Community Activities

Strong Beginnings hopes to shape an environment that will support families and enable them to thrive.  To that end, we offer on-going events such as training for service providers and health-related activities in underserved neighborhoods.

Presentations and workshops for service providers and community leaders focus on social determinants and their effect on maternal-child health, on racial inequities, and the importance of cultural humility in providing services to diverse populations.  We offer numerous tools to help health care providers educate and support their patients.  

Strong Beginnings also works in our clients’ own neighborhoods to run educational programs on everything from breastfeeding and infant safe sleep to parenting and family planning. On-going activities include:

  • Effective Black Parenting is a six-week culturally-relevant parent education program for mothers, fathers, and parents-to-be.  EBP provides parents with training to (1) help them enhance the quality of their relationships with their children, and to (2) employ parenting strategies and skills that research has shown to be most helpful in raising pro-social, competent and healthy children.  Transportation and child care are available.  
    Call 616.391.5830 for information.
  • Parenting Classes in Spanish to strengthen parenting skills within a culturally-appropriate context will be offered as well. Transportation and child care are available. Call 616.267.7865 for information.
  • Mom as Gateway is a three-week class to help mothers address barriers and behaviors that inhibit father-child involvement. This workshop offers relevant discussions and activities that promote shared-parenting. Transportation and childcare available.  Call 616.391.5830 for information.
  • Understanding Dad is an eight-week class to help mothers 1) increase their knowledge, positive attitudes and skills associated with improving their relationship with the fathers of their children, 2) increase their understanding of the importance of father-child involvement and 3) foster positive interactions with their children’s fathers. Transportation and childcare available. Call 616.391.5830 for information.
  • H.U.G.S. (Helping Us Grow Strong) breastfeeding support group meets weekly to provide support for pregnant and nursing women. Child care for older children and transportation are available if needed.  Call 616.391.5830 for information.
  • D.A.D. Talk (Dad All Day) is a weekly discussion group led by our Fatherhood Coordinator. Over the course of six weekly sessions the workshop covers the “Five Values” of Integrity, Responsibility, Community, Faith, and Respect.  Refreshments, transportation and child care are provided.  Call 616.953.0507 for information.
  • Barbershop Talks.  Open discussions that take place at local barbershops during business hours.  All present during the discussion are welcome to participate.  Barber Shop Talk encourages conversation on the five core values needed to promote positive fatherhood interactions.  Conversations also highlight ways to enhance family and community life.  Call 616.953.0507 for information.
  • Safe Sleep training.  Asphyxia from unsafe sleep practices is the third leading cause of infant death and completely preventable.  Our Certified Safe Sleep Facilitator can teach you how babies should sleep to be safe from harm.  This interactive hands-on training for parents, community residents, child care providers, agency staff, church groups and other interested parties is available on request.  Call 616.391.5830 for information.
  • You Go Girl!  Neighborhood parties with 10-12 young women gathering for fun, educational games, and frank discussions on topics related to women’s health, such as preconception health, healthy relationships, family planning, and nutrition.  Call 616.391.5830 for details.
  • Health Equity / Social Justice two-day dialogue session open to anyone interested in exploring social disparities, privilege, and other concepts related to racial inequities.  Call 616.267.7864 or 616.632.7122 for information.
  • Creating an Inclusive Health Care Environment is a series of half-day sessions to help providers strengthen cultural competence / cultural humility skills.  Call 616.267.7864 or 616.632.7122 for information.
  • Facilitator Training is available by request to train staff on how to hold “Difficult Conversations about Race and Racism.”  Call 616.267.7864 or 616.632.7122 for information.

In addition, we offer community education on topics such as safe sleep and infant care, nutrition, racism and health disparities, stress management, healthy behaviors, domestic violence, preconception health, and other factors related to family health.  We support an annual Family Planning and Preconception Health conference, the yearly Focus on Fathers conference, semi-annual Breakfast Breaks for Breastfeeding for health care providers and community members, Super D.A.D.S. (Dads Against Dangerous Sleep) interactive training for men on infant safe sleep and other infant safety topics, Flag Football tournaments, and other father-child activities.  

Strong Beginnings is always willing to come to local groups and agencies.  Please call 616.391.5830 to ask about our availability to present at your organization, business, or neighborhood center.  

We also have tools to help providers screen for psycho-social factors that may put pregnant women and infants at risk of poor outcomes and companion educational materials and decision trees to help providers make appropriate referrals.

Finally, we are willing to work with employers who want to institute lactation support programs to support their breastfeeding employees, achieve cost savings, and comply with legal requirements under the Affordable Care Act.  

Please check our Community Calendar which is updated monthly with information about upcoming community events. 

 

Baby Scholars  

Through Believe 2 Become community meetings in 2010 and 2011, local parents asked for  ways to help their babies grow smarter. Early childhood experts came together to form Baby Scholars to meet this need. Home coaching, fun workshops and first school programs are all based on the research and proven models of Susan Landry, a nationally recognized expert in parenting and early childhood.  

 

Baby Scholars is a set of educational programs designed to help parents of children five months to five years become the best teacher they can be so their children can achieve their full potential in school and in life.  All sessions are offered in English and Spanish.

Babies.  Strong Beginnings offers in-home coaching for parents of babies 5 to 19 months old who live in or near the four Hope Zones (see link to map below).  For 10 weeks a certified parent coach comes to the home to show parents how positive parent and child interactions can help their baby’s language, social, and brain development.  To register children ages 5 to 19 months call 616.391.6078.

Toddlers.  Arbor Circle offers home coaching for parents and children 20 – 35 months of age.  A 10-week curriculum helps children learn how to follow directions, take turns, recognize sounds and letters, and use more words. Parents and children work with trained coaches in the home one day each week.  To register children ages 20 to 35 months call 616.819.1406.

Pre-school.  For children 3 – 5 years old, Arbor Circle offers home-based parent coaching (see above) while Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) provides a 10-week curriculum to help children learn colors and shapes, develop pre-reading skills and be ready for kindergarten. Parents work with trained coaches in the home for one day each week, while children participate in a preschool classroom two days per week. To register children ages 3 to 5 years, call 616.819.1406.
Baby Scholars is open to families:

  • With children 5 months to 5 years old
  • Who live in the B2B zones: Click Here
  • Who plan to send their children to Grand Rapids Public Schools

If you live outside the Zones please call (616) 819-1406 to find out about how you might participate in Baby Scholars.  

For more information, please click here.