Keeping girls and young women active and healthy is the goal of a program known as FitSpirit and it's having an impact on students in Sudbury.

Sudbury's Nina Kucheran is sharing her story about her journey as a decorated swimmer with elementary and high school students.

“I'm so thankful for the opportunity to motivate people on a cause that is just so close to my heart." said Kucheran.

She is one of several guest speakers to talk about the importance of an initiative known as FitSpirit, a campaign which encourages physical activity and healthy eating for empowering girls.

"This program is so important for girls just to be out there and active.” said Kucheran.

According to FitSpirit statistics, 9 out of 10 girls fail to meet Canadian exercise guidelines by the time they graduate high school.

Julie Leger-Dimaio is a FitSpirit program leader.

"After grade 9, kids are no longer mandated to take Phys Ed, so a lot of kids, if they don't have an extra venue outside of the school, they don't have anything at all." said Leger-Dimaio.

Being involved with this program, students are required to be active 2-3 times a week before taking part in a 5 to 10 kilometre run in June.

Danica Servant competed in the annual run last year, for the first time, and calls it life-changing.

"It was such an uplifting accomplishment, like a goal for me." said Servant.

Grade 9 student Sophie Cholette says she never felt too confident playing sports, but feels that will change.

"It's inspiring and I’m really excited to start running. It looks like lots of fun and I hope I have fun." said Cholette.

This summer Kucheran is off to Florida State University on a scholarship that she says is half academic and half athletic.

FitSpirit is in its 4th year in the Sudbury area. It's in about 25 schools in the district, with about 1000 students registered.

For more details about the FitSpirit program, see related links.