In addition to the physical beauty of St. Croix, it is often said that the sense of community and acceptance is what motivates many to pack their bags and make St. Croix their new home. This was the case when Julie Sommer and her husband boarded a plane to St. Croix with two suitcases and a 6-month-old baby to escape the brutal Midwest winter in the United States. What began as a winter escape 14 years ago turned into a permanent move geared towards offering occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy to children of St. Croix. “I was surprised to learn there were limited private services available in this field,” said Sommer. With her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (OT) and Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Sommer hit the ground running using her skills, education and expertise in OT to help St. Croix’s children and families.

Before opening her own private practice, JS Therapies, Sommer worked with Department of Education, Seaview Home Healthcare, Department of Health and offered private OT services in collaboration with Island Therapy Solutions. “Helping children learn, grow and shine using a play-based and family-centered approach is what JS Therapies is all about.” Primarily pediatric occupational therapy and speech therapy, Sommer and her staff treat clients with a variety of conditions ranging from neurological disorders, autism spectrum disorders, genetic conditions, Down Syndrome and developmental delays, to name a few.

JS Therapies has been busy developing and implementing new services for children and families throughout the territory with offices in St. Croix and St. Thomas. On St. Croix, Sunny the Fun Bus is the newest addition to their offerings. This clinic-on-the-go provides pediatric speech-language and occupational therapy services across the island. One of the goals for Sunny is to increase community awareness of the need and benefits of speech-language and occupational therapy and provide better access to these services. “Particularly for those living on the west side of the island and families with limited access to transportation to our Christiansted clinic, Sunny is out there providing community education and outreach and direct therapy services to those in need.” Sommer shared that the value of the services provided at JS Therapies can be seen and felt throughout the community, which has increased their need for more therapists. “We want to offer enhanced services and specialty programs like aquatic therapy and feeding therapy.” With more staff, Sommer emphasized that they would have the flexibility to do more home and community services with increased accessibility across the island and the territory. If you’re in this field with the desire to live in paradise, now is a great time to get in touch with JS Therapies to discuss joining their team. Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty will be on hand to help you find a place to live. Visit their website at www.jstherapies.com/careers and apply today.

Written by Anquanette Gaspard (agaspard@cruzanfoodie.com)