PACE Center to Honor Three More Local Women at Grande Dames Tea

The PACE Center for Girls of Lee County has selected three more women to be honored at the Fourth Annual Grande Dames Tea honoring some of our community's most revered women.
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Fort Myers - Florida - US

Jan. 9, 2012 - PRLog -- January 9, 2012

Dena Geraghty            Susan Bennett, APR, CPRC
Grande Dames Tea Chair         Susan Bennett Marketing & Media
(239) 851-1028            (239) 277-5255


   FORT MYERS, FLA., January 9, 2012 –  PACE Center for Girls of Lee County has selected three more women to be honored at the Fourth Annual Grande Dames Tea honoring some of our community’s most revered women.  
   This year’s honorees are:
   ●   Michel Doherty of Cape Coral – Retired hospital administrator, author, and political campaigner.  Doherty spent 30 years in health care as an administrator, consultant, and executive board member of First Hospital Corporation of Norfolk, Va., and has written several medical training manuals on addictions.  Since making Southwest Florida her home, she has worked on the campaigns of numerous candidates for public office.
   ●   Mavis Stinson Miller of Fort Myers – Philanthropist and trustee of the John E. and Aliese Price Foundation whose generosity has benefitted dozens of local charities.  She is a life member of the Edison State College Foundation and has been honored with the Clara Barton Humanitarian Award by the Lee County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
   ●   Anna “Boots” Tolles of Cape Coral – Shareholder in Tolles Seawalls, mother of a blended family of eight children and the survivor of many life tragedies. Tolles has worked tirelessly for Cape Coral, earning her the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association. Tolles and her late husband, Earle, also were honored with the Elmer Tabor Award for philanthropy from the City of Cape Coral.
The Grande Dames Tea honoring the three women will take place Tuesday, March 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre at 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.  
“We are delighted that these three women have agreed to join us for an afternoon of sharing their experiences with the audience and the PACE girls,” said Grande Dames Tea Chair Dena Geraghty, who also is a member of the PACE Lee Board of Directors and trustee of PACE Center for Girls, Inc.  
Invitations to the Grande Dames Tea will be mailed in mid-February, at which time guests may also register online at Admission is $50 per person. Table sponsorships are also available. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite tea party hat.
This is the fourth year of the historic Grande Dames Tea.  Previous honorees have included philanthropists Berne Davis, Eleanore Kleist and Barbara B. Mann in 2009; Jeanne Bochette, Helen Hendry and Veronica Shoemaker in 2010; and Myra Daniels, Kathleen Nealon and Mimi Straub in 2011.  
The Grande Dames Tea was originated by PACE Center for Girls of Lee County to honor women who have played major roles in Southwest Florida history through decades of service, philanthropy and helping others.
The theme of the Grande Dames Tea is The Wisdom of Age – Honoring the Female Spirit.  “This is the perfect opportunity for our community and the PACE girls to honor these women, and to learn of the challenges and success of their life experiences,” Geraghty said.
“As co-chairman of the Tea, I am really looking forward to honoring these incredible ladies. Please join us,” said Sandra Stilwell, who also is a board member of PACE Lee.
The agenda for the tea will include interaction between the PACE girls and the three Grande Dames, in a question and answer format that Geraghty and Stilwell said “is sure to be thought-provoking and poignant.” Mei-Mei Chan, News-Press Media Group President and Publisher, will once again serve as mistress of ceremonies.
PACE Center for Girls, Inc., is a non-residential delinquency prevention program targeting the unique needs of girls, ages 12 to 18 years old, facing challenges such as physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, foster care, neglect, death of a parent, family history of incarceration and declining grades
PACE is a Florida-based, not for profit organization, and the only statewide prevention program for adolescent at-risk girls in the nation.  Its mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.  Since the Lee County program opened its doors in 2007, more than 400 girls have been served, helping them on the journey to begin lives of dignity and success.
PACE accepts referrals from the juvenile justice system, the Department of Children & Families, school personnel, community services agencies, parents, family members, friends and self-referrals.  PACE Lee’s most recent outcome report shows that 94 percent of girls served have no involvement with the criminal justice system a year after transitioning from PACE’s day program. As a result, PACE reduces the significant long term costs associated with teen pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment and long term economic dependency.
For information about the Grande Dames Tea or to become a sponsor, please contact PACE Director of Development Melissa Simontis at (239) 425-2366, ext. 25, or Dena Geraghty at (239) 851-1028, or visit  

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