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Families Connected

Free Groups for Parents/Caregivers

Parent Cafés - Coffee Chats

Coffee Chats are a great place for parents/caregivers to socialize with other parents/caregivers, to talk about their struggles, and to get support in a safe environment. It's a chance to create meaningful friendships while building resilience and confidence in a parenting role. The first 15 minutes will focus on a new parenting topic at each gathering that is chosen by attendees.

Connected Meetings


Connected Meetings give parents/caregivers the chance to be a leader and a voice in their community by contributing to the work of the Great Start Collaborative (GSC). The GSC's vision is to ensure every child in Allegan County is healthy, developmentally on track, and ready to succeed in school. Meetings also provide community resources, parenting education, and child development topics to caregivers chosen by attendees.

Great Start Parent & Family Coalition
Families Connected (GSFC)

Parents/caregivers will have the opportunity to be as active as they would like to be at all Families Connected groups. There are no required memberships and everyone is welcome to come to as many or as little gatherings as they like. 

We encourage caregivers who are grandparents, foster parents, or other relatives to come to our groups because we believe is takes a village to raise a child.

GSFC serves to:
  • Strengthen the voice of parents/caregivers in the community for young children.

  • Assist in building public support for early childhood education.

  • Assist in the Great Start Collaborative work.

  • Provide a place for caregivers to connect with other caregivers.

We provide support to parents/caregivers who care for children ages prenatal - 12.

Family Portrait 5
Join Us in Being a Family Connected!

Join our private Facebook Group:

Allegan County Great Start Families Group.

Contact Our Parent Liaison:

Stormie Drake

Great Start Parent Liaison

(269) 512-7747

For more information, including schedules and locations, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Upcoming Families Connected Events!

Winter-Spring (January - May)

2023 Great Start “Families Connected” Meetings (at playgroups)

  • March 16: Plainwell Play & Learn @ 10:30am, Ransom District Library

    • Topic: Library Children Resources

  • April 18: Wayland Play & Learn @ 10:00am, Baker Elementary

    • Topic: Recyclable and Reusable Craftable Toys

  • May 23: Wayland Play & Learn @ 10:00am, Baker Elementary

  • May 24: Fennville Play & Learn @ 11:30am, Fennville District Library

    • Topic: Summer Educational Activities

2023 Great Start Family virtual “Coffee Chats” * 3rd Tuesday of each month

*2023 Great Start “Families Connected” Events

 *Registration required:

  • “Let’s Talk About Animals”- Critter Barn, Holland

    • April 14 at 11:00am-12:00pm, meet rabbits, chickens, calves, sheep, goats, donkeys, and more!

  • “Let’s Talk About Bath Time”- Allegan Aquatic Center

    • April 28 at 10:30am-12:00pm, open swim for the whole family!

    • Limited spots available!

  • “Let’s Talk About Nature”- Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland

    • May 19 at 2:00pm-3:00pm, nature trail walks and learn about local animals in their habitats!

Stormie Drake

Great Start Parent Liaison

Contact Us!

Contact us below to join us or ask us a question!

Newsletters for Families Connected

Every month we email and post a newsletter specifically for Families Connected! Our newsletter includes families connected meetings, local family events, playgroup events, parent workshops, educational activities, community information, and more! You can view the current and all past issues of our newsletters below:


All Newsletter Issues for Families Connected

Parenting Tips!

These materials were developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.

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