Pace Center for Girls in Hernando is proud to announce that three of its students are the program’s first high school graduates since its inception in January 2018.
The Pace Center for Girls in Hernando County was founded in 2018 to serve middle and high school girls who are struggling but want to make positive changes in their lives. As a movement, Pace was founded in 1985 to provide an opportunity for young women and girls to create a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy.
Girls attend Pace during the day and are enrolled in all academic classes taught by teachers who are certified through the State of Florida. While at Pace, girls also meet with counselors who provide mental health services for the girls and their families. Girls are typically enrolled at PACE for between 18-21 months and upon exit, follow up services are provided for at least 1 year. The program is free of charge for girls who reside in Hernando County and meet eligibility requirements.
When asked how Pace has influenced their lives and what their hopes are for the future, the graduates said:
Hannah Kennedy: “Pace has helped me by giving me confidence inside and outside of the classroom. Pace has showed me everyone has room for growth and everyone matters and has a chance, no matter what their past is. In the future I want to be a Pace counselor because I want to impact others’ lives as well.”
Brianna Roden: “I got a lot out of Pace. I got out how to make friendships and how to start believing in myself. I never believed in myself before and I thought that I was a failure and I wouldn’t make it. But when I came to Pace, they started helping me realize that I am worth it and I can do what I want to do if I believe in myself. And they helped me a lot with grieving the loss of my dad because it was really hard losing my father. I appreciate everything they did because I wouldn’t be here without them. I see myself going to college and becoming a nurse. I really want to be a nurse because I want to help people. I helped my dad when he was sick with his IVs and bandage changes, so I want to be a nurse and make a difference, trying to help save and change lives.”
Kayleigh Barton: “Before Pace, I had actually dropped out of school for nine months and so they were just open to helping me with everything, getting me everything I needed and put me on the right path to finding my way. I really didn’t have a plan before I came here and now I know what I’m doing. I’m going to take my CNA certification and hopefully get a job at a senior living facility. Then I plan on working in a mother and baby or pediatric unit, and then I will go to nursing school.”
Pace Center for Girls Hernando Teachers and Counselors: “Having the first class to graduate from the Hernando Center has been extremely exciting, both for the girls as well as the staff.
These young women have worked hard, put in the effort, overcome obstacles and in the end, reaped the reward of receiving that wonderful high school diploma. Seeing our girls graduate warms the heart and gives us hope for their future and our community’s collective future. They are prepared with tools to move forward in their lives and create positive changes in everything they do. We look forward to hearing about the challenges life offers them, and how they will rise to the occasion. For everyone at the Center, it truly means we are making a difference within our girls to help them achieve their goals and dreams.”