In 2010, Lisa Miller accepted a friend’s invitation to tour the Pace Center for Girls in Ocala, Florida. The tour changed her life.
“When I took the tour, I was taken by the center after hearing the mission, philosophies and things they accomplish and offer girls,” said Miller, who manages Regions’ main branch in Ocala. “It impressed me that we have something like this here.”
Pace is a nonprofit that operates 21 centers across Florida, annually serving 3,000 girls and young women who are at risk for institutionalization or incarceration. Pace provides an opportunity for a brighter future through education, guidance and advocacy.
One part of that tour stopped Miller in her tracks.
“I saw two young girls that I knew from my community,” she said. “They didn’t have a lot of family support at home for their education. They weren’t encouraged to do good or attend classes – no one to enforce rules or make them go. But they were being helped at Pace.”
Miller immediately agreed to become a volunteer.
“It touched my heart when I saw what the organization could do,” she recalled. “But it hit home when I saw that someone I knew was benefiting from it.”
Seven months later, she joined the board and has remained ever since. She raises funds, mentors young women and sings the praises of Pace to anyone who will listen.
“It’s where my heart is,” Miller said. “I’ve seen many girls transition out of the program and be productive in society.”
Citing her work helping girls find a better path, Regions honored Miller with the company’s Better Life Award on Wednesday. The Better Life Award is the top honor given to a Regions associate for outstanding dedication and job performance, as well as exemplary involvement and commitment to the community.
In addition to the Better Life Award, Regions donates $1,000 in the name of the recipient to a nonprofit of the winner’s choice. Miller chose Pace, where donations support program resources, pay for teachers, and allow more girls to be reached.
“They can’t catch a school bus to go to Pace,” Miller explained. “They have to have their own transportation or ride a city bus. These girls also don’t know where their next meal is going to come from.”
But they do know they have an ally.
“We’re advocates for the girls to get things they need in life,” Miller explained. “Pace is an awesome organization. I’m happy to say I’ve been a part of it for the past 10 years.”
See Miller’s passion on display through this video on Regions’ YouTube channel.