Pace Center for Girls Leon supports students in Tallahassee

August 16, 2023
Pace Leon

For almost three decades, Pace Center for Girls Leon has served more than 1,000 middle and high school girls in our community.

With school back in session, I'm adding up the impact the center is having on girls in and outside of the classroom.

"I have anger issues, kind of, and I'm trying to work on my anger issues," said Taylor.

Taylor has been at Pace for about a year now.

The center provides counseling programs for social, emotional and behavioral health and support services for girls ages 11–17 and their families.

There are 70 girls enrolled, but the center serves around 120 girls each year.

"We just make sure that the girl is safe," said Avilus.

Associate Executive Director Kristel Avilus said they're happy to be additional support, especially for girls and families who fall into the ALICE population in the Southside of Tallahassee.

"ALICE" stands for Asset Limited Income Constrained, Employed; or those earning above the poverty level but still living paycheck to paycheck.

"Whatever they're struggling with, they know that they have another chance and they have a place that cares about them and people that care about them," said Avilus.

Avilus said their day program helps girls with their education too by having smaller class sizes and offering one-one-on support for subjects like reading and math.

"I've been not stressed out now this school year," said Taylor. Having ADHD.... Taylor said getting her work done can be difficult. Now, she doesn't have to worry.

"I'm like oh wow I'm going to finish it when last school year I'm not going to finish it and I'm going to fail," said Taylor. "Now, I get to finish it because all the teachers are going to help me."

60% of girls were failing in school before going to Pace but, after being in the program, 80%improved academically. Avilus attributes the success to their holistic approach.

"We see that girls grow so much because I've talked to my counselor about these things and gotten them out so academically now I can focus on my work," said Avilus.

Focus that Taylor said she's glad to have. "I felt like they do care and stuff and that actually helps so much and makes me feel like I should be at Pace," said Taylor.

Avilus tells me they serve around 120 girls a year.

If you're interested in enrolling in Pace or learning more about their programs, you can stop by or fill out the form online.