We are happy to spotlight an amazing organization here in Florida. We have highlighted the Pinellas Center at our last two Pinellas events but locally there are also centers in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Polk and Manatee. Pace began in 1985 with one Center in Jacksonville, Florida serving 10 girls.  Today PACE includes 21 Centers throughout Florida that serve over 3,000 girls each year and Pace has changed the life trajectory of over 40,000 girls since its inception. Pace began as a community response to the realization that girls involved with the justice system were either being placed in programs designed for boys or placed further into the system for their own protection.  There were no effective alternatives.  Started by Vicki Burke and guided by the research-based recommendations which called for gender-responsive programming, Pace created a new alternative to institutionalization or incarceration for girls.

Pace is now recognized as a national model for reducing recidivism and improving school success, employment, and self-sufficiency among girls by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund, National Mental Health Association, National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Why Pace?
At Pace Center for Girls, they have developed a nationally recognized, research-based non-residential program model that features a balanced emphasis on academics and social services, with a focus on the future for middle and high-school aged girls and young women.

The foundation of Pace is our gender-responsive culture where we provide a safe environment that celebrates girls. Pace offers services that take into account how girls learn and develop and our supportive staff members respond to and celebrate each girl’s strengths and challenges.

​The holistic, strength-based, and asset building Pace program model addresses the needs of girls and has garnered recognition nationally as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system.

How can you help?

Advocacy- Just reading this and knowing more about what they are doing is so important so that you can share the information. Awareness in the community is so critical.

Gift cards- As we go into the holiday season, the Center needs help providing gifts for the girls as they might not be able to celebrate otherwise.

Please contact Heidi Hugh, Pinellas Community Engagement Manager for more information.