Kayla was 16 years old when she dropped out of high school during her junior year.
“I was dealing with family issues at the time,’’ she said. “I didn’t have the best role models for parents. I had to guide myself.”
Kayla and her older brother hit the road – South Dakota, Arizona, Oklahoma – and the siblings tried to make it on their own. Her brother worked various jobs to try to support them both, but it was just too much for the young man. Kayla made her way back to Pensacola, while her brother remained in South Dakota.
Kayla would eventually enroll at the Pace Center for Girls Escambia-Santa Rosa, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities through education, counseling, training and advocacy to girls and young women who are often at risk, such as Kayla.
Now, Kayla is a Pace Center for Girls graduate and Pensacola State College general education student who hopes to go into nursing after she earns an Associate in Arts degree. She is also one of the first recipients of the Margie and Alan Moore Endowed Scholarship, which gives preference to Pace Center for Girls students and program graduates.
“The scholarship has helped so much,’’ Kayla said. “I was working full time and trying to pay all my bills, so it would have been hard without a scholarship.”
She is currently taking six classes for the fall semester.
“I love it,’’ she said. “I love it so much. I’m just really excited about the future now.”
The first Margie and Alan Moore Endowed Scholarships were awarded during the Spring Semester. Kayla is one of four students who have received the endowed scholarship.
Margie Moore said she and her husband established the scholarship to help young women facing tough obstacles.
“Many of these girls are first-generation college students who do not have the support they need at home,’’ said Moore, who is chair of the PSC Board of Trustees and a longtime supporter of the Pace Center for Girls. “We want to help them break the cycle and give them a chance at a real future.”
Ashley Donahoo, Pace Center for Girls Transition Services Specialist, said the scholarship will help ensure young women like Kayla continue in a positive direction after Pace Center program completion.
“Margie and Alan have been longtime champions of Pace Center for Girls,’’ Donahoo said. “Some of these girls never thought college would be possible. This helps make it possible. Some of these girls have home life problems, or are dealing with a history of abuse, or are dealing with bullying, substance abuse and a lot more. We have girls from all walks of life who want to make a better life for themselves. This scholarship can help them reach their goals.”
For information on the Margie and Alan Moore Endowed Scholarship, go to https://foundation.pensacolastate.edu/new-opportunity-for-pace-center-for-girls/.
For information on Pace Center for Girls Escambia-Santa Rosa, go to https://www.pacecenter.org/locations/florida/escambia-santa-rosa.