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 forth 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
Fun Things to do THIS WEEK
- John Ball Zoo has a couple great events this weekend!
- Living Lights: Sept 30, 2022 and continuing on select nights throughout the fall until Nov 13. IllumiZoo is a popular, family-friendly, and interactive nighttime event of illuminated adventures through the zoo. Enjoy the wonders of living creatures that light up the night and the dark waters. Tickets required, click here for all the information.
- KFB is hosting a Fall Fest: an open house style celebration with learning activity stations, fall treats, and family fun. KFB strives to end childhood hunger in West Michigan, and they invite you to be a part of the positive change. Saturday, 1:00 – 4:00 PM. FREE. See more here.
- Art Prize Activities – Sept 15-Oct 22. Check out all the fun things to do in this article from GR kids. Art Prize 2022: Best Entries, Art Prize Map, Photo Scavenger Hunt, Tips, Events, Interactive Art & more
- Teen After School Hangout is at the Georgetown Township Public Library from 3:30-5:00 every Monday. Sept 26 is Trivia and Snacks. Just show up to participate! 1525 Baldwin St, Jenison MI 49428
Upcoming Family Activities:
- It’s Fall Y’all: Fall is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors. There are so many fun fall activities in West Michigan. GRkids.com put together a great Fall Fun Finder so that your family can find fun things to do this fall. Additionally, as the colors on the tress change, West Michigan is a beautiful place to be. Find out when leaf colors will be at their peak and great places to see them here.
- Food Trucks After Dark: October 7, 4-10 PM. A true night market event at the Rivertown Mall. 15-20 Food Trucks, 30-40 local craft and artisan vendors, photo/selfie stations, tents with seating to enjoy your food, string lighting throughout the event, fun festive color lights around the event! Find the event on Facebook!
- Holland Fall Fest: October 7-8. This two-day event features pumpkin carving by some of the nation’s best professional pumpkin carvers, pumpkin painting, street performers, community tulip planting at Window on the Waterfront, and an artisan vendor market at Windmill Island Gardens! Visit the website at www.hollandfallfest.com for the complete schedule and all the details you need to know!
- Urban Hay Day 2022: Saturday, October 15, 2022 (11am-3pm), a day filled with cider, donuts, hayrides, pony rides, and so much more. Details are here.
- Zoo Goes Boo: October 21-23 and 28-30, 10AM – 5PM. John Ball Zoo will again transform into the ultimate Halloween destination with decorations, costumes, candy, and, of course, the Zoo’s amazing animals. Tradition returns this year with spooky treat stations ready for trick-or-treating located throughout the Zoo. Tickets and all information is now available on the John Ball Zoo website.
- Treats & Trails: The Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland invites families for a safe and fun walk along the trails of the Outdoor Discovery Center. There will be wildlife encounters, games and candy. Don’t miss seeing the live birds of prey or roasting marshmallows. The North American Wildlife Exhibit in the visitors center will be also be open. Tickets are $10 per family and available here.
- 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.
Brown Bag: September is Brown Bag Decorating Month at Kids Food Basket. They need kids’ help to decorate 200,000 brown paper bags by September 30. This is the perfect project to introduce volunteerism to your kids. Learn more about how your family can bring joy to a child who will benefit from a meal for nourishment through Kids Food Basket.
- One Great Exhibit (ah ah ah): The Jim Henson exhibit opens at the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Oct. 1 and runs through Jan 14, 2023.
“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 fall. Be sure to check the calendar for dates and parks. Register early as spots do fill up.
- FREE Suicide Prevention Training for Jenison Junior High Caregivers: You are invited to learn about the importance of suicide prevention through the QPR program. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) is designed to increase comfort around the subject of suicide by equipping everyone with three steps to follow when concerned about someone’s emotional welfare. Like CPR, QPR is a life saving measure that everyone can learn. Join us for one hour that can potentially save a life. October 25, 2022, 7:00-8:00 PM, Jenison Junior High Library. (Limited to 30 attendees) Register Here: https://www.
signupgenius.com/go/ 10C0E45A4AD22A4FDC52- qprtraining
- 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.
- 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, Oct-Dec. This fun and informative class will cover topics including discipline,
communication, child development, and problem-solving.
- Just for Dads – Thursday evenings, Nov-Feb. The virtual group will follow the 24/7 DADS curriculum created by the National Fatherhood Initiative and will explore issues of fatherhood including: anger management, discipline, nurturing, and role modeling.
- Engaging Kids in Discipline – Monday evenings, Nov-Dec. You may attend all or just one of the sessions in the 5-week series on understanding discipline and how we engage children in learning. This series uses conscious discipline to develop helpful skills in building resilient kids.
- Conscious Discipline Skills Series – 3rd Tuesday evenings, Oct-April. This series has stand-alone lessons where discussion will be on the different skills presented in the conscious discipline curriculum. Join for as many as you’d like!
- Nurturing Parenting Program -Tuesday evenings, Oct-Dec. This fun and informative class will cover topics including discipline,
- 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
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.
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.
- 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.
September Mobile Food Panty Schedule
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP will distribute USDA commodities to households in Ottawa County in September. Distribution will take place at the these sites, dates and times.
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.
- 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.