Girl Scout Alum is Serving Families’ Health Needs Online in the Wake of the Pandemic

Meeting Health Needs—Online

Nicole Katz

Nicole Katz, a Girl Scout alum and the owner of Yoga 216 (a semiprivate studio in Manhattan) was better positioned than most to transition her work online after the coronavirus outbreak.

A couple years ago, wanting more time to spend with her little girls, she gave up her studio space in Chelsea and began migrating her private practice online and partnering with neighborhood art galleries to host classes in their galleries.

When the pandemic hit, she had already made a lot of the changes that other businesses would need to start making. But for Nicole, her motivation to take things online was always about meeting the needs of busy moms.

“There’s a need in the market to help moms—the idea of getting out of the house for two hours to exercise is insane,” she says.

Then she heard that Union Square Play — a play space in Manhattan that offers a variety of classes for children and new moms, such as on movement, lectures about feeding, and rock bands for toddlers — was closing its physical doors and transitioning all its courses online for the rest of the quarantine. The courses are being offered to current customers and new fans alike as complimentary, with the option to make a donation.  

“We were already in talks about working together,” she says. “They have this view of not just kids’ classes—it’s also about how we nurture and support the family. Since the birth of my two daughters, I have been passionate about being mindful and present as a mom and supporting mothers on that spiritual side of their journey. I want to help them mirror and model positive emotional choices and to make motherhood more joyful and less about shame.”

Nicole offers complimentary classes as well, and recently she launched virtual “Mommy and Me Yoga” courses as well as weekly virtual classes on mindfulness for moms. First up? An interview with a doula about the issues pregnant women face during this time.

“The next [class] is about scheduling and finding a way to do [it] that creates joy for the family,” she says.

Today Union Square Play is seeing spectacular numbers of people being served by its online content—75,000 page views and 21,000 video views in the first week alone! By taking the content online, and not just for the New York City community, the company is now averaging 80 countries served. And although Nicole and Union Square Play were early to the digital conversion, now that we’re all a few weeks into state-mandated advisories to stay home, it’s not uncommon to see previously in-person programming—from fitness classes to panels to lectures—becoming widely available online.

But for Nicole, when the pandemic is over, she’s planning to stay online.

“For me, these [classes] will remain online, because that’s what works best for me and for most moms,” she explains. “For busy parents, the on-demand aspect is important no matter what [is going on in the world].”


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