Category Archives: Community Event

Parenting Workshop Starting April 5

Great Start Livingston is excited to partner with MSU Extension to present this 5-week workshop: Guiding Principles for Highly Successful Families.
This workshop is being offered at no-cost to families.
Thursdays:   April 5, 12, 19, 26 & May 3.  5:30-6:45pm
  • Week 1 – Developing successful family routines
  • Week 2 – Handling behavior challenges & helping develop emotional control
  • Week 3 – Being a calm assertive parent
  • Week 4 – Establishing rules & supportive relationships
  • Week 5 – Building resilience – Allowing children to make mistakes
Each week you will leave with resources and a new book to add to your child’s library.
We will also provide FREE dinner & child care.  Child care spaces are limited so make sure to register early.  

To register click HERE to email Kathy Virden or call 517-540-6860.   Make sure to indicate if you will need child care & if so –  the ages of your children.

See flyer below or click to print:  Flyer Highly Effective Parenting Training 2018   

Flyer Highly Effective Parenting Training 2018


Backpacks for Kids/Connect for Kids – Thank you!

2015-08-20 05.20.032015-08-20 05.16.55IMG_2679

As children start school this fall, many of them are starting the new school year with a new backpack and school supplies thanks to the Annual Backpacks for Kids/Connect for Kids event that was held on Thursday, August 20, 2015.

For the past 14 years, Livingston Educational Service Agency has been collecting school supplies and backpacks for their annual Backpacks for Kids Event.  Since 2011, Connect for Kids was added to the even and it has provided an added resource for families.

On Thursday, August 20th, over 900 backpacks filled with school supplies and over $17,000 in resource items were distributed during the Annual Connect for Kids/Backpacks for Kids Distribution.

All of this comes from the many amazing community partners here in Livingston County.  The Backpacks for Kids/Connect for Kids Committee would like to thank all the community residents, local businesses, churches, community service groups and all the community partners who contributed to this effort through donations, volunteer time, and serving as drop-off sites for supplies and backpacks to make it a success.

We want to thank donors such as:

  • Brighton Masonic Lodge #247
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Rex Materials Group
  • St. Mary Magdalen Church
  • First Presbyterian Church for 155 filled backpacks
  • Costco for 50 backpacks
  • The State Police for holding supply drives
  • Wal-Mart for allowing us to hold Stuff the Bus
  • Five Below for holding a fundraiser event

We also want to thank over 15 community partners who provided additional resources for the families in attendance.  This included:

  • 1,400 pairs of socks from the Howell Ministerial Association
  • 40 – $250 back to school clothing vouchers and 200 Summer Lunch Bunch lunches from the Salvation Army
  • Over 600 books provided by MSU Extension, Howell Carnegie Library and Brighton District Library
  • Over 500 pounds of produce provided by Gleaners, Community Garden Network and the Hunger Council
  • Hot dogs, fruit salad and bacon-ranch salad to over 600 people by The Torch
  • Over 1,000 bottles of water provided by Cornerstone EPC and Gleaners
  • 100 bandage holders, information on Healthy Michigan Plan, Emergency preparedness and Vision clinics from the Livingston County Department of Public Health
  • 300 BE THE MOST items promoting teens to stay alcohol and drug-free from Key Development
  • 48 car seat checks, 27 new car seats and 24 new helmets from Safe Kids
  • LESA Early Childhood Programs provided various clothes for children
  • St. Joseph – Livingston Family Medicine Center provided a teddy bear clinic and 500 children took home a teddy bear and ice pack
  • 50 blood pressure checks along with heart health information, tote bags and give aways were provided by St. Joseph – Michigan Heart
  • St. Joseph provided injury prevention information and 500 bandage dispensers and hand sanitizers
  • Walmart distributed hundreds of tote bags to families
  • 2 portable toilets were available thanks to Lashbrook’s Excavating and Septic Service
  • Display signs provided by First Impression

We also want to thank our many volunteers from the LESA Board, Brighton Masonic Lodge #247, LESA employees and family members, Howell Kiwanis, Great Start Livingston Parent Coalition, and Representatives Hank Vaupel and Lana Theis.  There are over 100 volunteers who help collect supplies, fill backpacks or help with this event.  We appreciate all your help to ensure that many of the children in our county were able to start the year with the supplies and support they need to help make this year successful.

Thank you and we look forward to working with you again next year!

The Backpacks for Kids/Connect for Kids Committee

For additional information call the Hot Line at (517) 540-6833 or visit the website at:  Click on Parents & Community tab.

2015 Diaper Drive

Baby Picture

Get behind our 2015 Diaper Drive!

Facts about Diaper need:

  • Disposable diapers cost up to $100 per month per baby, and diapers cannot be purchased through any government assistance program.
  • Diapers cannot be obtained with food stamps, and are classified with cigarettes, alcohol and pet food as disallowed purchases.
  • Infants require up to 12 diapers/day and toddlers about 8 diapers/day.
  • Gleaners never has diapers in stock and this is a need in Livingston County.

Whether at home or workplace, individuals and groups (large and small) can organize a fun and simple Diaper Drive that has the potential to help hundreds of babies.

Contact Sarah Smith for more details on how you or your organization can get involved.

Email or call 810-523-8770


Diaper Drive Coming – April 2014

Baby Picture

One in three Americans struggle to provide their babies with a basic essential – diapers. In Livingston County, many families rely on federal programs to get by and a majority of programs do not cover the cost of diapers.  Last year our diaper drive collected over 32,000 diapers which were distributed to those in need!  Gleaners Community Food Bank, the major distributor of the diapers, reported this diaper inventory was used up in less than two months!  

 The Great Start Livingston Parent Coalition will be hosting the 4th annual county-wide diaper drive throughout the month of April to help fill this gap.

Why are we helping?

  • Diapers can cost up to $75.00 a month per child.
  • Babies kept in dirty diapers for extended periods of time may lead to babies suffering not just physically but emotionally.
  • The majority of licensed day care centers require a full day’s supply of disposable (not cloth) diapers and most Laundromats do not allow cloth diapers for sanitary reasons.
  • Our local food pantries receive very few diaper donations during the year and are often not able to supply families with diapers.

 We are asking for your help to ensure infants and toddlers in Livingston County are not going without one of their most basic necessities. Will you consider being a part of the Livingston County Diaper Drive this year?

 Being a partner is simple.  We are asking for you place a Diaper Drive collection bin within your place of business and request donations of unopened disposable diapers of any size. The collection period will be throughout the month of April, however, if this month does not work we can arrange for different dates. We will provide posters for promotion of the project, information and media that will support the Diaper Drive, as well as collection bins. We will also coordinate to arrange for pick-up and distribution of the diapers. All you have to do is ask people to bring in diapers or monetary donations and we will take care of the rest!

Please contact Sarah Smith, Great Start Parent Liaison, if you are interested in helping with the Diaper Drive or hosting a diaper collection bin.

Sarah Smith: or 810-523-8770


Food Drive for Homeless Students


LESA, Livingston Educational Service Agency, is collecting food for distribution to 220 homeless students and their families.  Collection continues through Monday, December 16

Of the 220 homeless students in need of assistance, 22 are preschool students, 108 are elementary students, 34 are middle school students, over 70 are high school students, and 45 are unaccompanied youth.

Each year, the staff at LESA participates in a community service project. This year, the staff is collaborating with Homeless Student Liaison Candice Uyttendaele.

Candice Uyttendaele said that some food donations have been coming in, but they need more food or cash donations to help the students.  In all there are likely more than 220 students who qualify for the meals because many of the school-age students have younger siblings, she said.

“On average we have around 500 children a year,” Uyttendaele said. “This year will surpass that quite a bit because our numbers are higher than that this year. It’s quite eye-opening.”

“Any time a student is placed out of the care of their parent or guardian or any time the family has to leave their home due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or any similar situation, they are considered homeless,” Uyttendaele said. “It is based completely on their residency; examples include, if they are living with family or friends, or if they are in a motel. If they are not in their own home and it is due to economic hardship they are counted.”

Often, the most nutritious meals provided to the homeless student population are the breakfasts and lunches they receive through the free and reduced-cost meal program offered by schools.

Anyone interested can drop off donations in the front lobby of the LESA Education Center located at 1425 W. Grand River Ave. in Howell.  Cash donations will also be accepted to purchase snacks.

Suggested Items

Granola Bars
Fruit Snacks
Whole Grain Crackers (with or without peanut butter or cheese)
Snack Packs of Fruits, Jell-O & Pudding
Unsweetened Applesauce
100% Fruit Juice
Individual serving cereal boxes
Monetary Donations