Who We Are

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Who We Are 2018-02-12T14:08:25+00:00

The Great Start Collaborative was formed in 2006, after receiving funding from Michigans Early Childhood Investment Corporation. The ECIC is working at the state level to build a comprehensive system of support for all young children and their families, and to coordinate adequate public and private funding for early childhood programs. Essential to their success are the efforts of local level Great Start Collaboratives.

Each Great Start Collaborative community brings together parents, human service professionals, educators, business and government leaders, and leaders from the faith community. Our roles may be diverse, but our goals are the same standing as champions for youngest citizens. As a body, we seek to understand the conditions which affect the lives of our children. This is accomplished through a thorough review of local data indicators. Conditions such as poverty, low educational achievement, inadequate health care, poor quality child care, and intense family stress place a childs future at risk.

The members of the Great Start Collaborative meet to review of the existing support systems, identify gaps in services, and develop a Strategic Plan to close those gaps. In this process, all voices are heard with equal regard.


Strategic Plan Update:

Our 4 year Strategic Plan and Action Agenda were reviewed and updated September 2017.  See below for the the revised documents:

The Strategic Plan is guided by beliefs that:

  • a child’s success in life begins with what happens in the first 5 years.
  • all parents are their children’s first and most important teachers.
  • all children have the right to be healthy, safe, and cared for by nurturing adults.
  • every dollar invested in the life of a young child yields a long term return to the community of between $7-$13. Ultimately, each community fails or thrives based on its human capital.
  • when children fail to achieve their potential, we all fail.

The early childhood system created by our Great Start Collaborative will be:

  • Accessible, user-friendly, and affordable. Welcoming, easy to find and use. Any fees for publicly funded services are based on income and circumstances.
  • Family-Guided Parents and guardians of young children are actively involved in making decisions and leading the process of system development.
  • Culturally Sensitive The strengths, values, and needs of each family and culture are considered in building our system
  • Community Based Each local collaborative will implement a system designed by the community to fit the needs and resources of that community.
  • Collaborative Shared leadership, responsibility, and resources benefit the development of an effective system.
  • Nonpartisan Political agendas have no place in deciding the future of our children.
  • High-Quality with Measurable Results Every public and private service provider is accountable through performance measures that reflect consistent positive results and customer satisfaction.
  • Sustainable All sectors contribute resources which are stable and diverse.
  • Publicly and Privately Funded Contributing resources communicates our message of commitment and our desire to work together for the future of our children and our community.

Membership in the Great Start Collaborative is open to any St. Joseph County resident who is committed to improving the conditions and opportunities available to all children during the first 5 years of life. Please contact us. There is a place for you!

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