One Hundred Teen Girls Meet Florida Legislators at Pace Day at the Capitol
Pace Center for Girls (Pace), a nationally recognized model that provides education, counseling, training and advocacy for girls and young women, hosted its annual Pace Day at the Capitol event on January 16-17, 2024. 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.
“When we provide the support girls need, they achieve success in all areas of their lives, leading to positive outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Mary Marx, President and CEO of Pace Center for Girls. “Pace Day at the Capitol provides an opportunity for girls to participate in the legislative process, by testifying before committees, engaging in a mock debate, and by advocating with their individual legislators.”
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.
“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,” said Annabel, a freshman at Pace. “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.”
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.