Calhoun Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition
Calhoun Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Office of Great Start, connects families, early care and education programs, social service agencies, health care professionals, educators, community members and more. Working together to create an ecosystem in our county for children to grow up healthy and ready to succeed. The Great Start Collaborative is like an ever-expanding “kitchen table” where all are welcome to join on behalf of our children prenatal to 8 years old.
The Calhoun Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition, supported by the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Office of Great Start have been working together with the Calhoun County community to build and improve the Early Childhood System in Battle Creek and Calhoun County. Families, early care and education providers, social service agencies, health care professionals, community members, and partners from across various business sectors have joined together in an effort to meet these outcomes for the children and families of our community:
1) Children are born healthy.
2)Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade.
3)Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of entry.
4)Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
5) Families are INFORMED, ENGAGED, EMPOWERED to support their child’s healthy development and school success, and FINANCIALLY SECURE.
Calhoun Great Start Collaborative ensures a coordinated system of community resources and supports in order to assist families in Calhoun County to provide a GREAT START for children prenatal to age 8.
Calhoun County Child Poverty Statistics (2021 Kids Count Data)
- 20.3% of children (0-17) living in poverty
- 39.6% of Households live in poverty or do not make a livable wage
- 957.6% of children receive free or reduced lunch
Compared to 2010, the number of confirmed cases of child abuse/neglect has increased by 34.7%
How Does Great Start Collaborative-Calhoun Area Work?
- Great Start Collaborative Meetings: This large group meets to learn from each other, discuss what is going well, where to make improvements, and where partnerships can benefit families.
- Staff: Collaborative Co-Directors and Parent Liaisons.
- GSC Pulse Action Teams: Action Teams are convened to monitor and address specific data driven goals of the Collaborative. The Teams titles and actions change as our community’s needs change and our strategic planning requires. For 2022 the following Action Teams are in place:
- Great By 8 – Focusing on Literacy, Attendance, and improving access and quality in early childhood settings.
- Public Will Building – Focusing on raising awareness of the importance of quality early childhood experiences for children, increasing enrollment in programs, promoting the early childhood career pathway.
- Early Childhood Job Systems – Focusing on cross-sector partnerships to promote the early childhood career pathway, engage business partners in increasing access to quality early care and education.
- Early Childhood Leaders Meeting – Connecting and aligning strategies across early childhood programs to improve access, quality and coordination of the Calhoun Early Childhood System.
Great Start Parent Coalition
The Calhoun Great Start Parent Coalition is a group of families who are pregnant and/or parenting children age 0-12 who come together to talk, share, and support one another in their parenting journey. Our Parent Liaisons provide learning materials and information for families as well as connect families to the resources they might want or need. Families support one another with tips and resources that they have found useful and share challenges so that others might provide insight on how they worked to address similar challenges. The four main goals for the Parent Coalition are:
1) Children are born healthy.
2) Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade.
3) Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of entry.
4) Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
Families who participate in the Parent Coalition receive:
*Connection to Community Resources
*A supportive network of other parents
*Leadership training, opportunities to be a leader in your community, a safe place to ask questions and learn about child development and other parenting topics, opportunities to use your voice to make change in your community.
*Monthly meetings (virtual and in person- as Covid allows) with family friendly activities, information, and fun! Topics can include budgeting, child development, first aide, health topics, Protective factors, Talking is Teaching, food and nutrition, and more!
Email our Parent Liaisons for more information about the Parent Coalition today!