December Coalition Meeting – Telling Your Story!

Our December Coalition meeting was absolutely amazing! We enjoyed a healthy dinner from Subway along with chips, cookies, cheesecake, and drinks. We also shared the Parent Leader Network (PLN) video which highlighted the work of the PLN and one of our rock star parent representatives, Nicole Burman. Please click PLN Video to check out the video.

One of our amazing parent representatives, Christina Pocklington, lead the group in a Gruffalo ice breaker. She enthusiastically read The Gruffalo to our parents and caregivers in the room. While reading the book, she would pause and give them time to draw their image of what they believed the Gruffalo would look like. Parents were able to explore and demonstrate their artistic abilities! This ice breaker was extremely relevant as the Great Start Collaborative recently distributed 8,000 Gruffalo books under their Kent County Success Basics: One County – One Book to various community partners throughout Kent County. Our community partners passed out The Gruffalo book along with an amazing calendar of activities and strategies that parents can do with their children.

Our meeting topic was Parents Partnering for Change. Our parents had the amazing opportunity to learn from each other. Tomarra lead the group in an activity that encouraged parents to tell their story – because we all have a story to tell. Our three objectives for this meeting were to learn from one another, conquer fears, and make connections with other parents.

Parents were given 15 minutes to take scrapbooking supplies and pictures brought from home to artistically illustrate their story on card stock. After their creative juices were done flowing – each parent was given two minutes to stand and share their story. The stories told by our parents were absolutely amazing and touching. We learned so much from each other. One participant, after our meeting, expressed how amazing the meeting was and that they were getting goosebumps just talking about it.

After each parent who desired to tell their story had an opportunity to share, our Great Start Collaborative Director, Paula Brown, shared her story including how she ended up as the GSC director along with her passion for the work of the Collaborative and Parent Coalition. This meeting truly brought some of our parents closer together and helped parents to realize the connections they have with one another. Concluding our meeting, we left our parents with a quote by Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”


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