Amy Nauiokas started the Bubble Foundation after she sent her first child to kindergarten in New York City. She quickly realized the impact the school had on her son’s ideas of wellness and healthy living – and that it was much different than what was happening in her own home. Amy knew that if her school was facing this issue, many others were as well.
The Bubble Foundation works to provide food and activity programs to schools in under-served communities throughout New York City with the goal of creating healthy lives for every child. Fresh vegetables from rooftop gardens have replaced chocolate milk in the cafeteria and over 1,000 students are a part of the Bubble Foundation programs on a weekly basis.
What inspired you to start the Bubble Foundation?
As a family, we'd always been keen to find something at the grass roots level that we could put some thought and resources to and try to make a difference in our community. When we sent our youngest son off to kindergarten and realized how much his attitude about food and exercise was shaped by school—we knew we'd found our mission. If children struggled with access to and information about nutrition and wellness in our community, we were certain that in the under-served parts of New York City, educators and families would be struggling to provide even the basic levels of support that would matter most to kids in school. Bubble was founded in 2010, grounded in the core belief that schools must focus not just on academics, but on feeding the minds and bodies of our youngest children. Through schools, we saw an opportunity to teach our youngest generation healthy habits early on.
Where did the name come from?
We wanted a name that invoked the fun and playful spirit of our approach to health and wellness and that appealed to the kids our program served. The First Lady, Michelle Obama was launching her Let's Move campaign around the same time, and we read an article she was quoted in about living in a “bubble” as it related to her own health and wellness growing up. From there, the name blossomed and took on new meaning. We were inspired by our First Lady's efforts and aspired to bring a program to schools that would create a healthy “bubble” in which children could learn and grow.