What is a Coalition?
In simplest terms, a coalition is a group of individuals and/or organizations with a common interest who agree to work together toward a common goal. That goal could be as narrow as obtaining funding for a specific intervention, or as broad as trying to improve permanently the overall quality of life for most people in the community.
What is the Great Start Parent Coalition?
The Parent Coalition serves as a constituency for parents of the Great Start Collaborative whose mission is to assure that every young child in Michigan has a great start and arrives at the kindergarten door healthy and ready to succeed in school and in life. As parents, guardians and a community we all have a vested interest in making things better for not only our own children but for all children.
The purpose of the GSC Parent Coalition is to:
Assist in building public support for early childhood
Provide support for the parents serving in the GSC
Advocate collectively and individually as a parent on behalf of all children 0-5
Receive leadership training to serve on local community boards and committees to promote services for children 0-5
Plan and participate in fun family activities
The Great Start effort is founded on these Core Beliefs:
All parents want their children to be healthy, safe and successful.
Parents are their children’s first and best teachers.
We will not be strong and effective without input from parents.
What’s in it for you?
Leadership and advocacy training
Opportunities to speak publicly and passionately about children
An opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children
Meet new people and develop lasting friendships
If you, as a parent or guardian, have a desire to be an advocate for your child, please contact Sarah Drumm (269) 598-8870. All we require is that you be a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 12, a resident of Kalamazoo County and a willingness to serve.
Publications cited for this guide:
Words of Advice: A Guidebook for Families Serving As Advisors, Josie Thomas & Elizabeth S. Jeppson; Making Room At The Table, States Initiative of the Family Resource Coalition of American and the Institute for Family-Centered Care; Parental Involvement in Decision-Making, National Center for Early Development & Learning Spotlights; Reports from Great Start Strategic Planning Parent Focus Group; Parents Becoming Leaders; Getting Involved on Behalf of Children, Miriam Westheimer.