Welcome to Great Start Collaborative Saginaw County

There are over 12,200 children under the age of 5 living in Saginaw County. Brain research has shown us that by age 4, 85% of a child's brain is formed.  Those first few years of life are pivotal in shaping a child's future!

The Saginaw Great Start Collaborative is a partnership of parents, community agencies, business leaders, educators, health care providers, faith and philanthropic leaders - all working together and committed to establishing and maintaining a comprehensive early childhood system that addresses all factors that have an impact on a child's readiness for school and life. A priority this year is to reduce infant mortality in our community.

The Annual Meeting PowerPoint details our accomplishments for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.  Our local collaborative is part of a larger state-wide Great Start system.

All children deserve a healthy foundation in life! To learn more or get involved, please contact Julie Kozan at 989-399-7452 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Past Great Start Family-Friendly Business Award Recipients

Great Start Collaborative selects six Family-Friendly Saginaw County businesses or agencies a year. Recipients can include businesses or agencies that reach out to families as customers with special activities, promotions or services or those that support employees with children with benefits such as on-site daycare or flexible hours.  “It is so important that we honor local businesses that truly understand the importance and value of giving children a strong start in life, and helping families to do so,” said Great Start Collaborative Director Julie Kozan. “These children are our future workforce!”.

Anyone in the community can nominate a business for the award. Find a submission form on the Great Start Collaborative Web site and fill out online or print and mail to Julie Kozan at the Saginaw County Intermediate School District, 3860 Fashion Square, P.O. Box 5679, Saginaw MI 48603.

Below is a list of the past recipients of the Great Start Family-Friendly Business Awards.

Leaman’s Green Applebarn of Freeland June/July 2015

Mindful of every opportunity to share the vitality of Michigan farmstead history, Leaman’s Green Applebarn of Freeland want each person who visits the farm to learn or experience at least one new idea about sustainable living, good eating habits, farming, care of the earth, animals, community outreach and more,” said the parent who nominated Leaman’s.

Maple Grill of Hemlock March/April 2015

“It is a family-owned business that definitely makes families feel welcome!” said the parent who nominated the restaurant. “Having two young children, going out to eat is something I cringe when thinking about. Not at the Maple Grille! They have an area at the restaurant just for kids to be kids - large chalkboard to color on, a penny horse to ride, coloring books and more. They also provide bouncers and such for younger children.”

“They do many fundraiser and charities at the restaurant for local organizations including Boy Scouts, Alzheimer's and others. Overall it is just a very welcoming and fun place to be for families.

Women of Color Inc. Jan/Feb 2015

GEM: Great Empowering Motivational Sessions youth mentoring. Groups include Girl Pride, Sugar & Spice and Young Men Who Dare for children and teens. Last year, they mentored more than 100 youth, said President Evelyn McGovern. GEMS include monthly mentoring sessions and one-day workshops to provide community support to youth and parents to enhance family living. Objectives include providing life skills, promoting community service, preparing youth for leadership and helping them identify their gifts and talents.

Kehres Health and Chiropractic Oct/Nov 2014

The team of doctors and staff offers treatment for the entire family, as well as massage therapy. Dr. Dan Kehres and his practice are working to raise awareness for healthy eating, physical activity and overall wellness in our communities. He offers free health classes and speaks at churches and businesses across the region.

St. John Lutheran Church Aug/Sept 2014

Church leaders provide breakfast to more than 200 hungry residents of the neighborhood on the fourth Saturday of each month. Saginaw Metro Ministries Food Pantry is operated from the church and a summer day camp is available for children every year.

“They are available for our community to host events, and also have many of their own events for the whole family,” said the parent educator who nominated the church for the award. “They offer events that include food and childcare.”

St. John Lutheran provides its hall for Great Start Parent Coalition evening meetings every other month at no charge. It is also the home of Michigan Child Care Centers (Kinder Kare) Saginaw site. Staff at this childcare center provide care for children who attend Parent Coalition meetings at the church.



Saginaw Community Foundation highlights the 3-year-old Preschool Scholarship

Saginaw Community Foundation's Annual Report highlights Great Start's Preschool Scholarship. Thank you to the Saginaw Community Foundation for providing us with such a wonderful opportunity to share information on 3-year-old preschool scholarships and why they are so important to our community's youngest. See pages 10 and 11 for the full story!

Please visit Saginaw Community Foundation's Website for more information about all the programs they support.

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The Great Start to Quality Eastern Resource Center serves Arenac, Bay, Huron, Lapeer, Saginaw, Sanilac, St. Clair and Tuscola counties.


Connecting Families to High-Quality Early Learning and Care


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