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Student at the Pace Center for Girls – Hernando, receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on March 17, 2020

Julia Mercado, an 11th-grade student at the Pace Center for Girls – Hernando, was honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Julia Mercado, 11th-grade student at the Pace Center for Girls – Hernando, receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. The Pace Center for Girls – Hernando nominated Julia for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service.

Julia has volunteered for numerous volunteer opportunities over the last two years and has embraced each new event with eager anticipation and excitement.  Julia’s motivation is to give back to the community that has been such a tremendous source of support for Julia and her family.

Gail Armstrong, Executive Director of Pace Hernando, stated, “Julia comes to class every day with a smile on her face and a desire to learn. She is dedicated to being the best version of herself and puts a great amount of effort into everything she does. Julia’s desire to support our community is very admirable, making her a great role model in her classes. Julia’s drive and determination make her a positive influence on others, and she is always willing to lend a helping hand. She is also a wonderful student and absolutely deserves this award.  Congratulations, Julia!”

In its 25th year, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.

“Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey. “Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too.”

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Baroletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

Prudential Spirit of Community Award application details was distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girls Scout Councils, County 4-H organizations, American Red Cross Chapters, YMCAs and Points of Light Global Network members. These schools and officially-designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists, and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.

About Pace Hernando

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 Hernando County School District.  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.  For more information, please call to set up a tour!

About Pace

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 amongst 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.

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