Third Books, Blocks, and Balls in Person!

Back at it again with another successful community event! The Great Start Collaborative (GSC) and Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC) hosted our 3rd Books, Blocks and Balls (BBB) event. The event focused on promoting the importance of play and developmental screenings. It was amazing to resume a sense of normalcy and host an in-person event to impact families.

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!

Our director, Paula Brown, was a local celebrity and promoted the event on Fox17 Morning Mix, Wood TV8, WZZM13, and The Shelly Irwin Morning Show. One of our parent liaisons was on Wood Radio discussing the event as well. Wood TV8 showed up at the event and conducted an on-site interview.

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, balls, cheerios, 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 tripled the number of community partners from last year 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, Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange, YMCA, The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, Comprehensive Therapy Center, GRCC, Health Net of West Michigan, Mercy Health Physician Partners Browning Claytor, Vibrant Futures, Baby Scholars, Kent District Library, Grand Rapids Public Library, WGVU, Alpha Grand Rapids, Kent County Oral Health Coalition, Kent ISD Bright Beginnings, Arbor Circle, Great Start to Quality and DHHS Prevention.

The event served 143 parents & 166 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 $100. We also received amazing gifts from our community partners to raffle off during the event.

One parent noted, “I’m very appreciative of the community we live in and the many resources we have at our disposal to make our little humans the best they can be!” We couldn’t agree more!


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