“I really appreciate Ms. Kathy. She played a big role in me graduating. She was the one that contacted my old school to set me up right. She’s been there every step of the way. I can’t thank her enough. She’s number one. She’s my rock.” — Tyra from Pace Polk
At Pace, our team of dedicated teachers, counselors, therapists, and directors foster safe, supportive, and inclusive environments for our girls to help them reach their goals.
During Teacher Appreciation Week, join us in celebrating the hundreds of teachers who inspire confidence, ignite imagination and instill a love of learning in our girls.
Four Pace girls shared their appreciation for their favorite teachers:
“One of the main supporters I’ve had at Pace is Mr. Walter,” shared Quinn from Pace Escambia-Santa Rosa. “Mr. Walter was the first person I told when I passed the GED test. He’s like a dad to me, since I didn’t have one growing up. He’s pushed me to be my best, and he really showed me how proud he is of me — that I am finding myself and finding what I love doing.”
Idali and Karimah both shared gratitude for Mr. Christie, a history teacher and academic advisor at Pace Palm Beach.
“Mr. Christie has so much faith in me. He always makes sure that everyone feels safe in the classroom — that’s his priority,” said Idali. “I came to Pace because I was doing really bad at academics. My grades were really low because I was skipping classes and didn’t care about my classes. As soon as I came to Pace, they’ve helped me a lot. I’m on track to graduate next year.”
“Mr. Christie is the best. He’s a history teacher, and he’s always giving us the most valuable information,” added Karimah. “He’s like an encyclopedia — he knows so much. I’ve learned so much about the world and the state it’s in right now, and I’m so grateful to him.”
Every day, our team of counselors, therapists and educators advocate for our girls’ physical and mental health and help them thrive and grow, creating brighter futures for all. Since 1985, more than 40,000 teen girls and young women have had the opportunity to achieve their own success, leading to positive outcomes for themselves, their families and communities.
Join us in celebrating all team members for their continued commitment to create strong girls and strong communities.
Pace joins communities across the country in recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).
On Denim Day, April 27, 2022, the longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, McKenzie Marsch, Special Projects Manager at Pace Palm Beach, participated in a panel discussion hosted by Palm Beach County Victim Services.
Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, and businesses to wear denim to combat victim blaming and educate others about sexual violence. McKenzie participated in the panel discussion on behalf of Palm Beach County’s Girls Coordinating Council.
“Representing the Girls Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County, I had the opportunity to share why we should decrease discomfort related to discussing sexual assault and consent and the importance of leading with the ‘start by believing’ mindset,” shared McKenzie.
Since 2017, Girls Coordinating Councils (GCC) have been formed, like the one in Palm Beach, in various counties throughout Florida and Georgia. The Girls Coordinating Council is a community collaborative focusing on reforming and strengthening the system of care for girls and young women.
Change begins when girls get the help they need to further their education, strengthen their relationships, interpersonal skills, and learn healthy coping mechanisms that help them overcome past trauma and look toward the future.
At Pace, we believe communities are stronger when girls and women have the opportunity to thrive. We sat down with one Pace alumna Alivia from Macon, GA who reflected on her experience with Pace and her journey to where she is today.
How did you find Pace?
My family and I had been facing some challenges — a lot of it came from financial struggles.
My family was dealing with substance abuse and my nieces and nephew were dropping out of school.
The tipping point was the eviction, which hit me really hard. When we were forced out, the people took everything — my clothes, my laptop, all the things I needed for school, and I felt guilty. I prided myself on being an overachieving 16-year-old, and I believed I could have done something to prevent this situation.
After the eviction, we moved into my grandparents’ house. I had to adjust and refigure out everything. When we were first there, there were 10 people in a house meant for four. After a long battle of caring for my grandmother, she passed away, another big loss for my family. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, but I also didn’t feel I had the support I needed from my family at that time.
A mentor of mine recommended that I reach out to Pace and talk to someone.
What did you learn at Pace?
[At Pace] I learned the value of self-care. I learned my worth and how to give myself the credit I deserve. My favorite quote that my counselor Rebecca told me was: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” She helped me reframe my circumstances and find the positive in every situation. She reinforced my determination to never give up. I learned to prioritize myself and my mental health on the path to self discovery. I am the most resilient person I know and because of Pace, I can recognize that.
Where are you now?
I’m a freshman at Fort Valley State in the cooperative developmental energy program, which is a dual-degree program where I am pursuing my bachelor’s in math and a master’s in engineering. I’ve always been a math and science person, I’ve always been good with my hands, and I love building things.
I also have a couple of businesses. I’m learning to do acrylic nails, and I’ve done some graphic design. I designed the flyers for the student government association executive board campaign, which helped the campaign win the election.
In February, you recentlytestified at a budget committee meeting at the Georgia State Legislature to help Pace increase funding for its programs in the state. How was that experience?
When I arrived at the legislature meeting, it set in that this was a big deal. However, when I started to testify, my nerves settled. It was interesting to see people care about my story so much. At times, I don’t realize how much I’ve gone through, because I don’t want it to define me, but my story is important. I hope it can inspire others to recognize the power of their own story.
As we reflect during Women’s History Month, is there a woman who has supported you to get to where you are today?
I would say my mentor Ms. Geneva West, who is the Founder ofReal I.M.P.A.C.T Center, Inc. — an all-girls STEM organization. After I completed that program, I decided to give back. I taught coding classes, instructed curriculum involving STEM, and even coached a robotics team. Ms. West has taken me under her wing and exposed me to so many events and speaking opportunities. She’s been a really positive person in my life — even helping me through the college application process. She’s amazing.
Another person that comes to mind is my mom. I love my mom. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I’ve seen how her confidence has developed and how she’s trying every day to be better. I admire her for that. Despite many challenges we have faced, I am overly thankful to my parents for raising me to become the person I am today. My love for my family is strong, and I pray every day we grow into the best version of ourselves.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Honestly, I’d probably say, stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing great. I’m celebrating my strengths, and I’ve learned that vulnerability is one of them. Give yourself the credit you deserve and know that you can keep pushing. Know that whatever you’re going through, you can make it through.
In 2019, Pace expanded into Georgia, offering services to help girls learn healthy coping skills, overcome past trauma and look toward the future. Teen girls who participate in the program improve their skills and ability to make safe, healthy decisions that enable them to be strong, compassionate and successful women. Learn more about the services Pace offers in Georgia.
Essential Workers Celebrated During Women’s History Month
As Pace Continues to Provide Healing and Promote Hope
Women’s History Month serves as a time to commemorate and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of women. The 2022 theme — providing healing and promoting hope — is a tribute to the tireless efforts of frontline workers during the pandemic and the recognition of the numerous ways women of all backgrounds have provided both healing and hope throughout the pandemic and history.
Educators, counselors and team members at Pace have been on the frontlines for our girls every day as they provide healing and hope for each other, our girls and the communities we serve.
One person at Pace leading this charge is Sultania Houppert, more widely known as Ms. Tania, a math teacher from Pace Polk.
“My calling was always to inspire,” said Ms. Tania. “[Working at Pace] is a calling and something acquired. In order to acquire that wanting to heal and wanting to help, you need to have that support and foundation. We all want to have those opportunities to be heard, and that was a big calling for me. These girls want to be heard and cared for.”
Reflecting on the women who have helped Ms. Tania get where she is today, she noted how her own mother inspired her to give back to the community and make a difference.
“The first and foremost [example of inspiration and care] has been my mother. She has been my nurturer, she has been my rock, and she has been someone who made me feel like I had a voice, which is something that I hope to be able to pass on to all the Pace girls I work with. It’s really awe-inspiring when you come into a classroom, and you see a smile. It’s a gift to know girls feel comfortable in your space and comfortable to learn.”
In addition to teaching math, Ms. Tania serves as an ally and advocate for all the girls and young women at Pace. She noted how Pace’s holistic approach to learning and personalized support through counseling are like no other:
“I’ve never worked at a place [that is able to provide] every resource that a girl is going to need to pursue what she needs. We have to act accordingly to what girls need at that moment. At Pace, we start with the foundation of respecting the girls — and their space, culture, traumatic experiences — which helps them to feel heard. Then, we are able to reinforce that they are heard and supported not just academically but also personally.”
Every day, teachers like Ms. Tania, counselors, administrators, volunteers and community partners listen to our girls, advocate for their physical and mental health, help them thrive and grow, and encourage them to look toward the future. Because of their dedication, countless teen girls and young women have the opportunity to achieve their own success, leading to positive outcomes for themselves, their families and communities. This Women’s History Month and every month, please join us in celebrating Ms. Tania and all the people like her for their continued commitment to create strong girls and strong communities.
“Leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with people.” — Ken Blanchard
Here at Pace, we value the wellness, growth and development of not only our girls but all our team members. As a trauma-informed organization, we know that everyone, including our team members, comes to the table with their own experiences that shape the way we see and interact with the world. By investing in the growth and futures of our team members, we know that ripples out into the growth and futures of our girls.
One of Pace’s key priorities is to embed our core value of growth into our work culture, where all team members can develop personally and professionally.
That’s why we offer unique benefits and no-cost opportunities that help our team members prioritize their wellness, excel in each of their roles and meet their personal development goals. These unique benefits include: mental health wellness weeks, a $0 cost medical plan option and employer-covered preventative doctor visits. We also offer customized trainings based on your role, including trainings that focus on everything from building high-trust teams, to identifying and addressing biases, to decision and energy management.
Hear from Vipul about what it’s like to work at Pace:
“I love that I have a great degree of control and freedom within my job. I work full-time on a flexible schedule, both in and out-of-office, and my boss trusts me to produce high-quality work and results. I work hard to maintain that level of trust, which keeps me engaged and excited — but at the same time, I love that my job enables me to love and enjoy my other passions in life.”
The work we do at Pace to help underserved girls get the support they need to further their education, overcome past trauma and look toward the future wouldn’t be possible without the passion and commitment our team members put in every single day. If you’ve been looking for inclusive, collaborative, purpose-driven work as well as a culture that prioritizes work-life balance and your professional development, then consider joining our team to make a difference.