Local Early Childhood Fund

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Local Early Childhood Fund 2018-02-12T03:48:39+00:00

The St. Joseph County Great Start Collaborative developed a local early childhood fund housed at the Sturgis Area Community Foundation in 2010.  The Early Childhood Implementation Fund was developed to respond to local community needs.  Our past projects include purchasing Creative Curriculum for Head Start, Great Start Readiness Programs, and some private preschools, creating and funding child care provider improvement scholarship, purchasing the signs for a Born Learning Trail in Sturgis, and providing a Systematic Training for Effective Parenting.

Currently, 35% of all funds raised goes toward the Welcome Baby project and 65% goes toward Preschool Scholarship Program.

Current Projects

Welcome Baby

The St. Joseph County Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition is proud to provide baby bags to Three Rivers Health, Sturgis Hospital, and Bronson Methodist Hospital to celebrate the birth of St. Joseph County babies.

About the program:

The Welcome Baby program was developed to embrace families with new babies to help them get
off to a Great Start!
Families with new babies in St. Joseph County receive

  • a “Welcome Baby” gift bag
  • information on services available in the community
  • goodies” for the baby (growth chart, booties, etc.)
  • information on how parents can engage themselves in their baby’s everyday life to ensure a Great Start to their future!

The St. Joseph County Welcome Baby Program is facilitated by the Great Start Parent Coalition and run solely by volunteers. Please read the Welcome Baby brochure to find out more about this important program and find out how you can help babies in St. Joseph County.


Three Year Old Preschool Scholarships

Una Beca Preescolar Para Niños de 3 Años

For the first time,  the Great Start Collaborative was able to provide preschool scholarships to qualifying three year old children in St. Joseph County.  This year, 28 children preschools throughout the county.




Program Description

  • Designed to increase the access to preschool for the county’s most vulnerable three year old children to provide two years of high quality preschool/child care to increase kindergarten readiness
  • Accommodate children offering a preschool experience, following their local public school calendar year

Program eligibility

  • Child must be three years old by September 1st
  • September 2-December 1 eligible as slots are available
  • Family income of 250% of poverty or less
  • Child risk factors to determine most vulnerable children first (follows Great Start Readiness Program guidelines)

To apply, families must complete a county-wide preschool application (Click here for English; hace click aquí para español) (Also available at: Mom2Mom Sale, Head Start, Department of Human Services, Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, local school districts, Intermediate School District)

Provider eligibility

  • Must complete Provider Application for Preschool Scholarships
  • Application reviews Business Information, Philosophy Statement, Health and Safety Checklist, Family Partnerships, Teaching Materials and Strategies, Tracking Learning, and Teacher Training and Education
  • Child Care Resources will perform a Program Quality Assessment (PQA)
  • Provider must meet a minimum rating of 3 on the PQA to be eligible (5 is the highest)

For additional information, please call the Great Start Collaborative Coordinator, Natalie Boland at 269-467-5473 or send an e-mail to sjcgreatstart@gmail.com.  Llame a Amy Brauer a 269-467-5309 para más detalles o mande un correo electrónico.


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