FLORENCE, S.C. — Pace Center for Girls is expanding its programming to provide social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health counseling to girls ages 11-17 in South Carolina.
This expansion is in response to the growing need for mental health resources for young girls in the region. The program will serve the population through its evidence-based model to help girls and young women build healthy coping skills, address past trauma and reduce involvement in high-risk behaviors.
Over the course of a year, Pace will serve up to 80 girls in Florence and Darlington counties by providing individual, peer group and family counseling sessions, as well as individual goal setting and implementing strategies for future success.
To best determine the unique needs of girls and their families in this region, Pace will set up a Girls Coordinating Council — a community collaborative that works to improve services for girls — to analyze relevant data and inform favorable outcomes.
Enrollment in the program at Alfred Rush Academy in Florence has already begun, and enrollment in Darlington Middle and High School will begin this spring.
“We are excited to bring our gender-responsive and strength-based counseling services to the girls of South Carolina to support their social and emotional growth,” said Lisa Spears, program director of Pace Florence and Darlington. “Our evidence-based model has shown that when we support girls, a ripple effect occurs and strengthens the community at large.”
Girls who participate in the program improve their skills and ability to make healthy decisions and reduce harmful habits to their health, wellness and safety. Pace’s holistic approach cares for their physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and relational development needs. Through these services, girls learn how to manage stress and adversities, improve personal relationships, learn new communication skills and improve school performance.
“Pace is exactly what our girls need. Their gender-responsive approach helps girls find their strengths. We are so excited to have them at the Alfred Rush Academy,” Alfred Rush Academy Principal Chris Coleman said.
“I am thrilled to see much needed gender-responsive, trauma-informed and strength-based mental health and social services coming to adolescent girls in Florence School District One, through Pace Center for Girls,” said Representative Terry Alexander. “This is an organization I believe will do great things for our community, and I look forward to continuing to support their work.”
Pace believes all girls, regardless of their story, deserve safe and supportive spaces to heal and develop into strong, compassionate and successful women. Pace’s nationally recognized programs are designed specifically for girls to include strength-based counseling, case management and therapy services that yield successful results.
“With more than 40,000 girls and 23 communities served since 1985, Pace is a transformational program that empowers girls to reach their highest potential. Pace’s team of counselors, therapists and educators develop individualized approaches based on each girl’s unique strengths — centering her experience as a young woman in this world,” said Aggie Pappas, MSW, vice president of program innovation and strategic implementation at Pace. “There is great in every girl, and we are optimistic that our programming will empower girls in South Carolina and beyond to elevate their voices.”