Lymari Benitez

Pace Center for Girls, Inc.

Florida, USA

Lymari Benitez moved from Puerto Rico to the USA 19 years ago. She currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and two boys, and cares deeply about the 3,000 girls that her organization, Pace Center for Girls, serves annually. As Senior Director of Research and Program Evaluation, she uses data as her superpower to make a difference. She is proud that this year, Pace expanded beyond their 21 locations in Florida to Georgia as well.

Pace Center for Girls changes the trajectory of girls that are at high risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. Pace applies a set of gender-responsive, trauma-informed and strength-based prevention and early intervention practices, including academic and social services, for girls with the purpose of strengthening their systems of care. Pace believes in providing every girl the opportunity to find her voice and use it to change her life trajectory. Thus, collecting feedback is mission-critical for the work that Lymari does to make Pace accountable for girls’ experiences in the program. Lymari is excited to offer her knowledge of community participatory processes with the Fellows group and is hoping to develop her practice, develop herself, and develop meaningful connections.

Pace Center for Girls

The holistic, gender-specific,s trength-based, and trauma-informed Pace program model addresses the needs of girls and has garnered recognition nationally as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system.