Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County runs the PACE Derby Day 5k/10k
May 6, 2017

PACE Center for Girls is a long-time partner of the Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) of Marion County. PACE offers a renowned and one of a kind alternative learning center with unquestionable results that you must see to believe. According to their history, “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.” The Derby Day is just one of the ways the partnership between PACE and the TFP is represented in Marion County, and probably one of the most fun. It entails a walk, jog, or run around the Florida Horse Park, an award ceremony, and all the freebies of a 5k/10k including swag bags and a carb-packed breakfast.

This year, a group of no less than five  TFP members participated in the PACE Derby Day including the leads of a new QuitDoc Foundation program who have also partnered with PACE in Marion County, and are inspiring youth to “Be A Tobacco Free Influence” for further success.

The Be A Tobacco Free Influence program is made up of two parts: Tobacco Intervention and Prevention for Students (TIPS) and the Student Tobacco Addiction Treatment (STAT) program, which is currently being offered at PACE in Marion County. Here is how STAT works:

STAT is a five session youth tobacco cessation program that provides participants with tools and support for quitting tobacco. It is geared for youth aged 11-17 who identify as current tobacco users and want to learn skills to avoid using tobacco and other substances. Youth are also taught empowerment skills to become peer mentors to assist other youth in their efforts to become tobacco free. After the five sessions are completed and upon request, an adult-monitored peer support group continues to meet to reinforce lessons learned and to provide continued support to youth who struggle with nicotine and other addictions. Carbon monoxide monitors are used every session to track participants' progress and a certificate of completion is awarded after participants successfully complete the initial five sessions.

The TFP and its members are proud supporters of PACE Center for Girls. It’s clear to see their dedication to the youth, and their achievements in our community. We hope to see you supporting them too next year at the PACE Derby Day 5k/10k!

If you would like more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership, or the QuitDoc Foundation, please contact the Marion County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Lauren Walter, 352.598.8241,

To learn more about the STAT program here is a link to the Be A Tobacco Free Influence program, which encompasses TIPS and STAT: