Kellie Dziemianzuk supports community with cardio drumming | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
Initially, Kellie Dziemianzuk, 36, came to Stow for her dream house — a small cottage next to a stream — but she stayed because of the community.
When the pandemic shutdown happened and community members were isolated from one another, Dziemianzuk knew something had to be done. In her toolbox, she had 20 years of instructing fitness classes and another 13 of teaching special education. The big takeaway? How to use leadership skills and compassion to create a safe, all-inclusive space.
She started a Facebook page dedicated to fitness and began posting strength training, cardio drumming and kickboxing videos. As the page continued to grow, an increasing number of its followers began asking for in-person classes.
“I found that people were feeling very isolated, and they wanted to get outside and be around other people, but safely,” Dziemianzuk said. “So, we started meeting in parks or parking lots outside as soon as the weather got nice.”
Dziemianzuk resigned from Aurora City Schools in June 2020, right after Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools announced that its fall semester would follow a hybrid model. She didn’t feel right teaching other people’s children when hers needed a teacher at home.
This transition enabled her to both teach her two children and focus more on the fitness community she had fostered, now called Tyrannosaurus Flex (T-Flex) Fitness.
A significant part of that focus was aimed at giving back to the community. Since T-Flex Fitness began, it has donated goods, money and free fitness classes to more than half a dozen local organizations and institutions.
One such organization is Bulldog Bags, a nonprofit helping to address food insecurity in children in the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District. Bulldog Bags receives donations from the fitness center every week. T-Flex Fitness also donated 40 yoga mats to special education classrooms in Tallmadge City Schools.
Within the last few months, Dziemianzuk has donated cardio drumming classes to both a Stow Girl Scout Troop and Studio Luminance, a local dance studio.
Cardio drumming is a program where participants use yoga balls, buckets, drumsticks and high-energy music to complete a full-body workout.
“We’re constantly trying to give back to the community,” Dziemianzuk said. “We just did a $500 fundraiser for Stow United Methodist Church preschool because they were really struggling financially.”
Without a set location, Dziemianzuk and her customers bounced from place to place. Once, they even found themselves drumming to “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift outside of Stow City Hall. Sometimes it was only Dziemianzuk’s most loyal patrons who attended. Other times, their numbers swelled to more 200 people.
But those months of drifting are at an end. As of Saturday, T-Flex Fitness has found a permanent home at 3073 Graham Road in Stow, between Vimi’s Nail Spa and Fringe Salon and Spa.
Dziemianzuk partnered with 12 local artists to decorate the new space. Within the fitness center is a boutique where customers can purchase equipment for her fitness classes and merchandise from the artists.
“I am a big believer in empowering others,” she said. “I’m a female business owner empowering other female business owners. I’ve met all these people and now these local artists come to my cardio drumming classes, which is really neat. So, it’s like they support me, and I support them.”
In order to further immerse other local businesses in the new space, T-Flex Fitness and two local artists will collaborate to offer a four-week enrichment camp for children this summer.
While many people are introduced to T-Flex Fitness through cardio drumming, it is not the only exercise program that Dziemianzuk offers. She also has more traditional courses such as Aumba, kickboxing and yoga, along with other unique options that involve bungee cords (T-flex fly) and kangaroo shoes (T-flex bounce).
Additionally, T-Flex Fitness has classes tailored to specific demographics in the community. Fitness courses for seniors, teens, kids and those with special needs are offered each week at the new business. Parent-child classes and a walking club are also available.
“The overall goal is for everyone to have access, be included and feel like they can be a part of it,” Dziemianzuk said.
Another important aspect of serving the community that Dziemianzuk has considered is the affordability of her fitness courses.
“I try and make my classes extremely affordable,” she said. “I want it so that people can afford it and that’s not something that holds them back. I think your mental and physical health should be affordable.”
At T-Flex Fitness, drop-in classes start at $7, but monthly memberships and punch cards also are available.
“I’m trying to hit every demographic in every area so that it’s an all-inclusive community center,” Dziemianzuk said. “A place where there’s no judgement, everyone is welcome and everyone is invited to come in and be a part of it.”
Contact Beacon Journal reporter Tawney Beans at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TawneyBeans.
Artists featured in the T-flex boutique
- Adriann Swan (Cre8tive Instincts)
- Alana Powell
- Melissa Croy
- Emma Swisher (Curious Creations)
- Tiffany Keller
- Sean Brown (Red Dog)
- Christa Tomplait (Love Dream Travel)
- Kimmy Henderson (Makikisart and The Bipolar Butterfly)
- Anne Geraghty (A-Squared Wine and Watercolor)
- Leila Griffiths (Elkaysthings)
- Kelly Saucier
The Beacon Journal is highlighting emerging leaders from newer generations who are making a difference in Summit County neighborhoods, businesses, schools and organizations. Do you know a Change Agent we should feature? Tell us about that person at email@example.com. Please include “Change Agents” in the subject line and be sure to share contact information for the individual.