Dave Criniti is the founder of The Run Beyond Project, an experiential program that supports young people as they work towards the accomplishment of a challenging but achievable goal of running a half marathon. Through this challenge, the students learn goal setting, commitment and resilience.
Dave Criniti was teaching PDHPE at Chester Hill when he founded the initiative. He was inspired by his own passion for marathons, his experience working at an Intensive English Centre helping new migrants to Australia learn English, as well as his participation in The Helmsman Project.
In 2014, Dave had the opportunity to be the cohort teacher for The Helmsman Project program at Chester Hill High School. He was immediately “impressed by the idea, the execution by the team, and the way his students responded to the challenges.” The program that Dave was a part of involved a two-day orientation sail around Sydney Harbour, followed by a 5-day sail trip to Pittwater. Dave recalls the experience of sailing the open waters outside the harbour and the “stomach-churning cyclonic conditions!” Above all, he remembers the students' resilience as they navigated safely back to shore with brave faces.
“Being on the boat in 2014, getting a birds eye view of how The Helmsman Project used sailing and coaching to build a sense of teamwork and resilience and other skills the students could use beyond the completion of the project was definitely thought-provoking.”
In early 2015, after completing the Hobart Marathon, Dave started to wonder whether it would be possible to get some students motivated to train for a race, and whether he would "somehow be able to raise funds to take them somewhere special to complete that.”
Realising this would be a big commitment for students to participate, Dave created resources to help and encourage students to reflect on the process and what they would get out of it. “It started with resources around goal-setting and the process of committing to those goals and being resilient as challenges arose.” Dave persuaded five students at Chester Hill, all from refugee backgrounds, to challenge themselves.
Dave says the idea behind The Run Beyond Project was influenced by The Helmsman Project and a conversation with The Helmsman Project’s co-founder, John Naylor, during the development process of The Run Beyond Project, which he holds to great esteem.
The main similarity between The Helmsman Project and The Run Beyond Project are the important life skills being taught in a fun, challenging and supportive environment. Both projects help equip students with the confidence to apply the skills they learn beyond the programs and in their daily lives.
The Run Beyond Project recently celebrated its 100th graduate, with graduates coming from 12 different schools from NSW and Queensland. The Helmsman Project is proud to have made a very humble contribution to this fantastic program. Well done Dave and thank you for supporting young people to realise their potential!