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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.

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