NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A local organization is getting girls on the right track at a young age by helping them get ready to run.
The Junior Girls Day Out Project is getting girls in shape for this year's Cooper River Bridge Run.
"We want to make a difference in the lives of young girls," says Kathy Jackson. "We want to provide them with something positive and enriching."
Jackson is doing just that. In 2007, she founded the Junior Girls Day Out community project and what started out as a mentoring program has grown into something so much more.
"Guidance counselors say 'Wow, if this program didn't exist, girls would be home on the internet and doing nothing at all, ' " Jackson said.
The project has teamed up with the College of Charleston for its new fitness and nutrition program.
Since the beginning of this year, College of Charleston freshmen have been training young girls for the Cooper River Bridge Run after school.
"We do warm-ups and a couple exercises then we go walk the bridge and after we do cool downs then have a healthy snack," said Mary Ford student Taynique Brown
Brown says she looks forward to training every day, but it's not just about the work-out. She says meeting new girls in the program has helped her at school.
"I moved to Mary Ford last week and I already made seven friends," Brown said.
It also taught her what it means to have a healthy lifestyle.
"When you do your homework and then come exercise you can go home and exercise more if you want," she said.
The program doesn't cost a penny, but Jackson does ask one thing of the girls.
"We ask girls to make a decision, make a decision that they want to do their best in school and persevere to do their goals. That's all we ask," Jackson said.
The organization runs on money raised through donations and fundraisers. If you're interested in helping out you can call 864-3399.