The Lil’ Iguana’s Children’s Safety Foundation is a New Hampshire based 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation that teaches children important safety lessons through live musical programs. Lil’ Iguana’s programs are presented in elementary schools, child care facilities, and community events throughout New England and along the East Coast and feature lessons like Buckle-Up, Street Smarts, Get Permission, Who’s a Stranger, and Run, Run, Run, Yell & Tell! Through corporate & individual sponsorships, the foundation is able to present the Lil’ Iguana Live program in elementary schools free of charge. These award-winning programs have been presented in front of over 3 million people in seven countries. Lil’ Iguana’s programming has been credited with saving countless children, with the youngest child being just age 3.
PROACTIVE Safety Education
for kids ages 2-8
Teaching lessons like Get Permission, Who’s a Stranger, Harm Alarm, Buckle-Up, & Street Smarts through music-based prevention programs to save kids from abduction, abuse, child predators, and serious accidental injuries while instilling self-worth, respect, and manners.
About Lil' Iguana's Children's Safety Foundation
Since 1994, the Lil’ Iguana’s Children’s Safety Foundation has created several proactive, prevention programs to keep kids safe from abduction, child predators, and serious accidental injuries. Lil’ Iguana’s proactive prevention programs are all centered on music and are designed specifically for children ages 2-8. Through Lil’ Iguana programs, children are positively encouraged and taught crucial safety lessons and self-worth through accepting others.
Lil’ Iguana uses educational and proactive teaching mechanisms to ensure children stay safe throughout their childhoods. It has been proven that children learn from interactive, music-based programs; this is why Lil’ Iguana is so effective. Lil’ Iguana’s music driven programs keep children engaged so they can learn countless safety lessons they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Lil’ Iguana’s programs focus on proactive teaching and prevention because reactive programs are too late to save a child’s life. Prevention programs initiated early in a child’s life will help reduce abuse and accidental injuries, while shrinking health care costs associated with these problems.
Lil’ Iguana features a non-threatening approach so children are relaxed enough to listen to the messages, and entertained enough to absorb the information. For over two decades, Lil’ Iguana has become a character that parents have come to trust and children have come to love.
Why We Use Proactive, PREVENTION Programs:
A strong foundation starts with proactive, prevention measures. Reactive programs are too late to save a child’s life. Prevention programs initiated early in a child’s life will help reduce abuse and accidental injuries, and decrease drug use, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, and suicide, while shrinking health care costs associated with these problems.
According to a study funded by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, direct health care of victims of abuse costs the government $24 billion annually. What deserves more attention are the indirect, or long-term, costs associated with the care for these victims, which cost the government approximately $69 billion annually.
We see and hear the reports of a child injured while riding his bike, an innocent child killed in a car accident, the latest report of a child gone missing, or another child becoming the victim of a child predator.
In this fast-paced world fewer and fewer children are being taught the important safety lessons that keep them happy, healthy, innocent, and alive. This has led to a rise in child abductions and abuse, accident related injuries, as well health care costs to respond to the physical and psychological damage.
The effect is a child who is disconnected from their community, and socially isolated, not capable of being a functioning and productive member of society.
Abuse & Neglect
There are over 740,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Of the 740,000, there are more that we do not know about yet, establishing themselves as trusted figures in our communities and beginning the process of grooming their next victim. When a child is a victim, he or she becomes an empty shell where a healthy and happy child once flourished. Abuse can lead to physical health problems, as well as serious, long term psychological effects including drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, obesity, depression, suicide, and abusive behavior towards others.
A Strong Foundation & Self-Worth
The problems a child faces during childhood, leads to an adult with no self-worth or feeling as if they are meaningless in life. This can lead to destructive behavior such a violence against others, and even terrorism. These cycles will never be broken if we do not focus on prevention programs to reduce abuse, neglect, and eliminate the serious psychological and financial burdens.
A child’s foundation is set by age 8. Strong teachings of right and wrong create well-rounded individuals who grow up to be great leaders and productive members in our communities.
1. Map of registered sex offenders by state. (2011, November 4). Retrieved from http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/sex-offender-map.pdf
2. Child exploitation/operation predators. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ice.gov/predator/
3. The cost of child abuse and neglect in the united states. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.pcain.org/ca_cost.asp
4. CDC, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
5. CDC, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
6. Amy B. Silverman, Helen Z. Reinherz, Rose M. Giaconia, The long-term sequelae of child and adolescent abuse: A longitudinal community study, Child Abuse & Neglect, Volume 20, Issue 8, August 1996, Pages 709-723.
7. Fang, X., et al. The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect (2012), doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.006
8. Masskids.org- The Cost of Child Abuse & Neglect
Lil’ Iguana’s award-winning, comprehensive programs teach important safety lessons. These fun, upbeat programs are loved by kids and trusted by adults.
Lil’ Iguana’s educational music driven prevention programs are presented in elementary schools, child care facilities, and at community events throughout New England & along the East Coast. Programs include Lil’ Iguana Live! a live musical stage show that can be presented for children ages 2-8 in elementary schools & community events as well as a smaller in-classroom program geared towards preschool age children.
Other programs include the “Be Smart, Stay Safe” 22-minute educational video that features music, character puppets, actors, and animation to delivers crucial safety messages including “Take A Buddy with You,” “Get Permission,” “Who is a Stranger,” and “Run, Run, Run, Yell, and Tell.” As well as an Emmy award-winning television series and educational resources to be used by educators, community members, and parents.
All programs are centered on music and interactive role-playing which are the most effective ways to teach. Our programs are so successful, they have won national & international awards, accolades, recommendations, testimonials, and invitations to the White House under two different presidents.
Lil' Iguana's History
The Lil’ Iguana’s Children’s Safety Foundation (LICSF) was created after concerned parent Jim Tomaszewski realized there was no proactive children’s safety program to keep his young children safe. Galvanized into action with the support of his family, Jim sold his successful marketing and screen-printing company and dedicated his life to teaching young children how to stay safe in today’s intimidating world.
Over the next few years he enlisted the help of numerous early childhood educators and child-care experts to develop a program designed to teach scary topics such as identifying strangers and what to do if approached by a child predator. They discovered that music is the most effective way to teach children, so they developed fun, toe-tapping music to educate children. They also began creating skits to integrate interactive role playing into the program.
Since 1994, the character Lil’ Iguana has evolved but the original mission has remained the same: empower children with the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe.
Because of its success, Lil’ Iguana has been featured in national publications and on national programming. The Lil’ Iguana Program has been enthusiastically endorsed by The Massachusetts Safety Officers League, the South Shore Chiefs of Police, Director of the Early Childhood Program at Lesley University Dr. Lisa Fiore, Head Start Programs, and hundreds of schools, child care facilities, police departments, and parenting and mothers groups.
14 Part Television Series
Aired Nationally & Won Several Awards
-Emmy Award for Boston/New England Region 1998
-Massachusetts Broadcaster’s Association Award for Best Children’s Television 1998
-Parents’ Choice Honors Award 1998
-Two (2) Coalition for Quality Children’s Media Awards 1998
-Gold CINDY(Cinema in Industry) Regional Award in Early Childhood Education 1999
-Silver CINDY International Award in Early Childhood Education 2000
-FCC Family Friendly Rating from the Annenberg Foundation
-KIDS FIRST! Endorsement 2011
Praise & Support
Well-known public figures have stepped forward to praise and support the solid results of our work
-Mayor Tom Menino of Boston
-Boston City Councilman Sal Lamattina
-Senator Judd Gregg of NH
-Senator Bob Smith of NH
-John and Maggie Bish
-Mark Lundsford, Director of Jessie’s Law
-Actress Mary McDonah of Little House on the Prairie
-Actor Kevin Dobson of Kojak and Knot’s Landing
-Veteran actor Clifton Davis
Since its creation, the Lil’ Iguana program has been used and enthusiastically endorsed by countless agencies
-Massachusetts Safety Officers League
-South Shore Chiefs of Police Association
-Lisa Fiore, Director of the Early Childhood Program at Lesley University
-Hundreds of police departments
-Hundreds of non-profit community organizations and foundations
-Hundreds of schools
-Child Care Facilities, Parenting and Mothers Groups, Head Start Programs
Prime Time Television Specials & Documentaries
The White House
The Lil’ Iguana Foundation has been invited to the White House on several occasions to discuss its work, most recently by President Bush for the signing of the Amber Alert bill. The LICSF was also invited to President Bush’s National Conference on Childhood Safety.
Tall Ships 2000
Radio Disney™ partnership
Bob's Discount Furniture
Bob & Cathy from Bob's Discount Furniture appear in a Public Service Announcement for the Lil' Iguana's Children's Safety Foundation
Actor Clifton Davis appears in an infomercial promoting the Lil' Iguana's Children's Safety Foundation and it's products
U.S. Senator Judd Greg
Dr. Lisa Fiore
Officer Paul Goyette
Stories from Parents
3 Year Old Boy
Several years ago, Lil’ Iguana came to do an appearance at a childcare center. There was a three-year-old boy there who was very taken by this colorful friendly character. When his mother came to pick him up however, she was upset and wanted to know why children his age needed to be exposed to such topics.
Three months later, a 14-year-old childcare assistant there tied him up and sexually molested him at the facility. He was threatened with bodily harm if he told anyone about it. When his behavior at home changed over the course of a week, his parents took him to a doctor.
The doctor said it was growing pains. When they returned home, the boy told his mother that he needed to call Lil’ Iguana. He said Lil’ Iguana would protect him, and made his mother promise she would get Lil’ Iguana involved. He was able to tell her that there was a ‘bad boy’ at his child care program.
The reporting of the incident led to the identification and removal of the abuser, and attentive counseling for both the boy and the perpetrator. The mother became an advocate for Lil’ Iguana.
Stories from Parents
16 Year Old Girl
One day while walking by herself, a delivery truck pulled up alongside her and the driver engaged her in friendly conversation. His tone soon became more demanding however, and he threatened to harm her if she did not get into the truck with him.
One could imagine many thoughts were going through her head at this frightening moment. To her surprise however, all she could hear was Lil’ Iguana’s song running through her mind. She came to her senses and was able to escape her potential abductor and report the incident to the police.
When she was eight years younger, the girl had been involved with a Lil’ Iguana program, and committed the songs to memory. To her own shock, this advice remained locked in her memory and gave her the presence of mind to save herself many years later.
Stories from Staff
16 Year Old Boy
Not long ago, the founder of LICSF, Jim Tomaszewski, was doing a live stage show for an elementary school. Jim became aware of a much older 16 year old boy in the audience who was heckling him by singing the Buckle Up song in a mocking way. Curious, Jim approached him at the next break and asked how he knew the words and music to the song. “When I was in second grade,” he replied, “your silly show came to our school.” Jim realized the boy had remembered the song verbatim from nine years before. He chuckled to himself and said to the boy, “Just keep on singing…”
over 25 YEARS of saving children