Transforming a Tragedy into a Legacy

Levi's Legacy ID Card case study

“I was just sitting there crying watching those orders coming in. I thought this is the absolute best and the absolute worst of the human experience,” said Nicole Hughes, founder of Levi’s Legacy.


  • After 3-year-old Levi Hughes drowned in June, his mother started Levi’s Legacy to remind others to supervise children around pools.
  • Levi’s Legacy created tags that say “I am the Water Guardian,” to hang around the neck of an attentive adult.
  • InstantCard worked with Levi’s Legacy to create a customized, turnkey solution to managing the process.
  • In the first month, InstantCard printed and sent nearly 2,000 tags and kits.


When Nicole Hughes’ three-year-old son, Levi, drowned in the family pool despite adults nearby, she immediately knew she had to help prevent future similar tragedies. Hughes launched a safety crusade and created the “Water Guardian” tag. An adult wearing the tag is responsible for constantly monitoring kids in or near the water.

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death of children, according to the CDC.


Levi HughesHughes created a non-profit, Levi’s Legacy, and approached InstantCard, a leading provider of photo ID cards, to ask if it could help. She hadn’t been able to find a card printer that was able to do what she needed at a reasonable cost.

“I said yes right away,” said David Finkelstein, founder and CEO of InstantCard. “I was immediately impressed by Nicole, her program, and the energy she was putting in to raising awareness.”

Hughes, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been interviewed by many newspapers and featured on television.

Because it had the required infrastructure already in place, InstantCard was able to start fulfilling “Water Guardian” tag orders within a week. In the first month, InstantCard printed and sent nearly 2,000 tags and kits. The kit includes a Water Guardian tag, lanyard, coil bracelet and pamphlet. As it does for all nonprofits, InstantCard discounted its fee.

“Without InstantCard, we wouldn’t have been able to produce and sent out Water Guardian kits,” Hughes said. “David immediately got what we’re about, and InstantCard acts as a true partner.”


Hughes has also raised thousands of dollars in donations, all of which is being used to get out the message that child drowning can happen in seconds without an alert adult present.

Finkelstein also put Hughes in touch with his client, the American Lifeguard Association, the leading source of training and resources for water safety. The ALA quickly endorsed the Water Guardians program.

“Visit the Levi’s Legacy site to learn more and to help get the word out about this worthwhile cause,” Finkelstein said.

More information about the program and online ordering of Water Guardian tags is available at

kits distributed the first month

kits distributed since 2018