Great Start Parent Coalition: Books, Blocks & Balls Event

Great Start Parent Coalition 

Books, Blocks & Balls Event Blog 

August 13, 2022 

Even with rain 100% in the forecast, the Great Start Collaborative (GSC) and Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC) hosted our 3rd Annual Books, Blocks and Balls (BBB) event. The event focused on promoting the importance of play and developmental screenings.  

The event was held at Alger Head Start. We are thankful for our continued partnership with Head Start for Kent County and their willingness to allow us to utilize their space to reach and impact the community! Historically the event has been held outdoors, but with the rain, we were able to pivot and host the event in the gymnasium. 

The Play Swag Bags included flyers explaining the importance of play and ways to use the items included in the kits. Each family also received a scarf, stickers, scissors, a car, blocks & string, wooden puzzle, an animal shaped mirror and color changing bowl, cup & spoon set. These items not only encourage play, but are excellent tools to help families as they complete an Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) for their child(ren). 

We had a strong representation of community partners that joined our event! We are so thankful for the many partners that participated in the event by providing amazing giveaways & resources for families. Our partners included: Head Start For Kent County, Help Me Grow, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Lutheran Adoptive Services, Fit Kids 360 YMCA, The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, Comprehensive Therapy Center, Health Net of West Michigan, Mercy Health Physician Partners Browning Claytor, Vibrant Futures, Kent District Library, Grand Rapids Public Library, WGVU, Alpha Grand Rapids, Kent County Oral Health Coalition, Kent ISD Bright Beginnings, , Great Start to Quality, Grace’s Table, Family Futures, 2-1-1 United Way and DHHS Prevention.  

The event served 100 parents & 96 children! Based on our survey results 55% of parents surveyed 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 able to raffle off a gift basket valued at over $50. We also received amazing gifts from our community partners to raffle off during the event every 30 minutes. 

Check out the quotes below from two parents that attended the event. These quote emphasize our WHY! This is our WHY and why we continue to do all that we can do to help families and help shape early childhood in Kent County.  

Thanks again for doing this and I hope this event continues and gets bigger return from parents and it seems to get better every year. A Kent County Proud Dad and a city of Wyoming Teacher.  

“This is the third year we’ve participated. Our daughter has really gotten a lot out of this event. This was my first year actually going to the event. Usually I’m in the car with our daughter until my wife is done at the event. But we’ve had help with our daughter from one of the venders with her in early development in crawling and walking to having her help with talking. I believe the company was Early On, but I’m pretty sure my wife found out about them through your event. I also told all of my former students (I teach at an Alternative High School in Wyoming) that have young children of their own. I hope as many that could were able to go to the event today.” 


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