Annual Great Start Children First Summit celebrates community leadership, children

IRON MOUNTAIN – Approximately 150 community leaders, children and parents attended the Dickinson County Great Start Collaborative’s the Third Annual Children First Summit at Pine Grove Country Club.

The Dickinson-Iron Great Start Collaborative is getting on board Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Annual funding is more than half way secured and rollout events are now being planned for the beginning of 2014.

Imagination Library registration forms will be at convenient locations throughout Dickinson and Iron counties; i.e., schools, libraries, city halls, etc. When families enroll in the Imagination Library, children ages birth to five will be mailed an age-appropriate book once a month to their home.

Great Start Director Barb announced at the Children First Summit that “The Imagination Library is a gift to children that will speak volumes for the future of Dickinson and Iron County. Reading begins at birth and children love to read. Great Start’s slogan is Once A Reader, Always A Reader. The key to success in school and beyond is developing proficient reading skills. One of the most important things parents can do is to read together as a family.”

At the summit, the Dickinson-Iron Great Start Collaborative presented to David and Elsa Brule the Great Start Special Mentor Award for their outstanding contributions to early literacy and children in Dickinson County.

Presenter Ginnie Adams, library children’s specialist and a top leader for Great Start, talked about how the Brule family has provided the Dickinson County Library with many opportunities to sponsor national award winning early literacy initiatives for children throughout the past decade.

David and Elsa Brule also took the leadership role in remodeling and providing books for North Dickinson’s Library in Felch

Susan Broman, director of the Office of Great Start in Lansing, was the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Children First Summit

Broman graduated from Forest Park High School in Crystal Falls.

She believes strongly that early childhood is a movement that continue to be prioritized for funding and programming in Michigan.

Jonathan Ringel said that it is “Susan Broman’s goal to make Michigan the number one state for early childhood and for children to live in. Everyone leaving the Children First Summit understood that the top leaders in Michigan – Governor Snyder and Susan Broman – are leading the way to create change on how programs are funded to better meet the needs of parents and families. Great Start greatly appreciates all the collaboration and leadership it takes to help children and families.”