poetry

At Pace, we recognize April as National Poetry Month, a time to honor the voices of our girls who use spoken word as a tool for healing, empowerment, and community building.

For many of the girls we serve, spoken word is more than just poetry—it’s a lifeline, a means of expression that transcends traditional forms of communication. Through spoken word, our girls find a safe space to tell their stories and celebrate their resilience. It’s a form of therapy that goes beyond the confines of a counseling session, offering a unique outlet for self-expression and self-discovery.

Pace Jacksonville’s Performing Arts Group has performed in communities across Florida.

Spoken word is not just about individual expression; it’s also a catalyst for community building. Through poetry slams, open mic nights, and workshops, our girls come together to support and uplift one another. They form bonds that transcend backgrounds and cultures, creating a network of support that extends far beyond the walls of our centers.

Recently, Pace Escambia Santa-Rosa hosted a Poetry Jam that exemplified the spirit of community and creativity. With dimmed lights illuminating tables adorned with electronic tea lights, the atmosphere was set for an evening of enlightenment and entertainment. Several girls showcased their courage and creativity by sharing their original and inspired poems, captivating the audience with their stories and perspectives.

Woman to Woman

By Ayonni (Read by Ayonni & Minnie)

(1) Girl to girl.

(2) We love to share advice because we are in the same world.

(1) We are best friends.

(2) Huh?

(1) I might be a woman,

(2) and I might be a woman,

(1&2) we might be women.

(1) But that doesn’t mean we have the same point of view.

(2) What I find good

(1) You find bad.

(2) “Oou coffee.”

(1) “Ew is that coffee.”

(1&2) Woman to woman girl to girl

(1) We love to share advice cause we know we all hurt.

(2) You don’t need to hurt like me for me to share my sympathy.


Uniting for Impact: Pace Day at the Capitol in Georgia Celebrates Girls’ Advocacy

At Pace Center for Girls, we recognize the strength of each girl individually, but we firmly believe that we are stronger together. Our recent Pace Day at the Capitol event in Georgia exemplified this unity and shared purpose. 

Four girls from Pace Macon had the opportunity to meet with elected officials and leaders, sharing the impact of Pace’s Reach model. The day began with Representative Miriam Paris presenting them with a House Resolution, celebrating their achievements and highlighting the importance of their voices. 

Exploring the Georgia Capitol Museum, the girls immersed themselves in the state’s history, reaffirming their potential to shape the future. Lunchtime discussions with former Senator Skin Edge provided valuable insights into advocacy, followed by a surprise visit from First Lady Marty Kemp.  

The pinnacle of the day occurred in the Senate Chamber, where the girls were honored with a Senate Resolution by President Pro Tempore Senator John Kennedy, alongside Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones and Senator Tonya Anderson.  

Pace’s expansion in Macon, Georgia in 2019 was driven by the growing need for mental health resources for girls ages 11-18 in the region. While the youth mental health crisis touches every corner of society, it disproportionately impacts girls. Our Reach Program in Macon is designed to be community-based, ensuring accessibility for girls regardless of barriers such as transportation or finances. By meeting girls where they are, whether in schools, homes, or the community, we provide the support they need to find immediate mental health support and a path toward resilience and academic growth. 

Pace Day at the Capitol is more than just a one-time event; it is a testament to the support and belief in the potential of every girl. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our community partners, including Charter Communications, whose commitment to our mission makes these experiences possible.  


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


A Promise of Support: Lanaysia’s Journey with Pace Center for Girls

Pace’s Reach Program in South Carolina is breaking down barriers and ensuring accessibility to essential mental health and academic services. Lanaysia, a senior in the Pee Dee Region, shared her journey participating in the Reach Program at her neighborhood high school, emphasizing the transformative impact of the program and the profound bond she built with her therapist, Ms. Carla.

Ms. Carla provided Lanaysia with much more than just guidance; she became a source of safety and security in Lanaysia’s life. For girls like Lanaysia, who may have faced various challenges in their lives, this connection can be a lifeline.

Ms. Carla’s message to Lanaysia was clear: “I won’t leave you.” This simple yet powerful statement conveyed a sense of commitment and dedication that deeply resonated with Lanaysia.

A typical day in the Pace Reach Program can involve individual, peer group, and family counseling and therapy sessions, equipping middle and high school girls with the skills necessary to make healthy decisions, reduce harmful habits, and enhance their overall health, wellness, and safety.

When asked about her involvement in the Pace Reach Program, Lanaysia explained that her decision to enroll stemmed from a desire to interact with other girls. The program offered a unique opportunity for her to connect with peers who share similar experiences. In Reach, Lanaysia has not only formed meaningful relationships with other girls but has also discovered a space where she can be herself, free from judgment.

When she enrolled in the Reach program, she faced academic challenges that hindered her graduation timeline. With a dedicated support team in place, she successfully realigned her academic path to graduate on schedule. While she refrains from calling them dreams, she has set ambitious goals for herself. She envisions having a big house and becoming an athletic trainer, all while caring for her family, particularly her mother and sister.

When asked what every girl deserves, Lanaysia simply responded with “love.” Her story, along with countless others, highlights how a caring community of adults, coupled with positive mental health outcomes, can support girls on their path to bright futures.