Saginaw County Great Start Collaborative
Saginaw County Great Start Collaborative 
October 2014

Tis The Season!    

Fall days are becoming shorter and chillier, and we are entering a busy season for families. Thanksgiving is a special time for us to celebrate blessings, but we can also feel the pressure of the approaching winter holidays.  The Great Start Collaborative and its many partners are here to help parents with services, calendar of events and ideas to keep this time of year a safe and meaningful one.  

Two Deserving Advocates Receive Awards

Parent Voice

Family-Friendly Business Spotlight Winner


AnnualmeetingAnnual Meeting Highlights
The Great Start Collaborative (GSC) held its Annual Meeting on September 22 at the Andersen Enrichment Center.  The focus of this yearly meeting is to highlight the successes of the past 12 months and share goals and objectives for the upcoming year.  In addition, we also presented the Nancy Butterfield Unsung Hero and Parent Member of the Year awards.  More details on award winners are shared below.  
Highlights included the great impact our Project LAUNCH grant has had on our community over, not just the last year, but the last 5 years.  With the sun setting of this grant on September 30, 2014, strategies on how we will continue to sustain the great work that Project LAUNCH started was also discussed.  
Thank you to all that attended and a special thanks to the Kinder Kare staff and children for the beautiful artwork and table decorations!  
To view or print the powerpoint presentation, please visit our website at  


Two Deserving Advocates

Receive Awards 


At our GSC Annual Meeting, we presented awards to two very deserving individuals - Tom Begin and Tamara Tucker.  Our Nancy Butterfield Unsung Hero Award was presented to Tom Begin for his unwavering commitment to the GSC, and his continued efforts to educate the business community on the importance of investing in early childhood programs and education.  Tom currently serves on the GSC Executive Committee, as well as the Board. He also takes a leadership role on the regional business coalition initiatives, as well as other regional initiatives throughout Saginaw, Bay and Midland counties.  Thank you for all that you do for our community and helping to make our voice heard at a regional level, Tom!  


Tamara Tucker was this year's recipient of the Parent Member of the Year Award.  Tamara has been an active member of the GSC Parent Coalition for many years, as well as currently serves as a Parent Member on the Board and is a member of the GSC Executive Committee. Tamara is very dedicated to her community.  She is trained to facilitate Incredible Years parenting classes and is also involved in her church.  Thank you for all that you do for families in our community, Tamara!  



New Home Visiting Service for Families
In Saginaw County
Beginning in late Fall 2014, a new home visiting service will be offered to families in Saginaw County.  The home visiting model is called Healthy Families America (HFA) - an evidence-based model with a great deal of research and outcomes.  

For a family to qualify for HFA, they need to:
  • Enroll before the baby is born or within the first 2 weeks after their baby's birth
  • Live within the City of Saginaw, Merrill, Brant or Oakley
  • Meet the minimum eligibility requirements
Once a family is enrolled in HFA, they will receive weekly home visits with a highly trained home visitor until the baby is 6 months old, at which time, the needs of the family will be evaluated to determine intensity of services needed.  HFA families can receive home visits until their child is 3 to 5 years old.  
For more information on HFA, please contact Julie Kozan at or 989-399-7452 or Heather Tithof at or 989-399-7450. 


ParentVoiceParent Voice

During the month of September, the Parent Coalition (PC) hosted booths at the Farmers Market in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Moms Block Party in Bay City.  Also in September, PC Core parents received certificates of appreciation and goodie bags at the Annual Meeting as a thank you for their ongoing involvement.  
In October, the PC participated in Home Depot's Safety Day.  The PC evening meeting focused on Parent Leadership Training.  Parent Liaisons Jill Armentrout and Lorisa Bellinger attended a day-long in-service provided by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.  As a result of participating in this in-service, Jill and Lorisa can now provide parent leadership training to our parents locally. 
During a 2-hour training session, parents will: 
  •  Learn about the framework for leadership development
  • Identify leadership qualities
  • Discover why their leadership is important for their child and family
  • Organize their thoughts and share their personal story
  • Gather reflections about their natural leadership qualities
  • Learn how goal setting allows them to utilize their natural leadership qualities and make contributions on behalf of all children 
For more information on upcoming parent leadership training opportunities, please contact Jill Armentrout at or 810-441-5347 or Lorisa Bellinger at 

Family-Friendly Business Spotlight Winner
The GSC is honoring Kehres Health & Chiropractic of Saginaw and Midland with its Family-Friendly Business Spotlight Award for October-November 2014.  

"They arso good with kids, even newborn babies," said one Parent Coalition member.  "They helped my baby sleep better and improved her muscles so she could latch (to breastfeed) more efficiently.  They have little toys and activities in
 the waiting room for kids to use while waiting and really accommodate families, busy scheduled and scatterbrained new mommas."

Parents who volunteer with the Parent Coalition helped choose this award designation, to honor their community service and help - especially to young parents.

Kehres has two locations: 4882 Gratiot, Suite 13 (Saginaw), and 601 E. Wackerly, Suite 2 (Midland).  The team of doctors and staff offers treatment for the entire family, as well as massage therapy.  Dr. Dan Kehres and his practice are working to raise awareness for healthy eating, physical activity and overall wellness in our community.  He offers free health classes and speaks at churches and businesses across the region. 


Julie Kozan               Jill Armentrout                       Lorisa Bellinger
GSC Director            GSC Lead Parent Liaison          GSC Co-Parent Liaison
989.399.7452           810.441.5347                        989.249.7063

You can also visit our website at

All children will enter kindergarten safe, healthy and ready to succeed 
in school and in life.