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Families invited for “back-to-school” supply drive in Alger Heights this weekend

Teacher supplies
Lindsey Balbierz for NPR

The event is free to the public and will be held from 10am – 1pm at Alger Heights Great Start Collaborative on August 13.

Family resource groups in Kent County are working to give parents and kids a strong start ahead of the upcoming school year, by teaming up for a back-to-school supply drive this weekend in Alger Heights.

Free to the community, the “Books, Blocks and Balls” event runs 10am – 1pm on August 13 at 256 Alger Street S.E. It’s a partnership between Kent County’s Great Start Collaborative and Head Start organizations. Organizers told WGVU the mission is to help parents of school-age children learn about the importance of play during learning time, especially as many families pivot to at-home learning.

“It’s so important for families to come in because not everyone has access to resources and knows about all the resources that can support them as a family and also as a child. When you know more, you do more,” Tomarra Richardson, parent liaison with the Great Start Parent Coalition, said.

With academic reports showing more than half of Michigan’s third grade students are not proficient in reading, Richardson says literacy and developmental screenings will be another big push. The event will feature a book giveaway and goodie bags filled with resources like an ages-and-stages questionnaire, which Richardson said helps ensure kids are on track for success.

“We’re the Great Start Collaborative, and we want to make sure every child in Kent County has a great start in life,” Richardson said.

About 17 community organizations are participating, with education-based raffles and prizes being given out every 30 minutes. Complimentary Italian shaved ice will also be provided.

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