1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your gym.
My name is Jessica Sills and I am a Speech Language Pathologist, and my husband, Jeff, is a Physcial Education Teacher. We have two beautiful daughters, and we are the first owners to own two We Rock the Spectrum gyms: We Rock the Spectrum – Buffalo Southtowns and We Rock the Spectrum – Buffalo Northtowns.
We opened the Southtowns location in 2015, and then in June of 2016 opened the Northtowns location. We have unique sensory rooms in both of our gyms where children can escape to calm down — which is my favorite — and we are also a Regional Training Center, so new owners in our region can come to our gym to train.
2. How did you first learn about We Rock the Spectrum?
My husband and I were very passionate about bringing a resource to the community, specifically for children with special needs as well as their typically developing siblings or peers. When we were researching equipment, we came across We Rock the Spectrum and we just remember thinking “This is exactly what we want to do and what we believe in!”
3. What is your professional background?
For the last ten years I’ve been working with individuals with a variety of different ability levels, helping them to develop skills so they can communicate and function in their daily life. It goes so much more beyond the speech and language component. There are so many pieces that are involved and I think that that’s why Jeff and I knew how important this gym would be. I am always using other components in my therapy, things that I’ve learned from occupational therapy or physical therapy, and I knew how important this environment would be for my clients.
Now, being here for the past two years, it has been unbelievable the growth and the progress my clients have had. I mean not only are kids developing their speech and language skills at a pace that I was not seeing previously, but they are overcoming so much more than that. They’re improving and developing across the board.
4. What are three words that describe you?
Kind. Compassionate. Dedicated.
5. What inspired you to open a We Rock the Spectrum gym?
In meetings or in therapy, I kept hearing “Everything is fine when my child is in school but then they come home and there’s nothing for my child.” Or I would go into people’s home to do therapy with early-intervention or pre-school kids and the parents would say to me “This is amazing when you’re here. Everything is great. Then you leave and we’re at a loss because we have nothing else available to us.”
It was so prevalent to us that the need was so great. That people literally had no outlets for their child. No additional support or resources. Ultimately, we just knew for years that we needed to do something and then we were done having children, and knew it was time.
6. How have you seen We Rock the Spectrum benefiting your community?
I can’t even tell you the number of parents who come into the gym and they just start crying. They feel so safe here — and that’s what it’s about.
Whenever we have special events, or just a random day, a child could be having a meltdown and I’m able to go over and utilize therapy skills, and show parents this is how I would handle this. I see a lot of them just breathe and instantly relax, knowing that everything is going to be okay and that at We Rock the Spectrum we understand them and are here to help.
7. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a franchisee?
If you know your passion and you truly want to do this, then things will come together. You will think “I don’t know if this is going to work” and then it will just fall into place when it’s meant to be. This is such an amazing franchise and I absolutely adore it.
8. How has being a part of the We Rock the Spectrum family impacted your life thus far?
What do I love most about the We Rock the Spectrum franchise? It’s family. We are a family. I can’t envision any other franchise where the owners are able to be connected on such a personal level. That support system is just the foundation for everything.