Parent Connections

Great Start Parent Coalition Ottawa

Connect with Other Parents to Help Improve Your Children’s Lives

The Great Start Parent Coalition-Ottawa (GSPC-O) gives Ottawa area parents a way to become involved, share points of view, and inspire action within their children’s development.

If you are pregnant and/or have kids from birth to 12 years old, come and share dinner, good conversation and a relaxing time with other parents. Together we are learning to advocate for our children, build leadership skills and share news and information about community resources.

What Does the Group Discuss?

Last year the Parent Coalition decided that the system change project, as part of our strategic planning, would focus on bullying prevention from the early childhood perspective. Since bullying is a problem that typically presents after our scope of work (i.e. mostly in middle and high school), the group decided to focus on the social-emotional development of children.

Focused on the Social-Emotional Development of Children

The Parent Coalition will focus on discovering how we can raise kids that will not take any part in the bullying dynamics: bullies, bullied or bystanders, by having a strong sense of value, self-esteem, justice and empathy.

So What Now?

We are learning more about the different anti-bullying or bullying prevention programs currently in place in local schools. Through our experience attending Eric and Tara Hipple’s presentation, parents got in closer touch with Be Nice. (Zeeland chapter) Next steps are to find out what makes a difference in the work that Be Nice. does in schools. We are also interested in listening to the students involved, their motivations, their goals and what role they see parents have in their work and how parents can support them better.

We hope that hearing from their experience can help our parent coalition members to focus on what’s missing in terms of what bullies, bullied and bystanders are taught at home, and make that our key concept to learn, encourage and share with other parents.

Next Steps

In the next couple of months, we will be deciding what to do now that we’ve learned all of this amazing information.  How do we share the information we’ve learned? How do we help to make positive changes for our children and our communities? Stay tuned and come join us!

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. – Dr. Seuss

The “Give a Book a Home” Program

Our story

The Great Start Parent Coalition-Ottawa created the Give a Book a Home (GABAH) program in 2013 to bring books to children in Ottawa County who have limited access to books in their home. We collect new and gently used books then work with local agencies to set up on-site ‘book nooks’ where families can pick up a book and find local resources and parenting support. Through this program, GSPC-Ottawa is excited to educate families about the importance of reading with their children and aim to provide every child in Ottawa County with a book of their own.

Who Provides the Books?

We currently receive donations from individuals and organizations such as schools, churches, companies, thrift stores, and libraries.

Schools, foundations and youth groups/organizations also hold book drives for GABAH with great success. GABAH can assist with collection box flyers and other written materials if needed.

If you would like to help donate or distribute books, contact 616-738-8940 ext 4137

Who Distributes the Books?

Community agencies supporting our most at-risk children and families within Ottawa County: Grand Haven, Holland and Allendale WIC (Women, Infants and Children) offices, Holland DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) and CMH (Community Mental Health), Home Visiting programs, Department of Public Health hearing and vision screenings, etc.

Summer lunch programs: Leisure Estates, Pine Acres (migrant camps), Boys and Girls backpack day, Grand Haven Meet Up & Eat up and River Haven (2016).

Our Successes

Since we started this project in the summer of 2013, we have distributed:

 Year  Books distributed
 June 2013 – Aug 2014  4307
 Sept 2014 – Aug 2015  5549
 Sept 2015 – Aug 2016  (est.) 6000+

Join us at the Tri-Cities YMCA for Dinner and Discussion

1 Y Drive, Grand Haven, MI
2nd Thursday of every month
Dinner 5:30 pm
Meeting 6 pm

Child Care and Dinner Provided!

  • Meet other parents
  • Learn, share and build relationships
  • Access free materials and resources

Questions or RSVP:

Call 616-738-8940 ext 4137 or email

Great Start Parent Coalition-Ottawa    (GSPC-O)

Purpose: To work together to build and enhance the local early childhood system to achieve better outcomes for young children prenatal to age eight and their families.

Vision: To create a community in which children are born healthy, thriving and developmentally on track from birth through 3rd grade; while supporting families in raising children who are prepared to succeed in school and in life.

Mission: To empower families to increase awareness, expand points of view, and inspire action within the early childhood system.