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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Pace Center for Girls, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Crime & Law, Education, Educational Services, Girls Clubs, Youth Violence Prevention

Mission: Pace operates 21 Centers throughout Florida, providing multi-faceted, gender-responsive services to more than 3,000 girls annually. Since 1985, Pace has been successful at reducing justice system involvement for girls with complex and interconnected risk factors and has successfully provided more than 40,000 girls with an opportunity for a better future by reducing risk behaviors and avoiding justice system involvement. Pace is cited by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency as the only statewide prevention program in the country that effectively targets girls with consistent, positive results. Our Mission: Pace provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. Our Philosophy: Pace values all girls and young women, believing each one deserves an opportunity to find her voice, achieve her potential and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity and grace.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 3000 girls

Geographic areas served: Florida

Programs: Pace Center for Girls, Inc. Is a non-profit, gender-specific program, providing comprehensive academic and therapeutic prevention and intervention to at-risk girls ages 12-18 at community based centers throughout the state of florida. Pace was established as an alternative to institutionalization or incarceration for adolescent girls at-risk of high school dropout and involvement in the justice system. Operating in florida since 1985, pace has been recognized by local, state and national governments as the leader in providing educational programs and counseling to at-risk girls. Pace served over 3,000 girls in 2018. Pace is the leading advocate for girls on a national and state level, providing policy, research, training and consulting.

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at PACE Center for Girls Jacksonville and have been for ten years. It is so rewarding to watch the girls grow from victims to beautiful young ladies of strength and wisdom. I see a staff and volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of the girls at PACE and I applaud them for the great impact they are making in the future of, not only these girls, but also the world. I have been instrumental in getting many other volunteers involved in PACE and they all feel the same.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not only do I volunteer at PACE Center for Girls, Inc. but I have enlisted many of my friends and they find PACE as rewarding as I do. Last week was PACE graduation and it felt so good to see the success these girls have achieved against tremendous odds. PACE shows young women that they can be anything they want and that they have a a future of hope and success.

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at the Lee County PACE Center for Girls. Each girl that enters our school comes with their individual story. Usually a story of abuse; verbal, physical, mental or sexual abuse. Each girl receives counselling to help them 'find their voice' - to help them gain self esteem and meet thier potential. Each girl is typically 2 to 3 years behind in their education. Through tutoring and guidance the girls achieve their repsective grade level and can transition back in to regualr K-12 schools. Our teachers, our staff and our volunteers are dedicated to the girls success; saving one girl at a time

Candice23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Twelve years ago, my daughter was 15. Despite the fact that, at the time, I had 26 years' professional experience in the social services -- the majority of which were with adolescents -- no matter what I did, I couldn't "fix" the problem. PACE was a lifesaver for us. My daughter was attending an alternative school which became the site for Florida's only off-site PACE Reach Program. Counselor Lorraine provided guidance, friendship and support to us both during a very rough path in our "journey" through adolescence. PACE was one of the few highlights of my daughter's less-than-stellar high-school years. Through PACE, she felt cared-for, accepted and safe in a sometimes-scary school.

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

The #1 thought that comes to mind when the name of PACE arises is that the program is so successful! Through education, counseling, training and advocacy one can watch an at-risk girl enter the program as a sullen, obstinant person and within weeks turn herself around to wanting to be a productive member of society. This is a nationally recognized program with a proven success rate!

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

When you look into the eyes of a PACE Girl you see a sparkle of a dream that turns into a reality through PACE due to everyone's continued dedication this fine organization. I just can't let that sparkle die and will continue to help light the flame for these girls to achieve their dreams.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love this organization. I have been involved with them in various capacities for at least eight years now. The atmoshpere provided for these girls is both positive and happy. It has truned many lives around. Board members go out of their way to see that the center gets what it needs to continue to support these young ladies, and they have fun doing it. Every member of the staff makes the welfare of these girls come first, and it really shows. Every person associated with the center, from the director down to the students, participates in fundraising. Board members plan events, faculty and parents attend, and the students either decorate or put on programs. It's all a part of the PACE spirit!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE Jacksonville is a wonderful educational organization that strives to honor the girls as they counsel and motivate the girls to attain their high school diploma. They teach the girls about honoring themselves through the Spirited Girl's program. I have been on many tours at PACE for myself and to share PACE with my friends and colleagues. At each tour a different girl or girls share their personal story. Although each girl's story is different, every ending seems to be the same. They love PACE and are thankful and blessed to be a part of the program and they all say that without PACE they would never have finished high school.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE is magic!!! I have seen these girls change right in front of my eyes. You plant a seed and then you watch it grow into a beautiful flower. I was very impressed with the staff and mangement at PACE. There is so much passion and care shown daily to the girls as they walk the path of life altering events and changes. I attended a recent Graduation and witnessed 29 girls walking across the stage and receive their diplomas. I cried the entire time as their stories were shared with the audience. Amazing experience for me!!

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

PACE is unlike any non-profit I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving. I know for a fact that every dollar invested in the PACE program will result in a change of life for the girls at the school. I have personally witnessed angry, disenchanted girls transforming into confident and ambitious young women after going through the program. The staff is not only knowledgeable, but also displays a limitless compassion and optimism that is infectious. It is my personal honor to serve on the board and I will remain on the board as long as they will have me.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE Executive Directors and staff make the programs work. Girls come to the Centers needy in so many ways. They leave the Centers with a whole new outlook, with academic improvement, with goals, and with HOPE. Seeing this happen is an inspiration to Board and volunteers. The counselors and teachers go out of their way to "love the girls until they can love themselves". Financial contribution provide the "extras" that take this program out of the ordinary and into the unbelievable. PACE works!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been impressed with the training provided PACE Center teachers in research based strategies of instruction. I am a college professor in special education and was hired by PACE to provide middle school/high school literacy strategies for reading across the curriculum. The teachers who attended the two day workshop were awesome! They worked collaboratively modeling for each other strategies to engage diverse learners on varying ability levels. The effort of both the teachers and the overall administrative support was exceptional. I am pleased to have been associated with the PACE Center for Girls.

7

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE is a great organization to help girls ages 12 - 18 develop into productive citizens through education and counseling. Staff and volunteers are dedicated to the overall success of each and every girl. I am proud to be affiliated with such a great organization.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served on the PACE Board for six years and I continue to be amazed at how girls who are victimized, abused and at risk, eventually find their voices and begin to believe in themselves. Once this transformation occurs, there is no turning back. They begin to achieve academically and gain personal pride in their achievements. They learn to respect themselves and others and they become a natural support system for each other. PACE is just a place to learn and be counseled, it is a place to heal. PACE is a model program that should be duplicated nationally. PACE makes a difference without lockups and humiliation. PACE builds dignity. PACE works. Shortcomings? Not enough funding to attract, hire and retain teachers particularly in math and science.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

PACE Center for Girls is an outstanding organization committed to the encouragement, development, growth, education and nurturing of girls and young women who have been victims of abuse - physical, emotional, and sexual. Gail Markham was kind to invite me to participate in the development of the Center here in Lee County. Watching the girls grow and blossom as they come into the system from dysfunctional and often non existant family lives into girls that have self esteem and extroadinary academic improvement.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our group worked closely with the staff at PACE to purge, declutter, and organize PACE’s main office areas, files, storage areas, donations and conference room. From our first interactions with the staff, it was evident how dedicated the employees are to improving the lives of the young women who participate in their program. Their enthusiasm for the organization pushed us all to work a little harder and a little longer to create an even better environment for the girls and the staff.

1

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE Center for Girls is an absolutely outstanding organization committed to the encouragement, development, growth, education and nurturing of girls and young women who have been victims of abuse - physical, emotional, and sexual. I got involved with PACE through a dear friend and college roommate. What a blessing it was to me to be associated with such wonderful people. All of the staff shared a passionate commitment to helping these girls who face so many challenges in their lives. It provides a safe haven for girls to enjoy being a girl, and allows them to gain confidence and improve academic performance. Girls are often referred by the judicial system, as a result of minor crimes or repeated truancy. The majority of girls in the PACE program never re-offend, and most either complete a GED, or return to public education and obtain a high school diploma. The confidence they obtain through the PACE program allows them to become responsible young women, and contributors to our society in a positive way. PACE provides this opportunity for growth and healing by providing small education classes (about 10 per class), frequent counseling, and support for the many challenges that face these young women.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved with Pace Center after much prompting from a friend, another self employed business woman. I went on a mentor day and really fell in love with the concept of empowering young women who are at risk and giving them the ability to work out of a bad situation. The girls shared with us their stories. One girl was homeless and afraid to let people know. She had her backpack and that was the extent of her belongings. Not only did she gratuate from High School but she is going to college now. We are able to give the girls college scholarships and provide hope that they can get out of the downward spiral that they are in if they follow our program. The girls are fun to work with and very anxious to learn from our Board. Some of us also came from an abusive situation and have been able to put it behind us and actually use that horrible odeal to make us better not bitter. We can honestly relate to them and give them hope and encouragement. We don't need more girls in our jails and prisons. Sometimes all it takes is a helping hand. Pace is well organized, very structured and monitored by local and state agencies.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen many of these girls mature to achieve self confidence, academic milestones, and a personal pride in their self esteem. I have seen many aspire to be leaders in their community and benificial supporters to their families. This is one of the finest programs in the State of Florida for young girls, with great potential who have gone astry.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

PACE is an unbelievable opportunity for young women to have a second chance at life. This center is for girls whose lives had been traveling down a very destructive path, for a variety of reasons. PACE assists the girls in understanding what has transpired in their lives to get to such a tragic state, and allows them a safe environment to work through these emotional challenges, and to rebuild their esteem and confidence. It assists them in making different choices for their future. It has them interact with community leaders and supporters to show them that many successful and happy folks had similar bumps in the road. And it keeps these young ladies out of jail, giving them the chance to become our future leaders through the academic and emotional growth facilitated by the amazing staff and teachers. I feel blessed and honored to serve this program!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Pinellas PACE Center for Girls has helped more than 2,000 girls reclaim their self-esteem, regain their lost academic credits, achieve emotional stability, find their voice and achieve success. It is the only gender-specific program that helps girls stay out of trouble, teaches life management skills and helps them learn how to learn. In today's society, more juvenile females than ever are entering the justice system and PACE is the only alternative to incarceration that works!

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

PACE School for Girls makes a difference in the lives of at-risk girls in Florida. PACE gives girls who aren't doing well adjusting to regular school the type of family atmosphere that they need to feel valued and special. PACE helps girls who have suffered abuse and hurt in their lives see their great value to our community! PACE Alachua has been known to do anything to serve girls. Whether it is facilitating dentist appointments or finding community members willing to renovate a bathroom, PACE finds the issues preventing girls from doing their best and works tirelessly to solve those issues!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE Center for Girls in West Palm Beach is a terrific non-profit agency that invests time in energy in helping at risk girls get on track and pursue their dreams. I have had the privilege of participating the book and breakfast club at the center for the past 6 years or so. Each month, I look forward to extensive discussions with the girls in the reading group about their views of the book of the month. Through these discussions, I have learned as much about the girls and their experiences it today's world, as they have learned from me and the other professional women who participate.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

PACE Center of Girls is a way for girls to have a second chance to succeed. It is a way for girls to avoid juvenile detention centers and jail. PACE allows girls to not only get the academic teaching they need, it also allows them to build their self confidence, learn to control and deal with their anger and plan for the future. PACE gives girls hope, encouragement and a place to dream with teachers and counselors who believe in them.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

In Febuary of ths year I toured the facility with a board member, Karen Unger. I was amazed at the organization, cleanliness of the facility. The best part was going to classes and girls volunteering to speak on what their goals were and how Pace was helping them achieve their goal. They were articulate poised and confident! This organization deserves to be recognized and a model to others interested in helping high risk teens! I was pleased to attend their fundraiser while in FL.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

Pace Center for Girls helps girls catch-up on school work so they can graduate from high school and become a valuable members of society. Often the girls are so far behind academically that they need more help than a teacher can offer. We put on events that raise money for extras like tutors, field trips and even occasional dental work.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became involved with the PACE Center for Girls, Inc. through another non-profit, CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) a local chapter of a national organization that fosters the benefit of women in the commercial real estate industry. We chose our philanthropic partner to be PACE Center for Girls, Inc. as they also foster the benefit of women. The PACE Center for Girls is an alternative school that assists the high risk girls with graduating high school or earning their GED. They not only deter the girls from any juvenile delinquency problem but they teach them how to be believe in themselves and to work through their problems. The staff and volunteers care so much about the girls success and it shows in the way the girls respond to them. There are so few programs like this for girls but we need more as they are very effective.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

No where in the world do the lives of girls matter more than right here. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go. Pace is making a true contribution to valuing the lives of girls by helping some of our wounded girls find their way back to health and happiness. At the critical moment when a girl can either recover or fall farther, Pace enters the picture and wraps its loving arms around these girls. I have been connected to this program for over ten years and I am amazed at the level of sustained energy and passion that continues year after year. The staff and board work well together and the focus never leaves helping our girls. The high level of success bears out the effectiveness of Pace's nationally recognized gender-specific programming. This charity truly proves the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been associated with other non-profits around the country. PACE is by far the best-run organization I've seen. The positive leadership continually LIVES the message and continually emphasizes, "it's all about the girls" and what is best for them. The staff and management continually juggle the economic challenges everyone has with a positive, problem-solving outlook: "what can we get done and where can we find something more/different to help out" instead of "oh, dear, look what's happened to us." They take pride in the accomplishments of the girls every single day -- big achievements and very small, private steps forward. And the girls respond to the care and consistent program by achieving more than they ever thought they could. It's like watching little drops of water create a flowering meadow in the dessert. Respect and a little encouragement -- in a safe, but structured environment -- and the girls grow into viable, dynamic women. And PACE takes its misson for the community seriously. They understand donors need for validation. The amount of outcome tracking, and time making sure the programs instituted are working correctly is amazing. They understand people want to give to a RESULT, not just to an organization trying to accomplish something. They make sure they can PROVE the program works. And the results speak for themselves (see sara10's comments). The graduates come back to support the efforts of the organization. I am proud to be affiliated with PACE.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

The PACE Center for Girls is a safe haven for teenage girls who have gotten "off track" and have no viable or realistic way to make changes in their lives unless they find, and get placement in the PACE organization. It has been my experience from working on the Board for at least 5 years, that PACE gives our girls a second chance-not only at their education, but at life! I have heard girl after girl tell us that PACE changed their life and most times saved their lives. How? The unbelievable dedication of our Director,Faculty and Staff are difficult to explain. They tell us they love their jobs and they truly do. They love the girls through all the anger,heartache,shame, poverty, health issues, and physical violations that most have experienced and patiently allow them their feelings. The girls at PACE are not only loved, but are taught new ways of coping,about boundaries and self protection, self esteem and so much more. They are tutored, taught, take field trips to museums, have outside speaker programs, and given experiences in our community that they would never have been able to receive otherwise. PACE is the place-come see for yourself if you have one in your community.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to PACE 5 years ago by a friend of mine. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the people, the program and the facility. The stories the girls tell of the trials they have faced and how PACE has helped them to believe in themselves and their futures touched my heart. Having raised my own daughter through some difficult times, I can clearly see the benefit of the gender specific programs at PACE. No matter what we may say, girls are different from boys and they need different approaches! Helping the girls get off on the right foot as they start their lives will help all of us in the long run.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I enjoy helping others but I like to know that my time and money are well spent so it is with great passion that I help the PACE Center for Girls in Pensacola, Florida. It is not only a fact that PACE helps young ladies in trouble but over 80% of these young ladies do not return to the juvenile justice system which is a win-win for the girls and the tax payers! PACE Center for Girls in Pensacola is a model non profit organization.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a former student at the PACE Center for Girls in Jacksonville and graduated 8 years ago. PACE was an amazing experience for me! I was in a lot of trouble and was on a terrble path in my life, and with the loving care and guidance of the PACE organization and staff, I am now in an amazing place in my life and I hold them hugely responsible for the changes I was able to make in my life. and I would strongly reccomend donating to this organization.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PACE is a wonderful organization that helps young women turn their lives around. We serve middle and high school girls who have gotten into trouble, or who may be heading for trouble. Most of these girls come from troubled backgrounds - broken homes, parents with drug problems, domestic violence etc.. Their lives have not been easy and it is easy for them to stray down the wrong path. PACE is able to provide a nurturing haven for these girls where they can develop their potential and start believing in what they are capable of doing. PACE stands for Practical Academic Cultural Education and that is what we provide. We are not just a school, but we develop all aspects of these girls' lives. Some of their journeys are amazing and their gratitude for what PACE does for them is overwhelming. Our success rate is over 90% which is unheard of. PACE is a jewel in our community that deserves the support it gets. Graduation is today and to see those girls graduate when they never thought they were capable ie very rewarding. Through the hard work of the staff and generous support of the community PACE stays fiscally sound.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experiences with the PACE Center for Girls has been ongoing now for over 3 years. I have seen changes in these girls, and the lives around them. Most notably, however, has been with my now 15 year-old son. He has been working with PACE for the last 2 years, and the changes he has helped foster in the girls has helped him grow into a stronger leader, and an advoxate for better program. He assists with programs from fund raising to clothing drives, Easter baskets and Holiday gifts. He participates in quarterly clean-up events, and would like to one day go to the school to help with tutoring, when he is old enough. The changes I have seen in him have caused me to step back and really look at the program, and made me realize just what the program does. To keep the girls off the wrong path, and allow them to see what the right path is, to gently guide them along that right path and show them what it means to be an active member of society, and help them get there through positive re-enforcement, and prove to them it can be done, through thier own hard work and dedication, and not dwelling on the bad stuff, but focusing on the good stuff. PACE Center for Girls is the way to do it right. If PACE Center for Girls can be duplicated, some how copied through out the states, I would think it a good thing. There are not enough of them.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I graduated from PACE Broward County in 1996. With out PACE I do not know if I would have ever finished high school. They helped me mature and grow into a fine young woman. They made sure I walked that stage and remained by my side for guidance and support no matter my situation. I try to refer as many daughters’ there as I can. Thank you PACE!!