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We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is coming to Racine. Andre and Heather Bennett are opening this all-inclusive gym to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to grow, strengthen their bodies, and thrive in an accepting community. The future gym will be located at 5509 Durand Ave. and will serve families of Racine and Kenosha County. The grand opening date is currently to be determined.

The Bennetts felt inspired to open this local business in Racine as a way to provide a safe, inclusive, and understanding environment for those with disabilities. The We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym franchise establishment is one that the Bennetts felt they could rock with.

The spectrum hits home

In 2010, Andre and Heather’s son, Dawson, was diagnosed with Autism. While his parents have experience with those who have disabilities, the impact hit home as they began processing their son’s diagnosis. The family had to learn to navigate grief periods, enroll in different therapies and adjust to their new normal. Nonetheless, they’ve allowed their son’s diagnosis to uplift and empower others.

“He (Dawson) is the reason this dream of mine became a reality,” Heather said about opening We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym.

A former teacher, Heather is currently a principal in the Racine Unified School District. Her passion was working with individuals with disabilities prior to finding out about her son’s diagnosis. Andre currently serves as the Director of Racine Alternative Learning for the Racine Unified School District. While busy with full schedules, there’s room for more on this family’s plate. Their aim is to provide support to those in need.

“We want to provide families with what we had,” said Heather. “We were very supported.”

Play with a purpose

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym will provide 12 pieces of sensory-friendly equipment. It will include the following:

  • Zip Line
  • Zip Box with Slide
  • Crash Pit
  • Trampoline
  • Hammock Swing
  • Tunnel
  • Carpet Swing
  • Climbing Structure
  • Bolster Swing
  • Swivel Rotators
  • Climbing Mountain
  • Rope Bridge
We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym
Heather and Andre Bennett with their son, Dawson. – Photo
courtesy of the Bennetts.

The gym’s structure will attract able-bodied people, disabled individuals and anyone interested in the opportunity to play with a purpose. Its mission is to create a place for people to aid people with sensory processing disorders, different abilities, and limitations the chance to be included.

Playing with a purpose allows people to stimulate their senses. The nationwide company shares that through this approach positive physical, emotional, and social development are made. The senses include sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch, the vestibular system, and proprioception. This form of play allows all people to expand and get outside their comfort zone.

“When we say we are inclusive, we are not using that word lightly,” said Heather. “You may see some struggling, but this will be their safe space.”

This safe space will instill both physical growth and strength. It will get children and adults moving, adapting, and talking. Through their business, positive behavior modification, social interactions, and self-care skills will be promoted and encouraged. It will also allow families to meet others with disabilities, share personal experiences, and the chance for those alike and different to accept one another.

Accommodating a need in Racine and Kenosha

The Racine location of We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym will serve as the 3rd gym of its kind in Wisconsin. Other locations are in Milwaukee and Washington Counties. Their objective is to establish themselves as a vital resource for those who are disabled. Likewise, the Bennetts also believe in offering parenting support to those who may be navigating their own child’s diagnosis.

“We won’t just have the sensory component,” Andre said. We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym will also provide “resources, and get information out” to community members.

While the gym is largely geared towards children, the Bennett family understands that this type of need doesn’t go away once they become adults. Therefore, people of all ages are encouraged to use the gym as a place to congregate and to be accepted. In the future, birthday parties, respite care, classes, day visits to the gym and more will be offered.

Through the success of other We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gyms, the Bennett family is certain that a need in Racine and Kenosha will be met. The franchise has witnessed positive benefits in the development of other facilities by allowing those with a variety of abilities to play together.

Support the Gym

While the gym’s opening date is not yet set, there are various ways to support this business before they open. Interested? View their Amazon Wishlist or check them out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for updates about the gym’s progress by clicking the icons below. Visit their website to learn more.

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Read about other new businesses like We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Racine and Kenosha Counties by reading our Business Spotlight segment.

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