Educating the community about free and affordable health care resources and empowering girls will be the focus of an event sponsored by Pace Center for Girls Alachua.

Billed as the 5th annual “Girls Rock Rally and Community Health Fair,” the event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 23 at Lincoln Middle School, 1001 SE 12th St.

“The rally is held to, on one hand, celebrate the awesomeness of being a girl,” said Anthony Pierce, community engagement manager at Pace, which offers academic and social services to 11- to 18-year-old girls who face risk factors for underachievement like substance abuse, domestic violence, the incarceration of a family member and neglect. “On the other hand, we want to make sure our community knows about the free and affordable health care services that are available to them and just give back to the community that has given so much to us.”

The event will be hosted by Stephanie Monique, a multi-faceted doctoral candidate studying bio statistics and epidemiology with a specialization in obesity prevention in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Monique, who is an entrepreneur, choreographer, model, personal fitness trainer, nutritionist and philanthropist, among other things, said she has been a supporter of Pace Center for Girls Alachua for several years.

“Giving back to the community and helping young girls has always been a passion for me,” said Monique, a native of Sacramento, California, who earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from FAMU and a master’s from Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The students at Pace are “an amazing group of young ladies,” Monique said, adding that she always try to encourage the students at Pace to take care of their bodies and to believe in themselves.

“My main message to them will be that self-confidence is necessary to be successful and is something that they have to build up in themselves no matter what they are going through,” Monique said.

The event will feature health care vendors, various agencies and organizations, performances by Infamous Diamonds, a local majorette dance group, FACES Modeling Troupe from the University of Florida, members of at least one sorority from UF – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. – and more, Pierce said.

The speaker this year will be Natalya Bannister, executive director of Pace.

“The Pace Center for Girls’ ‘Girls Rock Rally’ is an empowering high-energy event for girls, by girls,” Bannister said. “It gives all young women and their families in our community an opportunity to celebrate the awesomeness of being a girl, while bringing vital resources directly to them. Most importantly, this event is a reminder that each and every girl has the power to change the world.”

Though the emphasis will be on empowering girls, Pierce said it will be an event for the entire family, and boys are encouraged to attend. Those who attend all of the vendor tables will receive tickets that will enable them to get free school supplies and there will be drawings for prize giveaways that will include $75 worth of haircare services at Hairport Salon and Barber Suites.

Music will be provided by local disc jockey Eric “E-Lo” Lopez and Tony Miranda of So Sharp Barbarshop will be donating a voucher for a free haircut.