Interior Page Hero Image

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.  


Angel is Honored as 2024 DJJ Youth Ambassador

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. She was recently honored as a 2024 DJJ Youth Ambassador.

“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.


Pace Center for Girls: Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders at the Florida Capitol

At Pace Center for Girls, we understand the extraordinary strength that each of our girls possesses individually, but we firmly believe that we are stronger together. When we collaborate, uplift one another, and unite for a common cause, we can achieve remarkable things. This unity and collective determination were on full display at the recent Pace Day at the Capitol event.

More than 100 Pace girls from across the state met with members of the Florida House, Florida Senate and other elected officials and leaders to share the impact of Pace’s model. Their presence and enthusiasm were not only a testament to the potential within them but also a celebration of the impact they can have on shaping a brighter future.

“I learned a lot about myself at Pace Day at the Capitol. I grew the confidence to stand up in front of my peers and tell my story. All the legislators made me feel comfortable. I know I’m part of a larger community and can share my experiences to create a positive impact for future generations. I’m proud of myself,” shared Annabel, a freshman at Pace Alachua.

“The Women in Politics panel really inspired me. They shared the importance of working hard to achieve your dreams. Because of Pace Day at the Capitol, I learned how much our voices matter and how important it is to lift our voices to advocate for ourselves,” shared Aaleigh, 14, a Pace girl from Collier.

“I loved meeting girls from across the state of Florida at Pace Day at the Capitol. They are so motivating, and their energy is great,” shared Alyssa, a Pace girl from Broward.

These heartfelt reflections from the young girls themselves showcase the profound impact of Pace Day at the Capitol. It’s not just about learning; it’s about finding their voices and realizing their potential as future leaders.

During two days of meetings, training and programs, girls learned about policymaking, ways to effectively advocate for themselves, and participated in a mock Senate session. Girls heard from Adrienne Johnston, President and CEO of Career Source Florida, Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Eric Hall, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Sen. Jennifer Bradley, Chair of Criminal Justice Appropriations.  

A panel including members of the Pace Board of Trustees focused on Women in Politics and outlined the panelists path to their current role in politics and encouraged Pace girls to set goals and consider multiple career paths. The panel included Brittany Perkins Castillo, Chair of Pace’s Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of AshBritt Environmental, Marva Johnson, Vice Chair of Pace’s Board of Trustees and Group Vice President, State Government Affairs for Charter Communications, Stephanie Smith, Vice President, State and Regional Affairs, TECO, and was moderated by Tracy Mayernick, of The Mayernick Group.  

Pace’s work has positively impacted the lives of more than 40,000 girls and over the past decade has contributed to a more than 60% decrease in the number of girls that are referred to Florida’s juvenile justice system. Eight out of 10 girls that attend Pace graduate from high school, pursue higher education or secure employment after the program.  

Pace Day at the Capitol was made possible thanks to a community of support who believe in the great in every girl, including Capital City Consulting, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, AmTrust Insurance, Charter Communications, The Mayernick Group and the Florida Lottery.


Paving the Way for Girls Through Higher Education and Vocational Opportunities

At Pace Center for Girls, we recognize the power of education in shaping the futures of young women. 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.

Offering a diverse range of opportunities – from leadership roles to STEAM programs, arts, sports, and beyond – provides our girls with the chance to explore, discover their passions, and challenge norms that may have limited their choices.

Unlocking Doors through Interactive Experiences

At Pace, we understand that education is not just confined to textbooks and classrooms; it’s an experiential journey. Our annual college trips and tours serve as immersive experiences for our girls, broadening their horizons beyond their immediate surroundings.

Through partnerships that bridge the gap between education and real-world application, we open doors to fields that have been traditionally underrepresented by women. Despite accounting for around half of the employed US workforce, women made up only a third (34%) of those employed in STEAM occupations in 2019. Our collaborations in Emergency Management and STEAM careers are particularly noteworthy. From attending the annual Hurricane Conference in Florida to exploring the intricacies of cellular biology, our girls are exposed to the limitless possibilities that these fields offer.

Imagine the scene: young girls removing candy “kidney stones” and touring the fourth-floor operating room at the University of Florida. These hands-on experiences are not just intriguing, but transformative. They showcase the significance of women in science, demonstrating that our girls can shape the future of these fields.

Addressing Alarming Trends

In recent years, there has been a decline in the enrollment of female freshmen in colleges, as reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. This trend is concerning, as it points to potential barriers that young women are facing in accessing higher education. However, at Pace, we are determined to be a part of the solution.

Our Comprehensive Approach

Our vocational and education program is designed to empower at-promise girls in every way possible. We equip them with the tools needed not only to earn their high school diploma or GED but also to develop long-term employability skills. Beyond that, we actively support their pursuit of higher education, whether that means entering a professional training program, joining the military, attending a community college, or enrolling in a four-year university.

Pace has seen transformational improvements among girls personally and professionally. Eight out of 10 girls graduate from high school, pursue higher education or secure employment after the program, and nine out of 10 have experienced overall academic improvement. 

Are you a girl who’s interested in Pace? Do you know a girl who may benefit from our programs? Click here to learn more about life at Pace and how you can enroll.