Welcome to Pace Jacksonville
About Pace Jacksonville
Pace Center for Girls Jacksonville is located in Duval County and was founded in 1985 by Vickie Burke. Since opening, Pace Jacksonville has served over 3,000 girls through three distinct components: Academic, Social Services and Transition Services.
Pace Jacksonville is one of 21 centers across Florida. For more information on our statewide organization, click here.
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Jacksonville Fast Facts Sheet 2021 | DOWNLOAD
With the track Melinda was on, many never thought she would graduate high school much less achieve anything more. On May 23, 2014 after Pace’s annual high school graduation ceremony staff received a surprise when they returned to the center. Melinda’s mother had dropped off her graduation announcement from Florida Coastal School of Law along with pictures in her cap and gown. She says she wanted to let Pace know that, “Melinda would have never achieved this without the help she received from Pace”.
Before coming to Pace, Melinda failed the 9th grade three times and was sent to an alternative school. Her mom found out about Pace from someone at work and she brought Melinda in. At first, Melinda says she was reluctant about coming to Pace but quickly realized how this was going to be a positive experience for her. Melinda saw right away that Pace staff cared about what she was doing, her grades, and whether or not she came to school. This was the first time in a while that she was being held accountable. Even though her mother cared, she always worked two or three jobs and just wasn’t able to be the force in Melinda’s life that was constantly making sure she was doing what she should. Melinda says about her time at Pace, “If you were 5 minutes late you had to answer to someone and then your parent had to answer too”.
Melinda also credits the smaller classrooms and more one on one attention to helping her overcome her academic obstacles. Her counselor, Yvenia also played an important role in her time at Pace. Yvenia worked with Melinda’s mother to get her more engaged and she says it set the foundation for their relationship to change for the better. Melinda graduated from Pace in 9 months and says that it was the “bridge between others holding her accountable and becoming accountable for herself”.
Ever since Melinda was 6 years old she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. She graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law in May 2014 with several honors including Moot Court, Honor Board, Phi Delta Phi and Pro Bono. Melinda passed the Florida Bar and on April 20, 2015 she was sworn in by Judge Charles Cofer of the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Melinda now gives back by volunteering at Pace Jacksonville and is a role model for every girl that comes to Pace to change her life and become who she is destined to be.
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.