Great Start Collaborative

July 2017


Early Childhood Conference

The 2017 Early Childhood Conference was held May 19th, at Alpena Community College. There were 129 attendees--surpassing our goal of 95! Feedback from participants indicated, of the 113 surveys completed, 100% Strongly Agreed (69%) or Agreed (31%) that the breakout sessions offered a wide variety of quality and relevant topics, and that they were walking away with new knowledge and skills that will help them in their teaching, care giving, and/or parenting roles. Our Keynote Jim Gill was a hit! Visit him at

Early Childhood Celebration & Health Fair

Although the June 16th event was rained out after only 45 minutes, approximately 50 families interacted with and collected information from many of the 20 organizations that support families with children in attendance. Of the 50 families that attended, 91 safety helmets were given away to children, including many other generous giveaways and fun/healthy activities from participating organizations.


GSC Playgroups

Playgroups are held at Besser Museum in Alpena every Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., for children from 6 months to 4 years old. The program uses Creative Curriculum activities for infants & toddlers, crafts, story/circle-time, & incorporates museum walks. Visit our Facebook page for ongoing updates, including summer scheduling

Our next Playgroup at the Harrisville Library will be July 26th from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. August dates to be determined.


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April Family Friendly Business Award

Dr. Keskimaki, D.D.S, & staff won our Family Friendly Business Award for April for their child-friendly, welcoming staff and their outreach to community schools. Congratulations! Business nominations can be made directly on our website, for our October Award:

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July Family Friendly Business Award

Kids F.A.N. (Fitness And Nutrition) Club received the GSC FFBA award for July. Not only do FAN Club founders & certified coaches Lori & Erin Graham work with the collaborative toward great start outcomes for healthy thriving children, but they were also recognized by several community members for their "passion to get kids moving and learning about healthy choices in our community." To see just what this Family Friendly Business offers, visit their website at

Shoe Palooza

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? Neither can we! Be on the lookout for our annual flyer as we will begin to take requests from families and organizations that work with families and children. Want to donate to the cause? Contact Angie Bruning at 354-5366.

View the flyer here


Developmental Kiosks

The Parent Coalition has been working together with a committee from the Great Start Collaborative to bring developmental kiosks to popular, outdoor places where families frequent with their children. These developmental kiosks will offer developmentally appropriate activities centered around math, literacy, social emotional, and problem solving skills. The goal is to inform families more about the expectations for the different age ranges and to link the fun outdoors to learning. The goal is to have the first pilot kiosk up in Alpena County by Memorial Day of 2018.

Events in the Community

Stay up-to-date with events in the community. Follow our website and Facebook page where trainings and family events are posted.

Great Start Collaborative Website:

Facebook Page:

Training Info: