Claudine Labelle

Ashoka Fellow
Montreal, QC, Canada
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Claudine Labelle was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Claudine is creating community support networks to motivate young girls to become more active and to develop confidence and a positive self-image. She is working in multiple cities in Canada, bringing together professional athletes, career women, schools and amateur sport organizations. Olympians give conferences to inspire teenage girls and help them reflect on healthy lifestyles and self-development. Claudine invites teenagers to participate in FitClub and athletic challenges organized by teachers and accompanied by mentors—professional women and athletes. Her goal is to prevent unhealthy lifestyles by developing early habits for physical activities. Claudine offers teenage girls opportunities to interact with role models—athletes as well as women of all ages who have integrated sport into their lives in different ways, but who benefit from it in similar ways. They all enjoy it thoroughly, have used it as a self-development tool, and as a way to improve their health and develop support networks. Through big sport events, amateur sport organizations, schools, and mentors, teenage girls experiment with fun and interesting sports and games. With ongoing activities and network support, inactive girls make and sustain commitments to physical activity, trying new sports and developing new behaviors. The community clusters are constantly expanding to increase the motivation of young girls and their sense of belonging. As a result, Claudine is also preventing future eating and emotional disorders.

One of the most important players in the life of a teenager is the school system, and Claudine is strengthening its capacity to support girls in their physical, mental, and social development. She is developing train-the-trainer relationships with schools and teachers, getting them involved in supporting young girls to become more active. Claudine works closely with teachers to create FitClub’s that enable young girls, who are often intimidated by sports, to get together to exercise. The training plan is designed for all fitness levels so anyone can participate. The more active FitClub members are invited to motivate their less active teammates to get moving. Claudine also brings extra resources to schools, like kinesiologists and nutritionists, and thus changes mindsets within the school system by introducing a much needed focus on teenage girls’ health. Furthermore, she offers a service to youth organizations that gives young women the opportunity to partake in sports. This gives girls the chance to experiment with a variety of physical activities, all in an unthreatening and casual environment. Claudine also partners with large citizen organizations (COs), like the YWCA and creates programs for their members.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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