Local program hosts spring learning celebration at Brookside Learning Center

Published 10:12 am Monday, March 25, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — The Lewis Cass Intermediate School District’s Brookside Learning Center was alive with spring fever this weekend as both parents and local students attended an annual learning event.

Saturday morning, the Cass County Great Start Parent Coalition hosted its second annual spring fling at the Brookside Learning Center in Cassopolis. The event, which was free and open to the public, featured games, visits from the Miss Cassopolis courts of honor, pictures with an Easter bunny, crafts and music. The event partnered with Lewis Cass ISD and the Tri-County Head Start program.

“This an opportunity and event for parents, families, caregivers and children to come together for some great developmental activities and to meet with some of the service providers in the neighborhood,” said Great Start Collaborative Director Margie Hojara-Hadsell. “This is kind of a way to get the word out about what we do and the services we provide while celebrating spring and having some fun.”

The Cass County Great Start Collaborative is a partnership of community leaders, business owners, charitable and faith-based organizations, health and human service agencies, educators and parents that works together to provide a network of resources for students in Cass County and to promote early childhood literacy.

“We support kids ages 0 to 8 so that they are on track for reading by third grade,” said Great Start Parent Coalition Liaison Stephanie Knepple.

For supporters of the Great Start Collaborative, the spring fling is a positive way to provide a fun learning event for Cass County residents that spreads the message of the program.

“This is a great way for us to partner with parents and the community,” said Tiara Williams, a member of the Great Start Parent Coalition. “It kind of gets everything in one place so that we can help out parents in our communities.”

Knepple agreed.

“It helps us to come together as one, and have some fun with the kids,” she said. “We think this is a great way to get our name out there and have people learn more about us.”

Though attendance numbers were down from last year’s event, both Knepple and Williams said they were heartened to see nearly 200 people attend Saturday’s Spring Fling. Going into the future, the two said that they hope to see increased awareness about Great Start and what it can do for area children.

“This is a great way for us to give back and help kids learn more about literacy in a fun way,” Knepple said. “We want people to know about what we do because we want to help set up kids for success.”

For more information about the Great Start Parent Coalition, visit greatstartcass.org.