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Local partnership with “Bright by Text” text messaging supports at-home learning, access to community resources for families with young children

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — The Great Start Collaboratives of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties — collective impact efforts supported by United Way of Southwest Michigan — are highlighting their partnership with “Bright by Text” to encourage more local families with young children to access the free service’s early childhood education and development tools and local information about community resources.

Parents and caregivers in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties can receive important local information and expert-approved national resources thanks to this partnership when they sign up by texting SWMICHIGAN to 274448.

The service is always free and includes two to four text messages per week with links to tips, short videos and related resources.

This partnership helps ensure that children can continue learning and growing and that caregivers have the tools and resources they need to confidently navigate this unprecedented time, officials said.

Bright by Text taps national expert resources like PBS, Vroom, Sesame Street and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to deliver content for families. Texts include topics like brain development, learning activities, health and wellness and more.

Great Start Collaborative’s partnership with Bright by Text ensures that, in addition to the expert content, families also will get information about specific community resources serving families in the tri-county area, officials said. United Way of Southwest Michigan, Berrien RESA, Berrien County Health Department, Lewis Cass Intermediate School District, Van Buren Intermediate School District, Cass/Van Buren Health Department, and YMCA Greater Michiana are just a few of the local partners providing resources through this service.

“The beauty of Bright by Text is that the information being sent to you is relevant to your child or children’s age and your location. Connecting with local resources is more important than ever to keep families strong,” said Kristen Chism, director of Great Start Collaborative of Berrien County.

“These partnerships are vital for early education and caregiver support while schools, libraries, and childcare centers may be closed,” said Jean McSpadden, president and CEO of Bright by Text. “Because we use text messaging, all the content is easily accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. We know this method works — 95 percent of subscribers say it makes them a more confident caregiver.”

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