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History of Professional Achievers of Community Excellence

 

In the fall of 1983, Liz Hale and Roxanne Forster sat down together as friends and neighbors in their suburban Carrollton, Texas surroundings to talk about starting a community organization for Black Women. They talked about needing to meet and connect with other black women in the Dallas Metroplex area who might share some of the same values and desires they had. They were looking for friendships and support as they raised their children in an environment that offered opportunities on the one hand, and troubling challenges on the other. They decided that community involvement and community would be important Christian values to keep the club vibrant, lively and relevant.
 

A few months later, a group of about 30 women were invited to attend a meeting at the home of Liz Hale to discuss the possibility of forming such a club. Among those in attendance were career professionals, including nurses, school teachers, secretaries, and also some stay at home moms. All were very excited about the possibility of forming an organization and appreciated the opportunity to get together and share ideas.
 

There were several different ideas for the club, including an investment club, a crafts club, and a social club. Overall, the majority of the ladies talked about wanting to do something to make a difference in their community and to be a visible presence as black women in the Dallas area and beyond.


After a second meeting a month later, about 20 women committed to forming an organization whose main purpose would be community service coupled with friendship and mutual support. Liz Hale served as acting president and Roxanne Forster as acting vice president.


Others who volunteered to serve were Lillie Lawrence, Jackie Brown, Linda Aldrich and Barbara Byse. It was at the home of Barbara Byse in Carrollton, Texas in February, 1984 that the club became official and the group began pondering names for the organization. Suggestions for names were presented and included T-Som and Diamonds. Linda Aldrich suggested “PACE – Professional Achievers for Community Excellence” and the name just seemed to fit.

The first activities sponsored by PACE included the celebration of Black History Month at the Carrollton Library through displays, programs, films, and stories. A “Meet the Candidate” night was often held for those running for public office. Participation in the Carrollton County Fair became an annual event.
 

The first Christmas party was held at the Country Place Clubhouse and benefited the Bethlehem Center for Children and the United Negro College Fund. Dwayne Dancer, a local radio personality, served as disc jockey for the evening. PACE’s contribution to the United Negro College Fund was presented on KERA public television during UNCF’s telethon.
Later activities included visiting nursing homes, garage sales, the toy drive at Christmas, volunteering for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, giving Thanksgiving baskets and monetary donations to needy families, worshipping together in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and many other events. In addition, PACE has been blessed to be able to help
families and students alike when asked – whether a family in need or a young person needing
assistance with a competitive event.
I

n 1985, PACE held it’s first luncheon and fashion show at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on Midway Road in Dallas, Texas.
It was not until the following year that the focus turned to scholarships for young minority women who were high school seniors bound for college with a need for financial assistance.

 

And so began the “Annual PACE Scholarship Luncheon and Fashion Show.” Roxanne Forster suggested the name “Spring Into Summer”. Someone else added “Spring Into Summer with PACE” and the name stuck. Later black and gold became the official PACE colors. 
 

Annually since 1986, PACE has contributed to the education and dreams of up to ten young women each year who demonstrate academic excellence, community service, pride in themselves, and the desire for educational achievement and success. PACE also hosts an annual Christmas Gala, the first Friday night in December. Disco Don served as the DJ for a number of years and always added a lively spark to the event. In recent years DJ Diamond Kenneth
Vincent has done the honors.

 

PACE worked with the South Dallas YMCA during their annual Christmas Toy Drive for a number of years, making monetary donations to assist with the purchase of toys for needy children and volunteering to sort and organize clothing and toys for the families. I n recent years, PACE has supported Wesley Inn/Promise House, a home for unwed
homeless teenage mothers. PACE members held baby showers and donated new clothing for infants and toddlers. In addition, members donated women’s clothing and toiletries for the mothers, as well as children’s books and magazines.
Each year PACE helps to feed the homeless at the Salvation Army Service Center on Harry Hines in Dallas. And PACE also participates in the drive to provide gifts for needy families so that children and their parents will have gifts under the tree on Christmas day. 
PACE also participates in other community events each year including the Martin Luther King Day Parade in Carrollton.

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