Books Blocks and Balls a Success

Wow, what an amazing event! The Great Start Collaborative (GSC) and Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC) hosted our first ever Books, Blocks and Balls (BBB) drive through event and it was a huge success! The event focused on promoting the importance of play. Our director, Paula Brown, promoted the event on iHeart Radio and one of our parent liaisons was on Fox Morning Mix discussing the event along with the importance of completing a developmental screening for children.


Savannah Fish from Fox 17 News broadcasted LIVE from the event Saturday morning highlighting the event and the Essential Needs of Play bags that each family would receive at the event. The first car arrived at Alger Head Start at 8:30am. Our event was not scheduled to begin until 10:00am so it was very encouraging to see participants arriving early to wait in line for the event.


The Essential Needs of Play bags included flyers explaining the importance of play and ways to use everyday household items in play. The items included a scarf, stickers, scissors, a car, popsicle sticks, crayons, blocks & string, playdough and balls. These items were not only perfect to encourage play but are excellent tools to help families as they complete an Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) for their child(ren).


We were so thankful for our many partners that participated in the event by providing amazing giveaways and resources for families. Our partners included, Help Me Grow, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, DA Blodgett, YMCA, The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, William C. Abney Academy, Comprehensive Therapy Center, GRCC, and Health Net of West Michigan.


Once the event began at 10:00am, the cars were lined up from Alger Head Start all the way to Division Street and beyond. There was a constant, steady stream of cars in the line, some with their precious children in tow (give me all the babies 😊). Some participants waited over an hour before they were able to drive though the event. Many of our participants learned about the event via Facebook and others through the great promotion of the event via the Head Start newsletter.


The event included over 181 parents and 363 children! This turnout was quite the success for a first-time event. Based on our survey results 60% of parents did not know about the ASQ prior to the event. Not only did our event provide parents additional tools to help their children become more successful, but we also increased their knowledge of the ASQ.


In addition to the amazing resources provided to families, the GSC & GSPC were also able to raffle off a gift basket valued at over $200 with items donated by the GSC, GSPC, Uncle Goose, Comprehensive Therapy Center & the YWCA.


Towards the conclusion of our event we surprised our vendors with a delicious catered lunch from The Candied Yam! Overall, the BBB event was a complete success and we are looking forward to our next BBB event at Sparta Baptist Church on Saturday September 19th from 10:00am – 12:00pm.


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.