THE SHORT STORY:
A nutrition nerd and real life rocker develops a rock & roll approach to nutrition called Jump with Jill to revolutionize the way kids learn about health.
THE LONG STORY:
The Early Years
Jill was born in Pittsburgh to an art teacher and construction worker, where she learned how to teach and how to work. In high school, Jill was captain of the cross-country team, lead of the musical, and valedictorian of Highlands High School. Jill attended the Pennsylvania State University where she graduated with degrees in nutrition and theater. She developed a reputation as the singing nutrition major by creating and performing original musicals and producing rock & roll versions of the Penn State fight songs that appeared on ESPN.
Just before graduation, Jill landed a job as the writer and host of a nationally-syndicated children’s nutrition program on PBS. Realizing that she could apply her interests in media to address the growing childhood obesity epidemic, Jill moved to the children’s entertainment capital of the world, New York City. While pursuing her registered dietitian (RD) credential and MS in Nutrition Education at Teachers College Columbia University, Jill worked as a public school teacher and racked up stage credits as an off-Broadway actress, Radio Disney DJ, model, and puppeteer.
Development of Jump with Jill
Drawing from her experience in entertainment and training in nutrition, Jill took to the streets to create her own show that could use the same tools of effective mass media to teach kids about health. Jump with Jill debuted in 2006 in Central Park as a free street show, where Jill took tips in a pot.
During this time, Jill was also writing and performing with her rock band formed with her brother Mark, spending summers on The Vans Warped Tour and a season of The Next Great American Band from the producers of American Idol on FOX. Jill decided to combine the most successful elements of the rock band and the nutrition street show into the greatest nutrition rock show the world would ever see. The Jump with Jill CD was released in 2008 and by 2009, the Jump with Jill show completed the first national tour. CDs were selling, Jill was blogging, people were Friending, and reporters wanted interviews.
Now in it’s 10th year, the Jump with Jill show has been performed nearly 3,000 times for a million kids across the United States, Canada, and Europe. This work has led to an Emmy® Award nomination, an invitation to the White House to meet Michelle Obama, a Grammy nomination consideration for Best Children’s Album, and performances at NFL stadiums.
The show has grown into a full scale intervention with an arsenal of follow-up educational materials including danceable music videos, activity sheets, morning announcements, and cafeteria posters. The show has moved from bookings with schools to developing partnerships with funders like Meijer, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan that could bring the show to schools at no cost on a huge scale. This has grown the show’s casts into a true Jill army with four touring Jump with Jill casts, all personally hired and trained by Jill Jayne herself. Jill’s big idea ―to use entertainment to address childhood obesity ― is now a company with ten employees emanating from a 9,000 square foot production studio in Pittsburgh, PA. Jump with Jill offers an impressive employee benefits package and training program not found at companies twice their size.
Jill set out to change the way we teach kids about health by reinventing the standard of nutrition education with the rock & roll nutrition show, Jump with Jill. Jill is considered the expert in creating and delivering interactive media about health for kids and families; Jump with Jill is a great place to work and great people to work with.