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The Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet, and Northern Antrim counties is made up of community leaders and organizations from each county that have a vested interest in Early Childhood Investment. We are representatives from business, health, education, human services, higher education, non-profit, court systems, philanthropy, and parents who are implementing a plan to address the needs of young children within our Northern Michigan Communities.
G R E A T  S T A R T  C O L L A B O R A T I V E
Charlevoix, Emmet, & Northern Antrim Counties 
"Parent leadership is successful when parents and professionals build partnerships" - Mandy Peterson, Great Start Parent Coalition Liasion
"These are the true faces and voices behind the funds. It's important that the legislators see the real faces that these funds support -- it's not just a line item, it's a child -- and it's Michigan's future.  "
"We are encouraging families to join us for a 'green Halloween' and recycle their past years' costumes for another," said Maureen Hollocker, Great Start Coalition Director for Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim Counties.
“The heart of any community is how they relate to one another. In tough economic times like these, relating to one another also means identifying and fulfilling needs for the greater good of the whole community. It has been said many different ways by many great leaders because it is true; any society/community is judged on how well it treats its weakest members... our children,” said Maureen Hollocker, collaborative director of Great Start, an organization dedicated to developing a system of support, education, and wellness of children ages zero-five and their families.
Jill Haan, early education coordinator for Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District said, "Maureen was chosen as director for her diverse professional history that includes previous legislative experience, event planning, and a great passion and personal experience in early education and intervention with her own child."
"I am very excited to continue to work with our caring and qualified child care providers in this region to bring them additional support and services to care for children and their families," Chowen said. 
Press Coverage for the Great Start Collaborative & Parent Coalition
"Families in our Northern Michigan region are generous and community minded. Parents find reward in passing along their gently used items knowing it is going to good use for another child in our area and the free part in FreeCycle means that no money ever exchanges hands -- helping the bottom line in family budgets that are already strained by the challenging economy we are experiencing."
With the idea of getting free books in children's hands, the Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition have launched the FreeCycle Book Bin project in a three-county area of Charlevoix, Emmet, and nothern Antrim counties.
The Strengthening Families workshops brought together staff from human service organizations, community and parent leaders, educators and child care providers to enhance their community's response to child abuse and neglect.
"Great Start's Costume Exchange is one of the many family supports we and our partners bring to the local community.  The concept of families helping families to build a thriving community is resonating among local parents, especially during these tough economic times," stated Maureen Hollocker, Great Start Collaborative Director.