by Mark Rummel Hope For Flint
You only see the tip of an iceberg sticking out of the cold ocean waves. There is so much more beneath the surface of the water that cannot be seen.
That is exactly the story of the Crim Fitness Foundation — so much more is being done behind the scenes and in multiple fields of work, all designed to cultivate wellness in the City of Flint, Genesee County, and truly the world.
When people hear the words Crim and Fitness, they think of the world-famous Crim Road Races and Training conducted each August on the streets of Flint since 1977. Now known as the HAP Crim Festival of Races, this year’s event is coming Friday and Saturday, Aug. 21 and 22.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the Crim Fitness Foundation (CFF) is concerned.
Chief Executive Officer Gerald Myers leads the CFF team in a half-dozen year-round programs, all designed to create a mindful community here. They passionately work to help make life better for local residents of all ages, in many ways including:
- HAP Crim Races and Training — Offering many opportunities to train for, participate in and volunteer for local running races conducted on Flint streets for more than 40 years;
- Physical Activity and Sports — Presenting multiple choices year-round to get and keep people active;
- Mindfulness — Guiding people to develop a mindset to put them in a healthier place mentally;
- Community Education — Leading a coalition of 60 local partners to return our community schools into neighborhood hubs of activity;
- Nutrition — Teaching people to make smart food choices through nutrient dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, by fueling your body with CrimFit Nutrition Programming, and
- Active Communities — Encouraging individuals and groups to help make Genesee County a destination for safe, active living.
“Physical activity is our first goal,” CEO Myers says. “One of our goals is to create an environment where people live well and eat better. That can be walking, running and other types of exercise,” he says. Encouraging people to participate in Crim activities year-round is just part of the effort.
“We are here to share a bigger mission. Health is a vital part of our work. Our Hope For Flint is that our community has healthy members. The Crim is the connector to all this, to link people with healthy environments. We want a compassionate connection,” Myers says.
A major point of pride headed by the CFF is the re-establishment of Community Education Programs throughout all Flint and nearby schools, says CFF Community Impact Vice President Lauren Holaly, MSW. “I don’t think people know enough about our expanding Community Education Programs, and that we’re leading it,” she says. “This is a community-owned experience.”
Nearly a century ago, Flint’s C.S. Mott and other progressive leaders and educators realized local schools were the center of community life in the United States. The “lighted schoolhouses” of Flint in the 1930s led the way toward expanding Community Education throughout the nation. Programs were developed to serve children and working parents in the evenings.
Many educational systems have slowly moved away from this holistic approach, but CFF leaders realize Community Education is needed more today than ever before.
“Those principles taught in Community Education are still in use today,” VP Holaly says, and are being revitalized through the leadership of the CFF. “It was gutsy to bring back Community Education, but it’s vitally needed,” she says. “We represent one more element of the Hope For Flint through Community Education.”
Both Myers and Holaly are proud of the depth of CFF’s programs. “People don’t have a true sense of what the Crim does,” Holaly says. As a 501c3 organization dedicated to cultivating wellness in the City of Flint, Genesee County, and beyond, we’ve been putting one foot in front of the other to walk, run, and race our way toward a better future for all citizens, they say.
They credit CFF Board Chairman Mark Yonan and Board members with non-stop support for this community betterment work. “The involvement of the Crim Fitness Foundation is a very positive, strengthening experience for our communities,” Myers says.
“The Crim’s capacity to change the fabric of Flint is seen in our ability to change what has been done in the past 10 years. This is a leading force in helping our entire community recover from the water crisis, for instance,” he adds.
“The world is looking at Flint. We are being watched. The Crim always tries to be a trustworthy and credible voice as our community heals,” he says.