Lakeview Health System

Wednesday, March 06, 2019 - 11th Community Breakfast spotlights Foundation’s impact on patient, community care

The Lakeview Health Foundation held its 11th annual Community Breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The event highlighted PowerUp, a community-wide initiative to help make it easy and fun for kids and families throughout the St. Croix Valley to eat better and move more. In the Stillwater area, PowerUp’s work is funded by the Lakeview Health Foundation.

Dani Leonard, 11, gave the keynote speech via video. She told around 200 guests that PowerUp had been a part of her life since she was 6. It had helped spur her love of being outside, trying new fruits and vegetables, and taking action with friends in school.

“I always loved going to PowerUp activities because they were fun! To me, this is just normal,” she said. “But I’m learning that PowerUp is something special in our community. I didn’t realize how cool this was at the time but now I see that not all kids get to eat healthy and be active, or even know how. At my school kids would look at my lunch that I brought from home and would be amazed at the ‘weird’ things that I eat. Wouldn’t it be great if it wasn’t weird to eat fruits and vegetables? That is why PowerUp matters.”

She explained how she had set up a Goat Club with friends (“Because goats eat everything!”) and had become a PowerUp ambassador at her school. She’s now helping organize a PowerUp cooking club there.

Dani’s sister Charlee, 8, led the Community Breakfast guests in a fun activity, helped by Chomp, the PowerUp superhero carrot.

Lowell Johnson, director of public health at Washington County, said the role of public health was to get upstream of community health issues. For that reason, work such as PowerUp’s, reaching children and families to set great habits in place young, was vital.

He compared the effect of PowerUp to that of Fire Prevention Week in elementary schools. “If you didn’t have a fire extinguisher under your sink before, you sure did by the time it was over, right? Think about how many kids come home after encountering PowerUp, and say to mom or dad, ‘Maybe we should have berries instead of ice cream,’ or ‘I don’t see a vegetable on my plate.’ The parents pick up on that pretty quickly. You can’t help but get caught up in it and family meal time takes on a whole new experience.”

First State Bank and Trust sponsored the complimentary breakfast at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center. And more than $41,000 was raised for patient and community projects.

“The Community Breakfast is a great chance for us to showcase the work of PowerUp, which makes a huge difference to the people it serves,” said Paul Erickson, Executive Director of Lakeview Health Foundation. “Since it began, we have regularly surveyed families that take part in PowerUp programs and challenges and they tell us the impact in their schools, homes and cities. We are so pleased that the community sees the value and importance of the PowerUp mission and has demonstrated its support in this way. We invite everyone to help us sustain our efforts with a financial gift and keep our programs viable.”

For more information on the work of the Lakeview Health Foundation or to make a donation, visit

The Lakeview Health Foundation’s 11th Community Breakfast turned the spotlight on PowerUp. Guests enjoyed a family-style breakfast, which featured two winning recipes (Unrolled Egg Roll, and Rainbow Roll-Ups) from a 2018 PowerUp kids’ recipe contest.
Dani Leonard, 11, gave the keynote speech, Growing Up With PowerUp, via video to guests at the Lakeview Health Foundation Community Breakfast.

Charlee Leonard, 8, and Chomp, the PowerUp superhero carrot, led guests in a fun physical activity after breakfast.