Ellie Hoyt Helps Students Pursue Their Passions through Her Organization, The CrossOver

According to Maple Grove resident Ellie Hoyt, athletics provide more than a quality workout to student participants—Hoyt has found friendship and solace in sports. “Volleyball was a great outlet for me,” she says of her own school sports experience. “I wanted to give that to other kids.” Hoyt is founder of The CrossOver, an organization that provides scholarships to school-age kids to help with expenses associated with participating in athletic or arts programs—from uniforms to transportation.

It was the start of her sophomore year of high school when Hoyt first felt the call to action. She had just transferred to Osseo High, when she encountered students whose families could not afford the costs associated with sports. Registration fees are just the tip of the financial iceberg. Uniforms, equipment, extra training, travel fees (hotel, transportation, food, etc.) and other items can add up quickly and overwhelm families struggling to afford basic needs.

“Seeing kids who were homeless in high school; seeing things that I had never seen before,” Hoyt says, “it just built from there.” Hoyt is now an administrative assistant at Cross, a local organization that serves families in need, and under the guidance and support of Cross, Hoyt also oversees The CrossOver program, helping families in a way that is close to her heart. “The purpose of The CrossOver is to help kids follow their passion,” she says.

The CrossOver funded its first student in September of 2017. “Our goal the first year is we want to be able to sponsor 25 kids,” Hoyt says. “In the future, I want to be able to help every (in need) kid in our district.” And Hoyt fuels this big dream with inspiration she garners from each student she has met along the journey. When The CrossOver was first starting out, Hoyt met one student at a mobile home park near Maple Grove—the student left an impression. “I spoke with a little girl, who wanted to pursue dance but wasn’t able to afford it—that’s kind of the goal, to keep pushing to help these kids,” she says.
Last May, The CrossOver partnered with the Maple Grove Lions to help more students. The CrossOver was this year’s recipient of $5,000 from funds raised at the Maple Grove Lion’s annual half marathon, 10k, 5k run/walk. “CrossOver is reaching an audience that doesn’t really have anyone reaching them,” says Maple Grove Lions member and race volunteer Jim Miller. “When [Hoyt] presented her mission to the Lions Club, we looked at each other and said ‘bingo!’”

Miller describes race day as pretty exciting. “We get there at 5 a.m., music is blaring, crowds are starting to show up,” he says. But the true excitement, Miller explains, comes after the race is over and the Lions members present a check to the designated organization.

“I want to say, ‘thank you’ to the Maple Grove Lions,” says Hoyt, who hopes to partner with other organizations. And looking forward, with community support, Hoyt has faith her dream can be realized, many times over.