Welcome to Pace Hillsborough

About Pace Hillsborough

Pace Center for Girls in Hillsborough County has been serving the community since 1998. Our opening came during a year of mass expansion for Pace, Inc. whereas five Pace centers – Hillsborough, Alachua, Collier, Pinellas, and Treasure Coast - opened throughout the state that year. Pace Hillsborough opened its doors in Tampa serving 40 girls and, with community and state support, grew to serve more than 2,100 girls to date with their academic and social service needs.

We partner with a variety of community agencies including USF, DACCO, the Arts Council and Community Mental Health, to name a few, to provide our girls with a multitude of community resources to best meet their development and social service needs.

Pace Reach Counseling Services Program is a unique program that provides free behavioral health services that are strength based and gender responsive to girls who are not enrolled in the Pace day program. Girls and young women, ages 11-17, who reside in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and who are referred to services from specified schools, Girls Court, juvenile probation and/or juvenile diversion programs are eligible to receive clinical behavioral and mental health services from licensed and licensed eligible therapists. Currently there are 80 girls receiving services in Hillsborough and Pinellas County. Since its inception in 2015 Reach Behavioral Services has served over 220 girls.

Pace Works is a comprehensive vocational and education program dedicated to impacting employability, vocational training and educational success of all girls enrolled in the Pace Center for Girls, Hillsborough program. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide the girls with the necessary tools to afford a high school diploma or GED, long term employability skills and successful transitions to the workforce, vocational trade or higher education in order to secure a brighter future.

Currently, Pace Hillsborough serves 62 girls in the day program monthly, an additional 100 girls in the Reach Regional South Tampa Bay program and employs a staff of 32, plus 2 Hillsborough County Teacher Assistants.

Resources

Hillsborough Fast Facts 2021 | DOWNLOAD

Get in touch

Pace Center for Girls - Hillsborough

1933 E. Hillsborough Avenue Suite 300

Tampa, FL 33610

Get Directions

For enrollment referrals, please ask for:

Michelle Esau email
813-739-0410 ext. 5611

Stories from Pace Hillborough
Felicia's Story

Felicia was 16 years old and in the 9th grade when she enrolled at Pace Hillsborough. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but knew she needed something different. Over the past 4 years Felicia had struggled with explosive behaviors; she would fight with anyone who got in her way. Felicia was plagued with feelings of depression and anger. She often felt unworthy, alone and hopeless. After numerous referrals for peer related conflicts, fights, disruptive behaviors she was expelled from her high school.

Felicia’s problems were not only at school. She struggled in her relationship with her mother and the many other family members with whom they shared their tiny 2 bedroom apartment. Felicia would not physically fight at home but would leave home for days or weeks at a time after an argument with her mother or family members. She would stay with friends when possible and in abandoned houses when she had exhausted all of her resources. Felicia quickly learned how to get her needs met. She knew how to survive- but she was tired. She had always dreamed of getting a high school diploma, working as a cosmetologist and having her own family.

"Felicia successfully transitioned from Pace and continues to work towards her high school diploma at an adult high school. She has high hopes of becoming a cosmetologist after graduating in December 2015."

When Felicia heard about Pace Center for Girls, she had nothing to lose. She saw it as an opportunity for one last chance. Her first few days at Pace were interesting. She was amazed at the warmth and genuine interest staff had in her well-being. The staff seemed to care not only about her academic success but about who she was, what made her happy, what made her sad.
Felicia began to work with her counselor to explore her struggles with aggression, anger management and her inability to cope with life circumstances. Her counselor referred her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with bipolar disorder and prescribed her medication. She began working with her counselor on her emotional needs as well as her relationship with her mother. Her instances of fighting and running away decreased slowly. Felicia learned to use new skills to cope with life stressors.

Felicia’s attendance and academic successes increased steadily. She began taking and passing semester exams and earning credits. After 15 months Felicia earned enough credits to become a high school junior. She also gained part time employment at a local fast food restaurant. Felicia successfully transitioned from Pace and continues to work towards her high school diploma at an adult high school. She has high hopes of becoming a cosmetologist after graduating in December 2015.

Girls attend Pace to get appropriate counseling and education in a nurturing environment. To become enrolled, they must be between 11 to 17 years old, at least one year behind in school, and have 3 or more risk factors.

Risk factors are the underlying issues that lead girls to academic underachievement. These are issues such as: foster home placement, substance abuse (by girl or family member), domestic violence, incarceration of a family member, neglect, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, grief, emotional health concerns, low income, and more.