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PACE girls attend their prom at Lee County YMCA

May 9, 2014
Special to the Reporter ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The PACE Center for Girls of Lee County held their Prom on Friday, April 25 at the Lee County YMCA. Decorations generously donated by Fort Myers High School set the Prom theme as "Fire and Ice." More than 35 PACE girls attended the prom and enjoyed the night of a lifetime.

The PACE prom would not have been possible without the help of the Lee County community. Each girl was given the opportunity to "shop" through the 200 plus dresses that were all donated to PACE through dress drives at Edison Mall, Dazzle Too, and other generous drop-offs. To get ready for the prom, local salon's partnered together and provided two hours of hair and makeup service to the girls, making each one look her best. The night was full of fun and dancing with great music by New Beginnings Events, and a photo booth by Megan DiPiero Photography.

"This is always my favorite night of the year for the PACE girls. It is such a joy to see the girls laughing, dancing and being themselves on the dance floor. They really feel important and respected on this night," said Sandy Stilwell, chair of the PACE Center Board of Directors.

Article Photos

Girls from the Lee PACE Center pose before their prom on April 25. PHOTO PROVIDED.

The PACE girls had even more to look toward at the end of the event: Superlatives. Ten girls were awarded a rose from superlatives including, "Most Sincere," "Most Likely to Succeed," "Most Talented" and so on. The biggest excitement of the night, however, was the announcement of the PACE Prom Queen. With votes extremely tight this year, PACE ended up awarding a princess and a queen. This year's Prom Queen, Shelby, is 17-years-old and has been at PACE for eleven months.

"This literally means everything to me. Before PACE, I was close to dropping out of school. I had no friends and I was really depressed," she said.

Shelby, like most PACE girls, has found herself at PACE and is more resilient than ever. When asked how she felt about winning Prom Queen, she said: "I'm happy this will show everyone that plus-sized girls can win too. I have learned to love myself and my body size; hopefully this will help other girls have hope and to love themselves too. That is the best part about winning."

PACE would like to thank the 2014 prom sponsors including the Lee County YMCA, Edison Mall, New Beginnings Events, Dazzle Too, Fort Myers High School, Balloons Over Fort Myers, Blue Dahlia Salon, Paul Mitchell the School, Sunstate Academy, Mary Kay Representatives, Jason's Deli, Sunshine Grille, the PACE Board of Directors, PACE Sisters and Chick-fil-A.

PACE Center for Girls, Inc. is a non-residential delinquency prevention program targeting the unique needs of girls, ages 12 to 18, facing challenges such as abuse, school truancy, academic failure, foster care, exposure to substance use and/or incarcerated parent(s). At PACE, girls find a supportive environment focusing on their strengths through a gender-responsive approach that centers on the emotional and physical safety of each girl. As a result, PACE reduces the significant long term costs associated with teen pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment and long term economic dependency. For more information about the prom or the PACE program, visit or contact Sally Kee at or 425-2366 ext. 2315.



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