Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Great Start Collaborative Monthly Meetings!

Since 2006, the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County, has been working to ensure children
within our community are born healthy, ready to succeed when entering kindergarten, and are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

Do you want to help make a difference in our children's lives and future outlook?  Do you have ideas for improving early childhood outcomes?  Then the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County needs you!  The more voices we have, the stronger our impact in Jackson County will be.  We have several committees that meet monthly - with descriptions listed below.  


Great Start School Readiness - It takes a community to ensure children are ready to enter school.  This group, made up of teachers, parents, volunteer and social service agency members, meets to discuss social-emotional, physical, and academic topics of school readiness.  Input and guidance regarding community services designed to improve readiness in all areas in encouraged!  

Meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday
Next meeting:  May 16th, 2:00-3:00 PM

Great Start Family Support - Made up of parents, community service agency members, and educators, this group meets to develop a plan that ensures parents have access to resources, training's, and all other information needed to provide for the needs of their children.

Meets monthly on the 2nd Thursday
Next meeting: May 10th, 1:00-2:00 PM


Please visit our calendar for more the most accurate location information and future meeting dates!  Hope to see you!





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

STEM activities at playgroups

Thank you to the Jackson District Library! 

They are providing STEM activities to our little ones at playgroups!  The first series is all about exploring how our bodies work.  

Check out these fun activities during an upcoming playgroup!

My Body:
Monday, April 9 - 10 am - Brooklyn
Thursday, April 12 - 10 am - Parma
Monday, April 16 - 10 am - JDL East
Friday, April 20 - 10 am - Baker College
Friday, May 11 - 10 am - JDL Carnegie

Construction and Building:
Monday, May 23 - 10 am - Brooklyn
Thursday, May 26 - 10 am - Parma
Friday, May 4 - 1 pm - Baker College
Monday, May 7 - 10 am - JDL East

Visit the Jackson Playgroups Facebook page for all of the dates, times, and locations for 2018:


Here is a little one enjoying some of the STEM activities on My Body:



Monthly Meetups for Breastfeeding Mothers

Breastfeeding is a simple and natural process, but you may need support and information on how to get started and for overcoming any difficulties that may occur. Together with other women who have had experience breastfeeding their babies, the La Leche League of Jackson is here to help you! 

At the La Leche League monthly meetings, you will network with other mothers and learn about topics such as: correct positioning of the baby at the breast, working and breastfeeding, and avoiding problems.  During meetings mothers share their questions, concerns, advice, and joys.  

Meetings and any help received from La Leche League leaders are free of charge, and babies are always welcome.  Mark your calendars for these upcoming classes!

The Advantages of Breastfeeding
Monday, May 14, 2018   7:00 pm

The Birth of Your Baby and Baby's First Weeks  
Monday, June 11, 2018 7:00 pm

The Art of Breastfeeding and Avoiding Difficulties
Monday, July 9, 2018 7:00 pm

Breastfeeding Beyond
Monday, August 13, 2018 7:00 pm


All meetings are held at First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson 49201

Please park in the lot behind the church and enter the door at the bottom of the driveway.  Follow the signs up the stairs.  Meetings are held in the Westminster Room.  

If you have a breastfeeding question, call any of the following La Leche League Leader(s):

Jessica 795-0129
Katie 812-3280
Melissa 740-7797
Nancy 787-2814

Monday, April 9, 2018

Great Start Families Book Drive!!



Keep Jackson kiddos reading this summer!!!

Make sure this years Spring Cleaning includes the kids bookshelves!  Great Start Families is getting ready to sponsor a Book Drive to benefit Pop Up Reading events this summer and numerous Little Free Libraries and we need your help!

Help us keep books free and easily accessible for every child to enjoy. Please contact Jennifer Ganzel at (517) 745-9544 to donate new or gently used children's books.    

 You can also drop books off at:

Jackson County Intermediate School District (JCISD)
Parking Lot A Main Entrance
6700 Browns Lake Road
Jackson, MI 49201

Stay tuned for more book drop off sites
 or call/text Jennifer at 
517-745-9544 today!  


Monday, March 26, 2018

Does Your Child Need Eyeglasses?

Routine eye exams are extremely important for detecting vision problems in young children.  As children reach school-age, they will begin to face increasing demands on visual abilities.  The size of print in books will become smaller and the amount of time spent reading will increase significantly.  Vision changes can occur in children without your child even noticing them.  This is why yearly exams are so important.  The earlier a vision problem is detected and treated, the better. 

Did your child just have his yearly well-child visit and you found out it's time for eyeglasses?  Did you recently find out that your child failed his school eye exam?  Are you worried about the cost involved?  If you have Healthy Kids, MIChild, or traditional Medicaid - you can get your child the eye exam and glasses they need.  If your child accidentally breaks or loses their glasses, a replacement pair is also covered once per year. 

For information of Vision Providers that accept Medicaid, or for more general information of vision coverage, please call your individual plan (look on the back of your card for the phone number), visit here, or call MDHHS at 517-780-7400 to speak to your case worker. 




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

32p Early Childhood Program Grant Applications Now Being Accepted!


The Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 grant funding year.  Do you have a program that serves children in Jackson County and aligns with the four early childhood outcomes of the Great Start Collaborative?  If so, your program may qualify!  Completing the Letter of Intent is the first step in the application process, with a submission deadline of Friday, June 8th at 12:00 P.M.  Upon submission of the Letter of Intent you will receive an email requesting a general budget of how the Great Start Collaborative funding will support your program.  Complete applications (Letter of Intent and program budget) will be accepted through Friday, June 22nd at 12:00 P.M.

The four Early Childhood Outcomes of the Great Start Collaborative:

  1. Children are born healthy.
  2. Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade.
  3. Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of school entry.
  4. Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade. 
Children with the greatest need of not achieving these outcomes must be served first, and programs serving these children are given highest priority.  Programs must also serve children or parents of children ages 0-8 , but cannot solely target 4 year olds.  In addition, programs must collect demographic information on each child served/impacted by the program.

Please visit our website to find out more information and to start the application process by completing the Letter of Intent.  Best of luck to those who apply!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Friday, March 16th Great Start Families Community Fair!

Join Great Start Families for a Community Fair this Friday, March 16th from 2:30pm - 6:30pm at Baker College on Springport Road in Jackson.

The focus of this fair is Summer fun for kids, family literacy and smooth transitions to preschool and kindergarten.

Preregister for the event and be entered to win Meijer gift cards!!  See you there!