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ADRIAN – When Lisa Eack and Heather Perez became co- liaisons of the Lenawee County Great Start Parent Coalition in September, their first task, as they saw it, was to grow the organization. The coalition formed a couple of years ago but was slow in gathering members, so the women decided they needed something extra to draw people to meetings.

The Delta-Schoolcraft Counties Great Start Collaborative has come up with a unique solution to Election Day voting stress for the parents of young children , which it will employ during Tuesday’s election – free child care at the polls.

As the election campaign enters its final weekend, several media reports again offered glimpses of how the candidates for governor view early childhood programs. 

A Michigan Radio news report headlined "Candidates want more focus on early childhood education," said "Democratic nominee for governor Virg Bernero and Republican candidate Rick Snyder both say early childhood programs are important."

Jack Kresnak, president and CEO of Michigan's Children, penned a commentary in the Oct. 28 edition of  the Detroit Free Press: "We need so much from our next leaders: more jobs, new businesses, better schools, healthier families, thriving communities. In short, we want a new Michigan. And we can have it -- but not without investing in our greatest resource: our children."  

LAWRENCE - All aboard! That was the call issued by the Van Buren Great Start Collaborative this summer as it continued its ongoing educational outreach. The group held a “virtual bus tour” for local leaders and candidates to help them understand the needs of local children 0-5 and how those needs are being addressed.


LAPEER - Teresa Gormley never imagined she’d be sharing information and interviewing candidates for the state Senate or House of Representatives, let alone gubernatorial candidates. But that’s just what she did this election season.


MT. CLEMENS - Lisa Carter Bates is undaunted by the children vying for her attention in her home day care while she handles questions from an interviewer with ease and still manages to give her husband a sweet send-off as he leaves for work.

KALAMAZOO - Robert B. Jones, state representative for the 60th District and former mayor of Kalamazoo, will be remembered among early childhood advocates for his passionate work on issues affecting young children.

LAKE CITY - At a “Meet the Candidates” night in Lake City, more than 70 community members gathered at Missaukee County Park to meet 14 candidates for state office. Sponsored by the Wexford-Missaukee Great Start Parent Coalition, the candidates were invited to share their thoughts and ideas about the importance of early childhood.

Great Start Collaborative and Great Start Parent Coalition members across the state clearly have Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 2) on their minds. Read more at the Sandbox Party website.

Why should business support early childhood? A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce answers that very question.

When President Obama was elected into office two years ago, education advocates and stakeholders were keenly aware that the issue of early childhood education would become a priority for the new Administration. Has it happened? Find out in this report from Washington Partners LLC.

Dedication, collaboration and an important coincidence paved the way for Kent County to begin a “medical home” project that is fast becoming a model for other communities and the state.

Candidates statewide are getting face time with early childhood advocates and vice versa. Across Michigan, members of local Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions have been staging meet and greets, candidate forums and even ice cream socials.

David Lawrence Jr. - former publisher of the Detroit Free Press and Miami Herald, and the leader of Florida's Milk Party campaign for children - wrote a commentary on the Sandbox Party and early childhood, which appeared in the Oct. 17 print edition of the Free Press.

HOUGHTON – Michigan has more than 6,800 children under five in foster care, but now a novel program piloted in the western Upper Peninsula is helping families get healthy and keeping more young kids out of the system.

CASSOPOLIS - Cass County was the last county in Michigan to start a Great Start Collaborative. But last is turning out to be a great way to start as far as Heather Merrill, the group’s coordinator, is concerned.

Early childhood received a coveted shout-out in Sunday's prime-time gubernatorial debate, with both Republican Rick Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero pledging support for early childhood issues and programs. How did that play with some of the state’s top advocates for young children?

All 148 seats in the Michigan House and Senate are up for grabs in next month's election. The state's term limits law means that more than half of those seats will go to newcomers. So where does your local candidate stand on all matters early childhood? To find out, the Sandbox Party invited candidates to fill out a simple, five question survey.

WIXOM –The state’s gubernatorial candidates affirmed their support of early childhood programs Sunday night in the campaign's first and only televised debate.