Child of the Cross Running Clinics in for the Long Haul
What started as a desire to share his message of hope and restoration with northern Saskatchewan communities grappling with youth suicide, has turned into full-time mission for Tarrant Cross Child, his wife, Celeste, and his four children.
Child of the Cross Running Clinics started as modest endeavours. They received early support from a small group of local business people, including Brian Michasiw, the founder of the local running institution Brainsport. Through the Brainsport Shoe Donation Program, Cross Child was able to bring gentlyused trainers into the communities where he was speaking and holding running clinics.
Cross Child’s message resonated immediately with the communities he was going into and soon he was fielding requests for his services from communities across Saskatchewan and beyond. When asked if he thought his clinics would evolve to reach thousands of people, Cross Child was pleasantly surprised. “Not at all, not one bit,” he says. “It started by hearing about the suicide crisis in the north and wanting to bring my message and running clinics to them. We’ve grown a lot, and have lots of partners and lots of support, but the message is the same – it’s simple – hope and restoration.”
Today, Child of the Cross Running Clinics has blossomed into a non-profit organization, with wide support from local businesses, as well as from New Balance Canada, which provides Cross Child with new shoes for clinic participants, and swag and equipment to help create a race-day experience for those in the smaller communities Cross Child reaches.
The key to success, says Cross Child, is in preparation and follow-up with the communities.
“If we just go to a place and have an event, it really misses t he point ,” says Cross Child. “It’s about loving the community, supporting the community and that doesn’t all happen at the event.”
Cross Child’s team researches each community they go into in order to best understand their needs. They also do extensive follow-up with the communities via phone calls and visits to ensure ongoing support.
“We’ll call and ask how they’re running programs are doing. We’ll ask if they need more shoes, or T-shirts, or do they need training plans,” he says.
Cumberland House, Sask., was the very first community Cross Child went to back in 2016, and to this day the community still gets visits from Cross Child’s team.
“It’s about being a good steward of who we’ve been entrusted with,” says Cross Child. “We want them to know we’re not just here for you for one day, or two. We’re here for the long haul.”