Great Start Parent Coalition

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The Parent Coalition increases parents’ skills, knowledge, and participation in early childhood planning and decision-making for the county.

Who We Are

A partner to the Great Start Collaborative and First Steps, the Great Start Parent Coalition is a group of parents and caregivers dedicated to informing, shaping, and supporting the early childhood work in their community. The Coalition provides training in leadership and advocacy skills to build public support for early childhood investment and a stronger voice for the children in our community, preparing our children for success in school and life.

Parent Liaisons 2015

What We Do

  • We work with parents to equip them with knowledge and skills to be leaders in their families and our community for the benefit of young children.
  • We work with providers to offer professional development, as many of our monthly meetings qualify for Tier II/Professional Development hours.
  • We work with the Great Start Collaborative to provide a “Customer” Perspective to the organizational members, serve as a sounding board to the parent representatives, and lend our support to Collaborative-related efforts.
  • We work with the community, coordinating and participating in outreach activities, public will-building, and advocacy work at the local and state level.

The Parent Coalition is also proud to run an ongoing Diaper Drive,
keeping Kent County’s babies clean, dry, and healthy!

Diaper Drive

Join us

It is our goal to recruit parents from all areas of Kent County with different backgrounds and lifestyles to be a fair representation of the families of our county. We welcome anyone who is committed to helping our children get a Great Start in life.

Come to a coalition meeting!

We come together as a community monthly to learn about various topics important to our work as early childhood parents and providers.

Join us for our October meeting:
Make Me! Power Struggle & Young Children
with Daniel Hodgins

Additional dates include:
Nov 12, Dec 10, Jan 14, Feb 11, Mar 10, Apr 14, May 12, Jun 9

Dinner and childcare will be provided, and some meetings qualify for Tier II/Professional Development hours.

Unless otherwise noted, meetings are from 5:45-8:00 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (250 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, 49503).

Call (616) 632-1007 or email for more information and to preregister by the Tuesday prior to the meeting.

Participate in our Diaper Drive

The diaper drive is the Great Start Parent Coalition’s ongoing effort to collect and distribute diapers to families in need in Kent County.

Follow us on social media


The GSPC, Great Start of Kent County, and First Steps believe it is the responsibility of parents, providers, early childhood professionals, and other community members to continuously develop leadership and advocacy skills to build public support for early childhood investment and a stronger voice for the children in our community.

Here are some documents and links we find helpful as we work to advocate for our youngest citizens:

News & Updates

15June29 Diaper Drive Ad - YMCA

Parent Coalition & Community Partners Battle #DiaperNeed

The Great Start Parent Coalition is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids to collect diapers throughout the month of October in an effort to combat #DiaperNeed and raise awareness.  Help us make this the biggest collection yet! Read more.


AppleTree/Gilden Woods Collects Over 25,000 Diapers in July!

The Great Start Parent Coalition partnered with AppleTree/Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool to host diaper drives at all of their greater Grand Rapids locations throughout the month of July. This year, they collected the largest donation of diapers and wipe since they began partnering with the Parent Coalition in 2012!  Read more.


GSPC Receives Grant from National Diaper Bank Network

Kent County’s Great Start Parent Coalition has been selected as one of 61 national recipients of the inaugural Funds for Change grant awarded by the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). These funds will allow the Coalition to extend their reach throughout the community, leading to even more successful diaper drives and increasing the number of babies and families impacted through diaper collection and distribution.  Read more.

kari douma 002

Photo Credit, Kari Douma

2015 Calendar for Literacy and Early Learning

This calendar provides a year-long guide of literacy and early learning activities featuring the Michigan Early Learning Standards of Quality for Pre-Kindergarten.  This valuable tool is being used in homes and childcare settings throughout Kent County.

View it HERE or contact our office for a printed copy.