Pace In the News
Founded in 1985, Pace Center for Girls has successfully grown to annually serve more than 3,000 girls in 22 locations in Florida and Georgia. Since inception, the program has helped over 40,000 girls transform their lives and is recognized as one of the nation’s leading advocates for girls in need.
Through the $60,000 donation from the DeVos Family Foundation, as part of its 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, even more girls and young women will have access to Pace’s resources to build their confidence and realize their full potential.
“I think it means that they are not forgotten,” Pace Center for Girls – Orange County Executive Director Rosene Johnson said. “I think a lot of times, our girls are the forgotten girls. They are the girls that are told, ‘they can’t,’ so much that they really believe it. They are the girls that don’t get to go on field trips, or the college tour, or are sitting in offices or different settings because they are too ‘ungovernable’ to be with everybody else.
It’s amazing to be able to see how these young girls can blossom during their time here. What’s most exciting about what happens here is we have over 3,000 girls, and now women, that have actually told everyone ‘they can’ – and that’s the strength of what happens here at Pace. For them to know the DeVos family and the Orlando Magic, an NBA team, care enough about them – that means everything, because it means they aren’t forgotten. It (shows) they are special, and that means the world to me and the rest of our team.”
A total of $3 million will be donated to 30 area nonprofit organizations as part of the DeVos family’s 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, which aims to invest in people and projects impacting youth, essential needs for families, and community enrichment across Central Florida.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium will provide year-round monthly STEM programming for 40 Manatee County Pace girls for the year. This is the 7th year of partnership between Mote and Pace, which works to create an environment that fosters the long-term growth and development of young women in the community. Through virtual interactive lessons, in-person visits to Mote, and targeted lesson plans, Pace girls will learn more about marine animals, the factors that contribute to healthy marine ecosystems, and learn more about conservation-minded practices. Participation in the program also helps girls develop the self-confidence needed in academic settings to engage with STEM content.
We’re proud to share that Natalya Bannister, Executive Director of Pace Alachua, was recently inducted into Santa Fe College's Women of Distinction and Promise.
"It's critical that we honor women," said Paul Broadie, president of Santa Fe College. "They are the fabric of our society and they help push us, they help guide us, they mentor us (and) they're leaders."
"You do all these wonderful things to make an impact and you don't expect to get recognized for it," Natalya said. "I'm doing it from the heart, I'm doing it because it's my purpose and my passion."
Pace Center for Girls announces the appointment of Maryam Ghyabi-White to the Board of Trustees.
Ghyabi-White is the CEO and President of Ghyabi Consulting & Management (GCM) and serves as an adjunct professor of civil engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She is an advocate for safe and supportive environments for girls and brings more than three decades of experience in community stewardship and development to the Board.
“Pace girls and their stories impact me to my core. I know firsthand when women and girls are offered the tools they need to succeed, a ripple effect occurs in families and communities,” said Ghyabi-White. “Joining Pace’s Board of Trustees is one way I can support Pace’s sustainable growth as they expand their model and reach more girls.”
Ghyabi-White is a member of University of Florida’s Transportation Institute External Advisory Board, Truist Bank Board of Trustees, Former Chair of the Women’s Center Board at Daytona State College, Past Chair of Floridians for Better Transportation and Past Chair of the Volusia County Association for Responsible Development. She is the Vice-Chair of the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board and is a former member of the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council.
“Our communities are stronger when girls and young women have the opportunity to thrive,” said Mary Marx, Pace President and CEO. “Maryam is an accomplished engineer, civic leader and steadfast in her commitment to Pace’s vision. Pace welcomes her expertise as we grow in new communities and impact more girls.”
Melanie Lawson hosts a documentary exploring strides being made with Jacksonville’s Juvenile Justice system. She looks inside organizations such as Pace Center for Girls and the Florida Youth Challenge Academy plus feature remarkable stories of redemption.