Fairport, N.Y. - Nine-year-old Mary Ciarico says she used to be shy and not have confidence.
Since she's been running, Mary says she feels better about her self and speaks up more.
Mary tells us: "I feel more confident...I can talk about stuff, it makes me feel good."
Ten-year-old Julia Treviso says running has made her a better person and a strong athlete.
Volunteer coaches like Andrea Hickerson and Jill Nobes say they see the difference in these young girls once they join the Girls On The Run Program.
The program teaches girls ages 8-12 to run a 5k. But it's so much more than that.
They are taught to respect one another, have a positive attitude, and how to handle things like bullying and teasing.
Through the twice a week work-outs, they also build their self-esteem and self-confidence.
The program is part of an international effort to build girls' minds, bodies and spirits, so they can "write their own stories" and live their own lives, instead of trying to be like someone else.
Kim Bunce, is the Chairwoman of the Girls On The Run Board. She says she wishes the program was around when her girls were younger.
Bunce says: "If we can get these girls when they're younger, they can avoid the negative things when they get to high school."
This program isn't just about running and it's not a race. But the girls are practicing for a big 5k event to show off what they have learned for family and friends.
They will run their 5k at Monroe Community College on Sunday June 2 at 5pm.
There are more than 350 Girls On The Run in Rochester and Monroe County.
For more information on how to join the program or volunteer as a coach, check out their website