Rachel Andres knows the lessons that athletics can teach.

A Canadian National title holder in discus, Andres is passing that knowledge on as a coach and athlete with the Airdrie Aces.

“You learn a lot of life skills in athletics,” says Andres. “You go through a lot of frustrating times … so the kids really have to learn to push through it.”

Her trainees have found real success under her tutelage, with one athlete winning the National Title in both the hammer and discus events at the 2018 National Legion meet.

As an elite athlete who is also the mother of a toddler, Andres is also breaking stereotypes.

“I am trying to show people [your athletic career] doesn’t have to be done, it will just be different,” she says.

In her quest to turn the region into a throwing centre, Andres is changing the lives of kids by teaching them they have value.

“One of my kids said I basically saved her life.… I taught her there is more to life than being a size zero,” says Andres. “It gives them a focus and drive.”

Jodie Matsuba-Szucs is impressed with Andres’s dedication.

“Rachel has a talent when it comes to coaching,” she says. “She has the athletes work hard and respect each other and they have a lot of fun.”