Pace Center for Girls, a nationally recognized model that provides education, counseling, training and advocacy for more than 3,000 girls and young women annually, received an $85,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to advance girls’ understanding of distracted driving and safe motor vehicle operation. The funding supported Pace’s service-learning program designed to help girls engage in leadership development and give back to their local communities.
“Pace believes a holistic approach to safety ensures our girls can thrive,” said Mary Marx, president and CEO of Pace Center for Girls. “Distracted driving is a public health threat, particularly among young people, so we are grateful to State Farm for investing in Pace and providing us the opportunity to enhance our counseling, academics and life skills training on this topic.”
From April 19 through 22, Pace hosted a weeklong initiative across its 21 Florida locations where girls completed lessons, crafted art projects and heard from guest speakers, including representatives from State Farm, highway patrol officers and Cara Filler, America’s leading speaker on traffic safety and peer pressure. Girls are advocating for safe driving through a friendly art competition and the statewide winning art piece will be displayed at the Florida State Capitol.
“Working with Pace girls has been a memorable and rewarding experience,” said Jose Soto, State Farm corporate responsibility analyst. “The girls have an incredible abundance of talent and creativity, and our agents enjoyed the opportunity to teach them invaluable lessons about safe driving that will build a safer, stronger and better-educated community.”
Texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking and fiddling with music—all common activities of teenagers—can have catastrophic results when driving. In 2020, there were more than 48,000 driving crashes in Florida, 75 percent of which were caused by the driver being inattentive behind the wheel.
“Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S., and most of those deaths are completely preventable,” said Filler. “Our choices matter. Through this program, we aspire for Pace girls to have the resources and education to make good choices when they are in vehicles and advocate for safer driving among their friends and families.”
For more information about Pace Center for Girls, visit www.pacecenter.org.