Why we started…
On January 1, 1989, a 21-month old toddler lost his life in a drowning accident. This sparked his parents to pledge that they would do everything in their power to prevent this tragedy from striking other families, since drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under five.

In 1990, that toddler's parents, Kim and Stew Leonard, Jr., founded the Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation in memory of their son. Since this time, the Foundation has raised more than $1 million dollars to go towards water safety awareness and education, including providing swim scholarships and lifeguard training, along with writing and publishing two children's books on water safety: Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim and Swimming Lessons with Stewie the Duck.

Expanding the mission…
With the growing childhood obesity crisis and as the president and CEO of Stew Leonard's food stores and Connecticut and New York, Stew Leonard, Jr. became aware of the need to encourage healthy eating among children. The number of children who are at risk for becoming seriously overweight has tripled in the past decades. Only two percent of children currently meet the recommendations outlined in the dietary guidelines.

In 2006, the Leonard's expanded the foundation's mission to address children's nutrition:

Promoting safe and responsible growth and development of children through nutritional awareness and water safety.
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