July 19, 2023


Launch Party scheduled for July 27 at Goodwill-North Holland store

Holland, MI — Goodwill Industries of West Michigan (GIWM) is partnering with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) to create learning opportunities for young children in several Goodwill retail store locations. 

Launched in 2014, “Talking is Teaching” is a national public awareness and action campaign designed to share information with families about their critical role in their child’s early brain and language development. 

This innovative project helps families integrate early literacy into everyday activities and is currently unique to West Michigan. The initiative began in the fall of 2021 through a partnership between the Great Start Collaborative of Muskegon Area ISD, Goodwill of West Michigan and the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation Too Small to Fail. 

“Ottawa Area ISD is excited to work with Goodwill Industries of West Michigan to expand this program and help shoppers learn to use everyday moments as teaching moments”, OAISD Early Childhood Department Great Start Collaborative Coordinator-Ottawa, Heather Eizenga, said. “Teaching parents to ‘Talk While You Shop,’ encourages language growth and interaction and helps build a foundation for children to become strong readers.”

Bi-lingual “learning adventure cards” lead children on a scavenger hunt throughout participating stores. Parents can engage with their children while they shop by interacting with the campaign’s colorful floor decals, rack signs, posters, and wall graphics. Visiting children and parents are also offered a free book to take home. “Talking is Teaching” resources and grant money allowed for the materials and book giveaways. 

“Goodwill wholeheartedly supports the Talking is Teaching initiative in our participating retail stores throughout West Michigan,” President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Jeanette Hoyer, said. “We are excited to expand these learning adventure opportunities into our Ottawa County stores thanks to our new partnership with OAISD.” 

To celebrate, a Launch Party event is planned for Wednesday, July 27 from 9:45 to 11:00 AM at the Goodwill-North Holland store located at 393 E. Lakewood Blvd. The event will feature a brief ceremony at 9:45 AM, refreshments, tours, giveaways, and literacy resource information booths. The event is free and open to the public. 

West Michigan Goodwill stores participating in the Talking is Teaching initiative through a partnership with the Muskegon Area ISD include:

  • Allendale – 5269 Lake Michigan Dr.
  • Coopersville – 1141 W. Randall St.
  • North Muskegon – 1169 Whitehall Rd.
  • Muskegon – 1501 E. Apple Ave.
  • Muskegon – 1934 E. Sherman Blvd.
  • Roosevelt Park – 950 W. Norton Ave.
  • Whitehall – 3353 Underwood Dr.

Newaygo County Great Start through Newaygo County RESA recently joined the partnership and will work with Goodwill of West MI to add two Newaygo County Goodwill stores this fall.

This project was funded by the Preschool Development Grant B-5 awarded by the Michigan Department of Education Office of Great Start. 

For more information, contact Michelle Ready at 616.738-8940 x4093, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan Marketing and Communications Director April Jendrasiak 231.722-7871 x 1026, or Allison Keessen, Coordinator, Great Start Collaborative 231-740-3461

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District
Ottawa Area ISD works collaboratively with schools and communities to meet the educational needs of students of all ages in the Ottawa area. By pooling resources and providing services regionally, Ottawa Area ISD provides important programs and services to local K‐12 school districts, charter, parochial and private schools and adults in the most cost‐effective ways possible. To learn more about Ottawa Area ISD visit

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is a 501 c3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to changing lives through the power of work. Work is a powerful force and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan believes that work plays a critical role for people to achieve security, independence, self-worth, pride and respect. To learn more about Goodwill Industries of West Michigan visit:

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District

The MAISD is one of Michigan’s 56 regional education service agencies. The MAISD serves the public and charter schools of Muskegon and parts of Oceana, Ottawa, and Newaygo counties. In partnership with local districts, the MAISD operates the federally-funded Muskegon/Oceana Head Start and Early Head Start and the state-funded Great Start Readiness preschool program. In addition, the MAISD operates the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center, Wesley School, Transition at Craig Campus, Lakeshore Learning Center, Muskegon Area Promise, and Muskegon Opportunity. 

The MAISD maximizes resources for preschool through 12th-grade school districts by providing shared operational, administrative, and technology-related services; training teachers and support staff in the latest research-based methods and best practices; piloting innovative programs; and coordinating special education and other specialized student services across the region. Their vision is to be the premier source for quality educational programming, service, and leadership. 

To learn more visit