Nina Rene Francis
Nina Rene Francis, born in Germany, traveled the US most of her life due to her parents serving in the Military. At 16, Nina, realized she had a gift for leading and mentoring young people, after serving as a youth leader in her church. In 1998, after graduating high school Nina decided to study Accounting at San Diego State University, another passion she shared. Still wanting to serve young people, while attending San Diego State University, Nina served as a resident adviser for two years and later began employment at the Mission Valley YMCA. Although Nina graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, her passion to serve the youth never subsided.
In May 2013, Destine (Des-tin), Nina’s 3 year old was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.” When I first learned of his diagnosis, I knew our lives would change forever. I also knew my gift was coming around full circle.” Nina immediately began reaching out to mom groups and autism societies for support and information to become more educated on Autism Spectrum Disorder so she provide the best support for her son. In late fall of 2013, Nina visited We Rock the Spectrum Northridge with her son. What she experienced was nothing short of a life changing experience. Destine, who had little to no words and a lack for engaging in play with his mother and others, was transforming before Nina’s eyes, as he enjoyed the occupational therapy equipment such as the hammock and hanging chair. “When I put Destine in the trampoline for the first time he did not jump or engage in play with me. After two months of playing at We Rock the Spectrum kids gym Destine was not only jumping but engaging in play with me and other children. Since visiting We Rock the Spectrum, I find Destine more comfortable and confident, when around others.”
After witnessing such a dramatic transformation in her son, Nina knew she had to be a part of such a worthy and beneficial business. Nina met with Dina Wiess Kimmel, one weekday afternoon to learn more about the franchise opportunities. Hearing about Dina’s story and vision, Nina knew she couldn’t let this opportunity pass her by. Later in January 2014, Nina secured the Studio City/OC area and began her journey of bringing We Rock the Spectrum to Studio City. A place for parents and their children to play together and for development of social interaction, skills not inherently a part of an autistic child’s make up. Autism is treatable with a facility like We Rock the Spectrum. It is imperative we do all we can to bring forth awareness and understanding to such a complex disorder.
Temple Grandin, a well-known advocate of Autism said “I had people in my life who didn’t give up on me: my mother, my aunt, my science teacher. I had one-on-one speech therapy. I had a nanny who spent all day playing turn-taking games with me.” “I’m a big believer in early intervention” For those who don’t have a strong family support system or need a place to call their own, We Rock the Spectrum Studio City is here to serve our community.
We Rock the Spectrum Studio City brings the love and support all children need to thrive, allowing parents and their children to learn from one another and play together. With various play equipment, diverse classes and educated staff, We Rock the Spectrum Studio City goal is to leave a legacy of love in a world where our children are our future.
“Leave a Legacy of Love” – Nina Rene Francis, Autism Mom and Advocate