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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PACE Center For Girls...and Bode!

Do you know about PACE Center for Girls? I didn't until last week. It is amazing! Tara (along with Abbey and I) are friends with their amazing Executive Director, Marianne Kearns.

From their Facebook page: 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. Over 50 girls, ages 12 to 18, attend the Collier County day program in Immokalee and face a variety of challenges such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, academic underachievement, substance abuse, trauma, death of a parent, and/or family history of incarceration. Learn more at
PACE provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.

PACE has been recognized as a "best practices model" by the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Child Welfare League of America and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. 

Florida is one of only two states that recognized by law the benefits of a gender-specific response to juvenile offenders. PACE's programs for Florida girls has become a national model for results-based intervention.

Photo from their website

Tara told me we were going to visit the school and I thought it was just that...a school. I was so wrong! It is  so welcoming and celebratory of the girls and the community. As you enter, you cant help but smile but what is happening within their doors.

I wasn't feeling great when we were headed there as we had just left my "special" doctor that has helped me to gain most of my health back. My mood sure changed once we got there, although I tired fairly quickly!

Marianne showed us the gym area, which was being set up for a women's networking event and then we got to see her office. There was an employee that was spooked by me...I think people think I am big or I? We stayed away from that lady, although I wanted her to realize how nice I am! We then went into a classroom where I was able to sniff around and try to learn more about where we were. Some staff members came in to meet me and helped Marianne bring in the girls I was able to spend time with. Some of them had some pretty surprised reactions at seeing me. Am I really that big?

There were about 15 girls that I was able to spend time with, along with some staff members, and four students from the College of Charleston that were doing community work at the school.

I visited with the girls, rested, and visited some more. I am still working back my stamina to be able to spend more time with people, but seem to be tiring much faster than I used to...I refuse to say it is due to my age and think it is just because of this illness I am working through.

Tara talked about the training Abbey and I have had, what "work" looks like for us, our other canine co-workers, and more. She attempted to get me to do my tricks, but I wasn't into it! I was able to do a few for some of the girls, but didn't feel like putting on a show...not to mention Tara did not give me treats!! She keeps refusing to do that and tries to trick me into thinking food is treats...I am not falling for it! I heard the vet say I can't have it, but I just refuse to accept that!

I received lots of hugs from the girls at PACE and could really tell some of them could use my skills and help. I hope they find someone they can trust and talk to so they don't continue to keep all their feelings inside. Maybe they will realize how much they can trust Marianne and let her help them get the support they need!

Tara and I are hoping for an invite back! We love all that is going on out there. You can follow their FB page to learn more:

It's getting off to bed I go... I am trying to rest up and spend more time in the office as we (Delta Family Counseling) are hosting an Animal Assisted Play Therapy training next week by Rise Van Fleet and if I feel good I get to participate!!! Abbey, Somer, and Shep are so excited and I am too, I just don't know if I will be ready!!

Sending "hearts" your way in honor of the PACE Girls!
<3 Bode <3

1 comment:

Marianne Kearns said...

Awwww love you guys!