Providers: Improvements to Great Start to Quality launch February 2023. Take action to prepare.

Northwest Resource Center

The Great Start to Quality Northwest Resource Center serves Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Manistee, Leelanau, Missaukee, and Wexford counties in northwest lower Michigan. The Resource Center helps providers find training and support for professional development and quality improvement, helps families find child care and preschool, and helps businesses develop ways to support employees’ access to child care.

The Resource Center team is embedded across the ten-county service area to provide local training and technical assistance, lead learning communities and provider study groups, and facilitate distribution of supplies and Lending Library items.  Training and technical assistance, learning communities, and study groups are available through virtual, in-person (if permitted) and hybrid platforms.  Most trainings are offered free of charge unless otherwise noted.

Resource Center Services Include:

  • Professional Development for all child care/preschool providers; most trainings are open to parents
  • A Lending Library that offers themed bins, curriculum, administrative books, child development materials, DVDs, gross motor items, assessment tools, and more, for use by providers and parents; there is no cost to borrow Lending Library items and suggestions for new items are welcomed
  • Support from Quality Improvement Specialists (QIS) to help programs navigate Great Start to Quality
  • On-site, individual consultation with a Quality Improvement Consultant (QIC) for home- and center-based programs working on a quality improvement plan
  • Professional learning communities for those who serve Infants and Toddlers
  • Great Start to Quality Orientation for license-exempt providers
  • Support for families searching for child care and preschool options

Northwest Resource Center Staff

Mary Manner, Co-Director 
mary@venturenorthfunding.org
Cell: 231-632-5510 
Kristin Witt, Co-Director
kwitt@unitedwaynwmi.org
Cell: 231-342-2980
Heather Bardenhagen, QIS/QIC IT Specialist  (Grand Traverse & Leelanau)
Child Care Center Administration trainer
hbardenhagen@unitedwaynwmi.org
Cell: 231-218-9108 
Terri Bauman, QIS (Benzie & Manistee)
tbauman@unitedwaynwmi.org
Cell: 231-233-4520 
Susan Chowen, QIC (Charlevoix, Emmet & Antrim)
Infant/Toddler Specialist
schowen@unitedwaynwmi.org
Cell: 231-675-2022
Rebecca Herbst, QIS/QIC (Wexford & Missaukee)
Infant/Toddler Specialist
rherbst@unitedwaynwmi.org
Cell: 906-450-3670
Jessica Kieng, QIS/Admin Support (Grand Traverse & Kalkaska)
jkieng@unitedwaynwmi.org
Cell: 909-292-6070 

Community Partners & Resources

Business connecting to local resources to support child care providers. Select this link to learn about supports in your area.

We work with many people and organizations in the community to provide you, your family and your program with the resources you need to help your family and children succeed.

Professional Development

A profile of a face with a gear for the brain. Select this link to take you to information on professional development opportunities.

There are professional development trainings available throughout the state. You can search for a training near you or about a specific subject through MiRegistry.

Contact us!

If you have additional questions or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact the Northwest Resource Center
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1209 S. Garfield Suite C
Traverse City, MI 49686

877-614-7328 (toll free)

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