Connecting families to community resources and supporting parent-teacher collaboration.
a Parent Liaison Can Help
Have a question about the school or your child’s academics?
Wondering about activities or resources that are available?
Need help finding childcare?
Need to connect with Department for Health and Human Services for a Bridge card, insurance, or other supports?
We help ensure stability and support for students and families without a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
Need help connecting with a counselor, psychologist, or other mental health professional?
Beth is in her fourth year as a Parent Liaison for Jenison Public Schools. Prior to this, Beth spent 11 years as a speech pathologist in Grand Rapids and 12 years as an SLP with Jenison’s ASD program. Beth graduated from Western Michigan University with a major in Speech Pathology and minors in Spanish and Elementary Education. She received her M.A. in Speech Pathology from Eastern Michigan University. In her spare time, Beth loves spending time with her family, boating, and reading. Beth provides support to Bursley, Rosewood, and the High School.
Mary has been a Parent Liaison for Jenison Public Schools for six years. Prior to being a Parent Liaison, Mary spent 25 years teaching third grade. Mary graduated from Hope College with a degree in elementary and special education. Her Master’s Degree is from Cleveland State University where she focused on Early Childhood Special Education. Mary loves spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading, and playing pickleball.
Mary provides support to Pinewood, Sandy Hill, and the Junior High.
Kris is starting her first year as a Parent Liaison for Jenison Public Schools. Prior to being a Parent Liaison, Kris spent 25 years as a school social worker for JPS. Kris graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Psychology. Her Masters in Social Work Degree is from the University of Michigan where she focused on interpersonal practice and community organizing. Kris loves spending time with her family and friends, experiencing live music, and baking. Kris provides support to El Puente, the ECC, Bauerwood, and the JIA.
Rachelle joins the Parent Liaison Team as an administrative assistant after spending 7 years with the Young Life Organization as the YoungLives Coordinator. Rachelle’s supportive skills and an understanding of community needs, as well as her connections to many community resources, make her a great addition to the Parent Liaison Program. In her spare time, Rachelle enjoys spending time with her family, physical fitness, and time in the sunshine.
Opportunities for Families
Things to do THIS WEEK
- Used Book Sale: Georgetown Township Public Library (GTPL) Friends of the Library Used Book Sale is Jan 26-28 during the libraries open hours. It is held in the Large Programming Room (basement). Prices are $1 and under for books and media.
- Frozen Fun: This Friday, brave the cold for some icy fun. Play frozen (yes, you read that right) shuffleboard, chess, cornhole, putt-putt, and more. Games are available for playing with all day…until they melt. Friday, January 27 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM. Be sure to check out some World of Winter artwork while you’re downtown.
- Great Skate: Join the Grand Rapids Griffins as they skate around the clock to raise money for the Griffins Youth Foundation. In addition to skating, there is a heated family tent, winter sports demonstrations and carriage rides. Admission is free. Skate rental is $4/Adults, $2/Kids. Sat, Jan. 21 – Sun, Jan. 22
- FREE Soccer Class: Future soccer star at home? Run out their energy at a FREE 50-minute soccer class this weekend at MSA Woodland. Available to all skill levels, ages 15 months to 12 years. Saturday, 9:00 – 9:50 AM, 10:00 – 10:50 AM, or 11:00 – 11:50 AM. Registration required.
- Winter Fun for Everyone: With a cardboard sled race, face painting, bounce houses, and so much more, you’re sure to find something for each one of your kids at the Winterfest Kids Day in Grand Haven! Get chilly with snow angels and sledding, then head inside to warm up with a variety of family-friendly activities. Saturday, January 28, 12:00 – 3:00 PM, Tri-Cities Family YMCA (Grand Haven).
- Flashlight Hunt: Gather up your flashlight and winter coat for a yeti hunt. East Paris Nature Park has had a yeti sighting and you need to help find it. Search for clues along the almost 1-mile trail to help find the elusive creature. Fri, Jan. 27. $7 per family. Sign up required.
- Kids, Crafts, and Critters: There’s a little something for everyone at the Coopersville Farm Museum. Kids will love the trains, tractors, animals, and crafts. Saturday, January 28, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. FREE
- FREE World of Winter: January 6- March 5, World of Winter returns to downtown Grand Rapids. Celebrate winter with ice sculptures, interactive exhibits, and so much more. FREE
- Frugal Fun: Having fun around West Michigan doesn’t have to be expensive. GR Kids provides ideas of 19 FREE things to do around GR this winter–plus some bonus, inexpensive ideas!
- Happier January: This calendar is full of actions to get the new year off to a positive start. Share it with friends to give them a boost too.
- Snow Shoe or Cross Country Ski: Ottawa County Parks and Recreation has you covered. You can rent snow shoe and cross country ski equipment to use at Hemlock Crossing Park and Pigeon creek. Be sure to check their Winter Recreation page for up-to-date details.
- Ice Skating: An outing at Rosa Parks Ice Rink is extra magical under the twinkling holiday lights. Reserve your skating session in advance or walk up and skate. Skating is weather dependent. Adults $4/person (includes skates). Youth (17 and under) $2/person.
- Go Sledding: GR Kids has a great list of sledding hills in the Grand Rapids Area.
- Teen After School Hangout is at the Georgetown Township Public Library from 3:30-5:00 every Tuesday. Just show up to participate! 1525 Baldwin St, Jenison MI 49428
- 40+ Indoor Playgrounds and Kids Play Places: GR Kids offers an extensive list for toddlers to teens including a list of FREE places!
Upcoming Family Activities:
- Princes Skate: Join at Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink on January 28 for an enchanted afternoon of roller skating and meet your favorite princess! Get your picture taken with Snow White, Jasmine, Belle, Anna & Elsa, Cinderella, Aurora, Repunzel, & Ariel! Fun games, photo opportunities, and a magical time to be had by all! Get all the details, including time and admission cost here.
- Molly of Denali: Adventure awaits at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum! Explore the great outdoors with Molly of Denali, a PBS Kids Series exhibit. Kids can fly a bush plane, drive a snowmobile, navigate a snow maze in snowshoes and more! The exhibit opens this Saturday at noon. Spoiler alert — Molly will be there to visit the grand opening on January 28! Bridge Card holders get deeply discounted tickets.
- Learn how to cook Peruvian food: Join us on Feb. 4th from 9 am – 1 pm to. Enjoy rich discussion, Peruvian music, games, and delicious food! Please sign up here: Real Food Can Connect Us: A Free International Meal With Neighbors | Intersection Ministries or email@example.com. This FREE event is a great way to learn about different cultures, learn how to make new healthy dishes, and enjoy the wonderful cultures present in Ottawa County!
- Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra Tickets: The Orchestra is a great outing for all families. Any client active on a DHHS assistance program can qualify for 4 free tickets to the GR Symphony Orchestra. Every concert in the 2022-2023 Season is eligible but tickets are limited and subject to availability. Clients may contacts Christen at firstname.lastname@example.org or their DHHS worker for the code and instructions on how to obtain free tickets.
- Hidden Gem: Anyone else forget about the giant tire swing downtown GR? A famous tire swing, nonetheless. Located in Calder Plaza behind the Federal Building, the tire swing is big enough to hold a handful of kids (plus a couple adults). Bonus: it’s FREE and always open.
- GR Moms: Moms of Grand Rapids is a local community organization designed with all mamas (expecting, first time, or well seasoned) in mind. Playgroups, Moms Night Out, and Game Nights are just some of the things you’ll enjoy as a member of this group!
- “Talking is Teaching”: Help Me Grow Ottawa has offered a free “Talking is Teaching” calendar that offers simple daily interactions that can help boost children’s brain and language development, setting them up for success in school and beyond.
- Virtual Relaxation Rooms! The Virtual Relaxation Room is designed to be an interactive experience. They are designed to help you decompress, refocus, and reduce stress. Click here for easy access to some favorite rooms!
- Georgetown Public Library: Our local public library has a great variety of activities for youth that can be found on their website and in their monthly youth newsletter.
- For ages 5-10, Kent District Library (KDL) LAB Experience: TheKDL LAB Experience promotes creativity, problem solving skills and unstructured exploration time for school-age children and teens. Carefully selected learning tools and activities are designed to help students increase their proficiency in STEAM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Get your questions answers and register at the KDL website.
- Ottawa County Parks offer free family activities this winter. Be sure to check the calendar for dates and parks. Register early as spots do fill up.
- Kids Eat Free: There are still a few places where kids can eat FREE (or at least discounted) around GR. You’ll have the most weekend options if you dine out on Sunday!
- Parenting Groups: Do you need the comradaderie of other parents who understand you? GR kids has put together this list of groups for parents and caregivers.
- Parental controls on iPhone/Ipad: Knowing how to put boundaries on our kid’s devices can be challenging. This video gives step by step instructions on how to do it as well as how to have conversations with your kids about what is appearing on their screens. For further help, you. may find this video or these written instructions helpful.
Suicide Awareness and Prevention: A presentation for caregivers and communities: TRAILS invites you to attend this free presentation on Tuesday, February 7, from 4:30-5:45pm (Eastern) via Zoom. No registration is required, click here to join or click here for more information.
- DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K): DivorceCare for Kids is a special group created to help children ages 5-12 heal from the pain caused by the separation or divorce of their parents. FREE PIZZA PROVIDED! The class meets at Fairhaven Church on Mondays from now through March 27 from 6:30-8:30pm in the 100 wing. Parents can register their children for the class here. Parents that are interested in DivorceCare (a support group/class for adults that runs at the same time as DC4K)can find more information and registration here.
- Grief Support: In this Stay Well workshop series, clinical mental health counselor Zeinab Moussa continues to discuss emotions experienced by those who are grieving, and engages participants in drawing, writing, mental exercises, and relaxation techniques to help them cope. Register for Mondays at 6 p.m. https://bit.ly/3FS1mYS
Register for Wednesdays at noon: https://bit.ly/3uTfF9b.
- Serving With Dignity Introduction: Monday, March 13th from 6-8pm in Love Your Neighbor’s will be hosting an informational night of Serving With Dignity in their upstairs training rom. This is an opportunity to learn what Serving With Dignity is and how it can impact your faith based worldview. Snacks provided, RSVP by Thursday, March 9th to email@example.com.
- Celebrating Healthy Fatherhood: A Space for fathers to CONNECT, LEARN, & ENGAGE! Saturday, January 28th, 9:30AM-12PM at the Resilience Holland Program Office. Learning and discussion with breakfast and childcare! See all the information here.
- Ottawa Food’s Community Listening Sessions: These sessions are a space to share lived experiences, challenges, and insights on food assistant programs in Ottawa County. These sessions are a great way to guide local programming and generate opportunities for those with lived experiences to lead and advocate. Participants receive a $25 gift card! Learn how to sign up here.
- New or expecting families: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is hosting three virtual baby fairs for new or expecting parents in December. At the events, families will have opportunities to learn about available resources, important health and safety information and ask questions directly to program experts.
- FREE Parenting Skills Education Classes: Arbor circle is offering the following classes. Please click on each one for more information.
- Nurturing Parenting Program –Tuesday evenings, or Wednesday afternoons, Jan-March. This fun and informative virtual class will cover topics including discipline, communication, child development, and problem-solving.
Strengthening Families 10-14 Program – Monday evenings, Jan 16 – Feb 27. Being a parent or caregiver can be hard. Being a 10-14-year-old can be hard. Join us for a FREE 7-week program where we will work with your family to strengthen your relationships with a variety of skills & tools. Childcare is FREE for children under 10.
- Mental Health Videos: Ottawa Substance Use Prevention Coalition created three to five-minute videos to help youth practice positive mental health skills. Anyone can use these videos in individual or group settings. If you’re a teenager, feel free to watch these on your own. Middle School Videos / High School Videos
- FREE Support Groups: Resilience of Michigan, Advocates for Ending Violence is offering support groups for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. See the details here.
- Sibshops are peer support groups that offer a safe and engaging space for siblings to learn, have fun, meet and be supported
by other children who understand what it’s like to have a sibling with special needs. Click here for more information on having your child(ren) participate in Sibshops in Ottawa county. Or, Click here for more information on having your child(ren) participate in Sibshops in Grand Rapids.
- Online infant car seat safety classes: Spectrum Health offers this FREE class online monthly. This class is for anyone who is expecting, going to be grandparents, nannies, whomever may put baby in a carseat. This is a great class to be educated on car seat safety and more. Sign up online through SHZCH classes Childbirth and Parenting Classes | Zeeland Community Hospital | Spectrum Health
- Mental Health Support Groups: Be Better in Holland is here to provide guidance, support, and education to the individual and their network. Free support groups are happening now. Learn more here.
- Parent Education Videos: In 2021, Ottawa County Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) launched a new Parent Education SHORT Video series. Several West Michigan parents self-recorded their parenting experiences or conversations with their teens about topics linked to substance use, mental health, and more. These candid recordings give insight into how parents can engage teens in necessary conversations that may feel uncomfortable to start or other helpful parenting advice. OSAP will release a short video each week on its YouTube Channel. Click here to watch the first video of the new Parent Education Video Series. From there you will be able to see the others or subscribe for future videos.
- GVSU K-12 Connect: Offering free tutoring services and homework help to students in grades K-12. See the link for more information and to sign up.
- Early Childhood: The Jenison Early Childhood Center (ECC) has a new facebook page! Check out the Facebook link for everything going on in early childhood!
- Depression / Bipolar /Anxiety Support: Fairhaven church in Jenison is offering a free DBSA support group on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month. See this flyer for more information.
- Job opportunities with the State of Michigan: Please see this flyer to learn about open positions with the state of Michigan through their the virtual job fair.
- All Women Deserve Quality Healthcare: FREE health screenings for underinsured and uninsured women. Thursday, February 16, 2023 , MUST CALL FOR APPOINTMENT. See all that’s available and how to set an appointment here.
- Your Child’s Development: Did you know you can do the Ages and Stages Development Questionnaire (ASQ) when your infant is as young as 1 month old and up to 60 months? This tool is FREE on the Help Me Grow Ottawa page! Check on your child’s development and milestones throughout their growing up for school readiness.
- Become a Mentor: Are you someone who knows how to guide a conversation, connect with a stranger, strengthen skillsets…? Love Your Neighbor has a Life Skills Program that is the perfect place to hone in on your God-given talents. Become a mentor, see transformation, provide guidance to someone during their season of struggle. If you visualize yourself being a mentor, please reach out to Wendy at Wendyd@lovewm.org to learn more!
Car Seat Safety Check Events, 2023: All car seat inspections are free. A limited number of low-cost replacement car seats are available at all locations, for those who qualify. Children who need a replacement seat must be present with a parent or legal guardian. This flyer has all the date and locations.
- Community Emergency Resources: Jenison Public School Parent Liaison Office is glad to offer our community an easily accessible flier that gives information for emergency resources in our area.
- January Mobile Food Pantry Schedule
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP will distribute USDA commodities to households in Ottawa County in December. Distribution will take place at the these sites, dates and times.
- Love Your Neighbor Resale Shop – this community partner offers so many things to our community and one of them is their resale shop. Check out the weekly sales on their website!
- Free COVID tests – MDHHS is announcing its expanded partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation through Project Act to provide 180,000 COVID-19 tests to 36,000 households. All households in the state of Michigan can order their free COVID-19 tests through AccessCovidTests.org. Each household will receive one kit with five tests, typically within a week of ordering. Individuals without internet access can contact 211 for assistance ordering tests.
- Good and Cheap Cookbook: Ottawa Food has provided the Eat Well on $4/day Good and Clean cookbook by Leanna Brown for free! It can be accessed for online at https://books.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf. Ottawa County DHHS also has some of these available in their lobby for anyone interested.
- Food Distribution: Check out this Infographic from Ottawa County Community Action Agency explaining our food assistance programs and how to sign up.
- Meijer Now Accepting SNAP Benefits for Online: See all the details here!
- Double Up Food Bucks: Use your Bridge or Pandemic EBT Card at participating Farmers markets to get tokens to purchase SNAP eligible items. Get an equal amount in FREE Double Up Food Bucks (up to $20/day) for Michigan grown fruit and vegetables. See all the information here.
- Free or low cost Broadband Service: The ACP provides up to $30 per month, making many internet plans FREE. The program also provides a one-time discount of $100 for a laptop or tablet. Families that receive free and reduced school lunch; WIC or SNAP benefits; or are enrolled in other programs like Medicaid, Head Start, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) qualify. APPLY HERE for AFFORDABLECONNECTIVITY.GOV
- Hearing and Vision Screening: The Ottawa County Health Department is offering free vision and hearing screenings for children ages 3-5 years of age. Please see the flyer to sign up!
- Heat and Energy Program: TrueNorth Community Services’ emPower Heat and Energy Program assists people struggling to afford their utility and deliverable fuels in Michigan – Apply today!
- Energy Bill Assistance: The Salvation Army has a program that might be right for you. See this flyer for more information.
- FREE COLLEGE –Michigan residents 25 and older who don’t have a college degree can now apply for funding to cover community college tuition costs or skilled trades training scholarships. Click here for more information or to apply.
- Work with a coach through Michigan Works to improve your skills and find a job. All information is on this flyer.
- Looking to Build Resource and Learn New Skills?: Families in Hudsonville, Jenison, and Grandville can connect to community and resources at Love Your Neighbor. For families in Holland or Zeeland, Doors of Hope offers practical life skills (financial literacy, parenting, healthy relationships).
- Free and Low Cost Childcare: Michigan has recently expanded its eligibility for families to qualify for free and reduced quality childcare. See more information in the Child Care Handout – For Families or signup at MiBridges. Great Start to Quality helps parents find quality child care in West Michigan. Backed by the State of Michigan, their extensive database allows you to search for programs to fit your needs.
- Community Action House Food Club is now open! Please see this video for more information. They are located at: 739 Paw Paw Dr. Holland MI 49423 Food Club FAQs
- Resilience offers resources for helping to end domestic violence. Many services are being offered virtually. Check out the website to get connected or call the 24 Hour Help Line at 1-800-848-5991 for free and confidential support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
- The Fresh Guide to EBT answers all of your questions related to food stamps in Michigan. And best of all, the Fresh EBT app for I-phone and Android helps you keep track of all of your EBT information right on your phone.