January’s Parent Coalition Meeting – An Introduction to COFI


We started the new year off with our January Great Start Parent Coalition meeting. This meeting was all about COFI (Community Organizing & Family Issues).  We had a great turn out with almost 100 in attendance.

The KDL Book-Mobile made an appearance during the dinner. Families could go into the Book-Mobile and sign up for a library card and check out books. The kids came in for dinner showing off their books with so much excitement. We had a great pizza dinner and the room was buzzing with conversation.

After dinner, the children went off to their childcare rooms. Every month we plan different arts and crafts based on a theme for that month. We also have different books and games available for the different age groups. The children always seem to have so much fun.

Our meeting started with a great inclusion activity. We discussed the similarities between what makes a great leader and what makes a great parent. It was eye-opening to the group that there were so many similarities. The goal with this was to show that great parents can easily become great leaders. They can be leaders not only in their families but in their communities as well.

We talked about goal setting. When you are goal setting it is best to focus on one goal at a time. This topic sent us into another activity. We had everyone get into a circle and lock arms with one another. We then threw a balloon into the center of the circle and told them to keep it in the air. They could not use their hands and had to work together. We started with one balloon, which was simple. Then we started adding more and more balloons to the circle. They couldn’t keep them all in the air and they were having trouble working together. They were so focused on what was right in front of them that they couldn’t focus on all the other balloons. This was to show us how hard it can be to focus on multiple goals. It is a lot easier to focus on one goal, and when working together, it is a lot simpler if you are all focused on the same goal. We then talked about how this can work with setting personal, family, and even community goals.

We regrouped and started talking about our community. What are the strengths and weaknesses we see in the community?  We worked as a group and made a list of community strengths and community weaknesses. We then talked about what our vision for change would be for our community. A lot of us had very similar visions.

This was a great meeting with very strong conversations. People were interested in learning more and signed up to start a COFI team. This team will meet seven times over the next three months. They will dive deeper into goal setting and community organizing. This group is going to do amazing things.


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