Tonya Andruskiewicz dedicates her life to providing adaptive athletic opportunities for kids with autism and other special needs. She is the founder and owner of her own business, called FlexAbility Fitness, as well as the president of two non-profits, West Metro Miracle Athletics and iCANhoop. Yet when Tonya graduated from Minnetonka in 1992, she had no idea where her life would take her.
It all started when Tonya worked as a field bouncer for the Minnesota Twins. For nearly 17 years she helped supervise who was allowed on the field and cleaned it up. It was through this job that she met baseball legend Harmon Killebrew, who had a passion for working with kids with disabilities. He was heavily involved with Miracle League, an organization that offers adaptive baseball for kids. After discussing his work with Tonya, Harmon encouraged her to get involved herself. A few days later, she contacted the Miracle League's Twin Cities branch, West Metro Miracle Athletics, and was asked to help out at a clinic based in Bennett Park field.
"That was my first experience with [adaptive athletics] and I was hooked immediately. It was just such a cool thing to be involved in," says Tonya. That same year, she became coach of a West Metro Miracle Athletics team and a board member for the organization. A few years later, she was asked to take the organization over.
In 2010, Tonya founded her own non-profit organization, iCANhoop, along with Julie Hagen, a mom of a Minnetonka graduate with Down Syndrome. iCANhoop is a non-competitive option for kids and young adults with special needs to practice basketball drills and games. The program offers two sessions yearly, and already has over 60 members.
Tonya's favorite of iCANhoop is the bond she sees form between her athletes with special needs and the high school basketball students who often come as volunteers. "The connection that both of them get from doing something they both love [is incredible]," she says. "Inclusion is my passion, and by volunteering with an organization like this you can help build communities."
A few years ago, Tonya also started her own adaptive fitness business, called FlexAbility Fitness. She works as a trainer with teenagers and young adults who can't or won't attend regular gyms, but are still interested in getting physical exercise.
Tonya is thankful for the amazing community of people she found at Minnetonka while she was in high school, and the support she found in teachers and coaches. Her experience has encouraged her to return to MHS to help coach track and field in the spring.
Tonya advises alumni to give back to the community. "Growing up in Minnetonka is very much a privilege, so make sure you come back and give back to the community that gave you so much," she says. She also emphasizes the importance of focusing on what you are truly passionate about. "It's never too late to pursue your passion. Find out what you love to do and figure out how to do that for work."