We’re Here For You

We know things are a bit crazy and different right now, but we’re still working and we’re here for you!

Our Parent Liaisons are available by phone and email or by messaging us through our MCGSC Facebook page, which also has a lot of great resources.

If you need ANYTHING, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Update from Montcalm County Great Start

Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative (MCGSC) activities will be suspended through April 13th 2020, due to Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order: Stay Home, Stay Safe.

We will be monitoring MCGSC email and phone lines to continue providing support to our families during this unprecedented time.

Please contact 2-1-1 for immediate basic needs. You can also visit the United Way Ionia-Montcalm Counties website for a calendar of food distribution sites and dates, as well as other available resources during this time of crisis: www.liveunitedm-i.org/covid-19-pandemic-response

Visit the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District website for daily updates on school lunches and local resources for families: www.maisd.com/about/school-closing-information-and-resources.

Thank you and Stay Well! – Cari, Mindy, Chelsa, Faith

Community Resources

With widespread school and community closings, stores running low on certain supplies, and many people stuck at home during this unprecedented time in history, you may find yourself or someone you know running into hard times financially, in regards to food or childcare, or simply struggling with the anxiety and stress of things being drastically different and worrisome from day to day.

We here at the Great Start Collaborative want you to know we are here to serve and help connect you with community resources and where to go for help when you need it.

2020 Community Baby Shower!

We’re excited to once again help host the Community Baby Shower during the We Care For Kids-sponsored Family Fun Day on March 21st, 2020. Please share this information with any pregnant mom or mother of a newborn within Montcalm County.

Update (2/21/2020): All available Pack ‘n’ Plays and Car seats have been reserved. But don’t be discouraged, any Montcalm County new moms are still welcome to attend the Baby Shower and receive a free bag of goodies for mom and baby! And all are welcome to have some fun at the annual Family Fun Day. See flyer below!

It’s a Census Year! Why Does it Matter To Me?

Once every decade, the U.S. Census works to count every person living in the United States. The 2020 Census will help determine which areas qualify for important programs that children and families depend on for the next 10 years – programs like food assistance, school meal programs, Head Start, childcare, housing support, public schools, early intervention services, children’s health insurance, and more.

Did you know, in the 2010 census, 10% of children under age 5 were not reported – that’s 1 MILLION children! Newborn babies and young children under five are often missed in the census.

Every Michigander Counts! Accurate census data impacts every person in the state of Michigan. We want to make sure everyone is counted because it’s critical to the future success of Michigan.

Invitations to respond will arrive in mailboxes starting in March 2020, with three easy ways to respond: by mail, phone, or online. The census is 100% confidential and secure and your information will not be shared with anyone. 

More information and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/Census2020


Parenting with Love & Logic Class

FREE Parenting Class – Love & Logic
Mondays, February 24 & March 2, 2020 (two-part class)
Preregister by calling 616-225-6146.

“The Snowy Day” and other Books for Winter

Ezra Jack Keats’ 1962 classic The Snowy Day has been checked out more times than any other book in the history of the New York Public Library.
Jonathan Blanc/The New York Public Library

Winter is a great time to snuggle up and read. Does your family have a list of favorite books to read? One of my favorites when it’s blustery weather is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series.

The New York Public Library recently calculated the most checked-out books in their 125 history and discovered Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day was at the very top of that list, with 485,583 checkouts from the NYPL since the book was published in 1962. (Source: NPR)

Here are some other great books for snowy days:

  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll
  • Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Another great book resource for all children birth to age 5 who live within the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Enrollment is free for participants, provided by grants and donations.

Contact mtrain@maisd.com to enroll your child and help expand their at-home library and foster a love of reading! More information can be found online at Dolly Parton Imagination Library.