The Great Start Parent Coalition's purpose is to increase knowledge and participation in early childhood planning and decision-making for Alpena, Montmorency, and Alcona Counties.

Being involved with the Parent Coalition provides members the opportunity to meet and network with other parents, engage in training, professional development, and parent-to-parent learning experiences. We build strong, lasting relationships while working to educate ourselves and the community!

We participate in Screen Free Week, an initiative of FairPlay.  FairPlay offers many ideas for screen free activities.  Research shows that too much screen time can have a negative impact on children, affecting their sleep habits, eating habits, and communication skills.  If you need ideas for screen free activities, click here.


CountdownFor research studies and information regarding screen health in children (and adults) please visit Harvard Medical School/ Screen Time and the Brain American Psychological Association/ Academy, Dana Foundation.


The AMA Great Start Collaborative hosts an annual ShoePalooza every fall by providing new gym shoes to children ages 3-12.  We encourage families to reduce screen time and increase time spent outside together. According to the American Psychological Association, children as young as 2 are exposed to an average of 3 hours of screen time a day.  Screen time in schools is increasing with decreased time spent outside engaging with nature.


Our Amazing Community Partners

ShoePalooza has been running for 7 years with community support.  Through the support of our generous providers, we have been able to provide 742 pairs of athletic footwear for the children ages 3-12 in our communities. Our community partners include:    

FairPlay logos

Strengthening families is a family support model for ALL families.  It Involves the following 5 protective factors:    

1. Parental Resilience 

2. Social Connections 

3. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

4. Concrete support in Times Of Need

5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children  

Research has found that families with strong protective factors have fewer risks to well being.  To support families building protective factors, we host Parent Cafes.  Parent Cafés are safe spaces where families and caregivers answer Be Strong Family Cafe card questions.  These were designed by families for families, as natural conversation starters. 

Watch this video for more details: 

For more information click here .

Looking for fun things to do?

Alcona Area Activities 

Alpena Area Activities 

Montmorency Area Activities 

Take the 1000 hours outside challenge! Keep track of your time spent outside. Click Here to Sign up!  For ideas what to do click here