Great Start Parent Coalition

Who We Are

Working hand-in-hand with the GSC members, The Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC) consists of parents and caregivers of children under 12. The GSPC is dedicated to informing and shaping early childhood initiatives, and helping families raise children who are supported and prioritized. Every coalition meeting encourages parents to share stories, participate in workshops, and advocate for assistance at the community, county, and state level.

If you’re a parent, we urge you to join our cause. Take action. Speak up. And discover how influential you can be today.

What We Do

  • Equip parents to be leaders in their families and our community.
  • Partner with providers to offer professional development, as many meetings qualify for Tier II Professional Development hours.
  • Serve as a sounding board to parent representatives and deliver the parent perspective to organizations and agencies within the GSC.
  • Engage with the community, coordinate and participate in outreach activities, public will-building, and advocacy at both the local and state level.

Come to a Coalition Meeting

Join us the second Thursday of every month for a fun filled night. We provide dinner and childcare starting at 5:45pm. Our meetings end at 8pm. Every month, we discuss various topics that come along with parenting children in our community today. Join us at the First CRC 651 Franklin St. Grand Rapids, MI 49507. You can RSVP by email to or call us at (616) 632-1007.

Directions to First CRC Church >
  • Native American History
    Date: February 9, 2023
    Time: 6:00PM

    Join us as Meredith Kennedy shares information on Native American History.

    Presentation/Workshop abstract:
    Your service area includes the Indigenous peoples of Michigan, the Anishinaabe. How much do you really know about them? What implicit bias do you hold that we can address? What historical traumas have they experienced that lead to modern day barriers to outreach and care? What are some cultural protocols for a diverse group of people like the Anishinabe? Let’s take a walk together and learn from Waganakising Odawakkwa, Meredith Kennedy.

    Expected learning outcomes:
    1) Define Indigenous peoples in Michigan and recognize the Three Fire Tribes, the Anishinaabe.
    2) Summarize three historical barriers when working with some Indigenous peoples- understand historical trauma via US policies that affects working with Indigenous peoples today.
    3) Describe Mino-Bimaadizwin- The Good Life, tenets of working with Indigenous Communities, specifically Anishinaabe families. Understand the community and tradition with connection.
    4) Reflect on oral history as a guide for some thoughts on delivery and looking into your own communication and practice.
    5) Recognize resources in your community to build Trust, Love and Respect with those Indigenous communities lands you live on.

  • WIC & Healthy Eating
    Date: March 9, 2023
    Time: 6:00PM

    Did you know that WIC is an underutilized resource in our community? Did you know that unused WIC funds need to be sent back to the federal government? Abigail Bishop, WIC Program Supervisor, will share important information about WIC and Healthy Eating.  WIC is also onsite at our monthly GSPC meetings to answer questions that you may have as well.

    Free dinner and childcare is provided for those that RSVP as well as a special raffle! We hope to see you there.

  • Lead Safety
    Date: April 13, 2023
    Time: 6:00PM

    Did you know that Healthy Homes Coalition, advocates for universal testing, lead paint removal & correction, and continuing knowledge of the issue.

    Did you know that you should ask for your child to be tested for lead every year, up to age 3, and yearly up to age 5 if lead hazards are present in home. Once you have evidence of lead in the home, take action. If you live in Kent County, you can call Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan for a home environmental hazards screening, which can identify causes of lead poisoning and remove the hazards through case management.

    Jameela Maun will be our speaker for the April GSPC meeting and will share more information about Lead safety and the impact on children.

    Free dinner and childcare is available for those that RSVP along with a special raffle.

  • Protect Young Eyes – Internet Safety
    Date: September 14, 2023
    Time: 6:00PM

    Chris McKenna, CEO Protect Young Eyes (PYE), will help us kick off the new school year with internet safety tips! . PYE takes complex digital topics and makes them understandable. No one digs into the issues like PYE! PYE has been walking with families, schools, and churches since 2015.

    Chris started PYE because at the time, plenty of people were talking about online problems, but no one was telling parents HOW to fix them.

    PYE mission? PYE shows families, schools, and churches how to create safer digital spaces. PYE does this with a pretty great website, powerful presentations, and a unique learning app for parents who have ZERO free time (and squirrel-chasing, no-focus brains like Chris’!).

    Be confident! Chris wants your family connected AND protected. PYE will show you how. Kids want a digital coach – not a controller.

    Free dinner and childcare will be provided for those that RSVP along with a special raffle. You don’t want to miss out on this powerful information. All caregivers including aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. should hear this information!

Parent Cafés and Support Stations

Our Parent Cafés focus on The Strengthening Families 5 Protective Factors:

  • Resilience
  • Relationships
  • Knowledge
  • Support
  • Communication

Cafés are offered as both Parent Cafés (for moms and couples), as well as Parent Cafés for Dads (for fathers and father-figures).

Interested in Hosting?

Sorry, there are no meetings to show at this time.


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