We’re helping people, changing lives. You definitely can, too!
MEO is a nonprofit Community Action Agency committed to helping low income individuals and families become stable and achieve economic security. MEO’s services are constantly changing to meet the needs of children and families, the disabled and medically needy, and the elderly and other low-income individuals. MEO works with more than twenty-five community partners to help people and change lives. All MEO programs are tangible translations of the Promise of Community Action. Call us at 249-2990.
Press Release for Immediate Release
Debbie Cabebe, SPHR
CEO, Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.
(808) 249-2990, ext. 300
45th Annual Kupuna Aloha Luncheon to be held July 29, 2017
The 45th Annual Kupuna Aloha Luncheon will be held on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at the Grand Wailea Hotel in the Grand Ballroom. The event is hosted by the Maui County Planning & Coordinating Council, and sponsored by Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.
The keynote speaker will be Lance Rae from Walk Wise Hawaii. There will also be a number of special guests, including Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Governor David Ige, Senator Roz Baker, Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki, Representative Kyle Yamashita, Mayor Alan Arakawa, and several Maui County Council Members.
Entertainment will be provided by Pearl Rose and Kaina Kountry.
The event is sold out, with more than 500 attendees expected from the more than fifty senior clubs throughout Maui County.
Youth Services kids and staff showed up in force yesterday to make their feelings known on the 24 hour alcohol sale controversy.
An overflow crowd reacts favorably to the Maui County Liquor Control Commission's decision
Wednesday morning inside the Department of Liquor Control's meeting room in Wailuku.
15th Annual Molokai Senior Fair held at the Molokai Hale Mahaolu
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Quick Start Expo coming soon see here...
The 'One Stop Shop' for many child, family & community services
Our June Staff Meeting was held at the Transportation
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Congratulations to our Employee of the Month of May, Stacy Meyer!
MEO Board of Director's Installation
MEO is a Community Action Agency (CAA), one of more than 1,000 throughout the nation. Community Action equips low-income citizens with the tools and potential for becoming self-sufficient. The structure of program is unique – federal dollars are used locally to offer specialized programming in communities. Federal dollars help leverage state and county funds. It is a coordinated effort to address the root effects of poverty and to, ultimately, move families and individuals to self-sufficiency.
CAAs are required to have a tripartite board consisting of equal parts of local private sector, public sector, and low-income community representatives. This structure brings together community leaders from each of these groups to collaborate on developing responses to local needs. This allows for Maximum Feasible Participation in both the creation and administration of Community Action programs.
MEO's board members were installed by Maui Council Chair at the MEO Family Center on Friday, June 23.
President Ned Davis- Government sector- representing Senator Roz Baker
Vice President Peter Horovitz Private sector- representing the Maui County Bar Assn.
Secretary Adele Rugg Resident sector- representing the South Maui Seniors
Treasurer Cliff Alakai Government- representing Representing Senate House-Joe Sokui
In the last fiscal year, MEO assisted more than 18,000 individuals and families, touching more than 55,000 lives. MEO is helping people.changing lives throughout Maui County.
Mike White and Adele Rugg
Ned Davis and Mike White
Board officers- Adele, Ned, Peter and Arlene Gerbig standing in for Cliff Alakai
Maui County Council Chair Mike White performed the Board Installation, and Deborah Rice, Senior Philanthropic Services Officer for the Hawaii Community Foundation, gave a wonderful speech about giving and the current state of affairs in the philanthropy world. Thank you to all who attended and made this event a great one! Installation included a delicious lunch catered by Aria's Restaurant & Catering.
Congratulations to the students who finished the Financial Literacy class at Molokai Middle School.
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Youth Services and the Maui Nui Botanical Garden
MEO youth focus on community service this summer. Youth help Maui Nui Botanical Garden with potted varieties of Kalo (Taro), weeding and overall garden maintenance.
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Congratulations to our Employee of the Month Myriam Tuttle!
Charity Walk Maui
MEO's staff and volunteers walked in the Maui Charity Walk this past Saturday. Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, we raised over $21,000 for our various programs at MEO
Congratulations to our awesome staff members who graduated from University of Hawaii at Maui College yesterday!
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Danielle Evans: Teacher's Aide at UHMC
Taylor Smith: Assistant Teacher at Kihei
Alicia Hernandez-Rodas: Lead Teacher at KT
Grace Colcol: Assistant Teacher at Wailuku A
Molokai Charity Walk 2017
David Daly, Director of our Business Development Center, was given the 2017 SBA Award for "Small Business Advocate for Minorities" yesterday at the 2017 Annual Maui SBA Awards and Economic Update Luncheon held at the King Kamehameha Golf Course.
Administrative Professionals Day on April 26th with our awesome administrative staff. Thank you to the amazing staff for all your hard work throughout the year.
Congratulations to our Employee of the Month Mary Eusebio!
BDC Core Four Graduation - April 2017
MEO’s Business Development Program graduated sixteen (16) students from the Core Four Business Planning course on April 18, 2017.
David Daly / 243-4318
At the graduation, the soon-to-be entrepreneurs received one-on-one guidance from six (6) commercial bankers representing First Hawaiian Bank, Bank of Hawaii, and Central Pacific Bank. Also, Wayne Wong with the Small Business Development Center, Karen Arakawa from the Maui County Small Business Center, and Paul Felix from The Edge Consulting Group helped to review the students’ business plans and provided suggestions and guidance in launching a successful business. The graduating students received a Certificate of Achievement and a congratulatory lunch.
MEO BDC’s Core Four Business Planning is a 36-hour course on how to write a business plan while providing the information you need to know to start, operate and grow your business.
For those interested in learning more about the entrepreneurial training course you can call Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. at 249-2990. The next Core Four course will be held during the day. One hour introductory classes will be held at MEO’s Family Center on Tuesday April 25th from 9am to 10am, and at the Maui County Business Resource Center (Maui Mall) on Wednesday, April 26th from noon to 1pm. The six-week series begins on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 and continues from 9am to 12 noon two days a week through June 7th. All sessions will be held at MEO's Family Center at 99 Mahalani Street in Wailuku.
Registration is required for the six-week series and can be done at the introductory classes or any weekday 8am to 4pm at MEO’s Family Center. Funding from the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development helps to make the Core Four Business Planning Classes possible.
For Immediate Release:
Meet MEO's new Chief Operating Officer
Gay Sibonga was born and raised on the island of Maui and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Hawaii. She has over 30 years of successful business Operational Management experience focusing on achieving organizational mission and goals.
In her career, Gay held positions which ranged from Operations, Merchandise and Sales management, and most recently was Macy’s Hawaii District Multi-Store Operations Manager. In her capacity, she oversaw 4 stores on 3 islands within the Hawaiian region. Gay has been recognized as the #1 Operations Manager in the Southwest and Merchandise Team Manager of the Year, and has been the recipient of multiple “Magic Awards” which recognized top employees in the company.
Gay will assist the Chief Executive Officer with the day-to-day management and oversight of the agency and is responsible for program oversight and contract compliance.
MEO Youth join community efforts to bring awareness to the community asking for a repeal of the 24 hour sales of alcohol in Maui County through a sign waiving event on April 11th at the Queen Kaahumanu Center
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MEO Underage Drinking Prevention Program youth participants share their testimony with the Maui County Council at the Upcountry and Paia Budget Hearings
Kassen Yamashita, age 10,
youth volunteer from
Paia Elementary School
Betty-Lou Nakila, program participant,
12 year old 6th grade student from
Kalama Intermediate School
|Jhorden Shimabuku youth participant, 17 yr old Junior from KKHS||Shelby Gomes youth participant, 15 yr old sophomore from KKHS||Michael Gaffey youth participant, 15 yr old sophomore from KKHS|
New 2017 Senior Scoop
NFJP photo taken with Governor Ige at the Agricultural Fest on Saturday
For Immediate Release:
MEO Honors Cesar Chavez Award recipient Pastor Beth Schultz
Pastor Beth Schultz was named during Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.’s (MEO) annual Cesar Chavez Celebration. Pastor Schultz was recognized for her dedication and selfless service improving the lives of Hispanic Immigrants and farm workers. One nominator said, “Beth Schultz spends herself on others. Her time, resources, and even her home are investments she makes for others’ benefit rather than her own.”
Pastor Schultz joins a list of esteemed individuals committed to serving this community. Former recipients include Cesar and Kimberly Gaxiola, Silvia Naiberg, Carols David Hernandez, Oscar Martin Del Campos, Annette Dadez, Rudy Esquer and Kevin Block.
MEO is a community action agency founded in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act of 1694. Former MEO Executive and Council member Gladys Baisa was instrumental in creating the Enlace Hispano program to assist Hispanic immigrants who immigrated to Maui to work in the Pineapple and Sugarcane industry. CEO Debbie Cabebe said, “Gladys, along with Rudy Esquer, Cesar Gaxiola and others identified a need and took action to assist these individuals. This is what community action is all about.”
MEO assists more than more than 2,000 Hispanic individuals annually through its County of Maui Enlace Hispano program and another fifty individuals through the federal National Farmworkers Jobs program.
Cesar Chavez Day is celebrated across the County. He did not set out to be a national hero with streets and buildings named after him. He just wanted to see people treated fairly and without prejudice. He wanted to see the farm worker community paid fair wages and provided work safe conditions. He wanted their children to be safe from dangerous pesticides. As an activist with the United Farm Workers, he achieved these and other goals for thousands and touched the lives of millions with his non-violent campaigns and his steadfast yet gentle manner.
MEO continues to carry on the tradition of Cesar Chavez, helping people, help themselves and each other. MEO employees work to strengthen the community while helping people in need restore their hope, reach their potential, and enrich their lives. MEO serves more than 13,000 low income and disadvantaged individuals annually. In tribute to Mr. Chavez, MEO holds its annual celebration on his birthday.
Please see the attachment for information about Ms. Schultz (will open in new window)
For Immediate Release:
MEO welcomes its new CEO.
Debbie Cabebe joined MEO in January of 2000 as its Human Resources Director and was later promoted to Chief Human Resources Officer. She was responsible for creating and executing human resources strategies to support the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization.
In 2011, she was promoted to Chief Operating Officer responsible for assisting the Chief Executive Officer in achievement of the organization’s success, providing day-to-day management and support to the program directors, ensuring of quality service delivery and providing oversight and administering its Community Service Block Grant.
On March 30, 2017 she was promoted to Chief Executive Officer responsible for the managing the overall operations and resources, financial management, achievement of the organization’s mission, goals and objectives and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and the organization.
Debbie is the current President of the Maui Nonprofit Directors Association and is active with the Society for Human Resource Management where she has served as its secretary, legislative chair, vice president and president. She is a member of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and will represent MEO on the local Workforce Investment Board. Debbie is a nationally certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), a certificated Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) Trainer, and a trained mediator. She volunteers her time for numerous organizations and is involved in several ministries at Saint Theresa Church in Kihei.
Debbie is married to Raymond Cabebe, a Senior Land Planner at Chris Hart and Partners. The couple has three children and three grandchildren.
CESAR CHAVEZ'S DAY
Muchas gracias a todos los que asistieron a este evento tan importante y significativo para la comunidad latina.
El corazon de MEO/Enlace muy honrado e inspirado con la participacion del Senor Mark Grossman, Carly Bocanegra, Leonardo Sequeira y su grupo HIZ y, por supuesto, las vidas y testimonios de todos los homenajeados especialmente Kevin Block y la ganadora de este ano: Dona OLIVIA BETH SHULTZ elegida por voto de la gente.
Tantos corazones rendidos de pasion y amor sincero y total por los latinos nos dan renovadas fuerzas para renovar el grito Chavez: SI SE PUEDE!!!
Claro que se puede y UNIDOS PODEMOS MAS!
Many thanks to all those who attended this event is so important and meaningful for the Latino community.
The heart of meo / link very honoured and inspired with the participation of Mr Mark Grossman, Carly Bocanegra, Leonardo Sequeira and his group hiz and, of course, the lives and testimonies of all the celebrants especially Kevin block and the winner of this year: Dona Olivia Beth Shultz elected by vote of the people.
So many hearts tired of passion and sincere love and total for latinos give us renewed strength to renew the scream Chavez: if you can!!!
Of course I can and more united, we can!
MEO Youth enjoy Spring Break.
KylieLynn Takushi and Kaiyle Okada represent Maui at the state capital on March 20th for the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawaii's Kick Butts Day. Meanwhile youth on Maui enjoyed working in the Lo'i Kalo of the Kanoa 'Ohana in Keanae. On Tuesday the 21st, youth gave free car washes to those who pledged not to drink and drive as well as smoke/vape in cars with kids. On Wednesday the 22nd, the youth got in touch with their artistic side and painted the West Maui coastline. On Thursday youth enjoyed their reward from the previous months art contest at the Ulalena Show and a pizza dinner!
Congratulations to our Employee of the Month Jenna Carroll!
Celebration of Lyn McNeff's retirement from MEO after 23 amazing years of service. Thank you Lyn for all of your hard work on behalf of the community of Maui. We wish you the very best in your next chapter!
MEO Transportation and the Ecolane System
Ecolane Trainer, Charles Ragucci, reviewed how the Ecolane System works for both Paratransit and Human Services transportation
For Immediate Release:
Maui Electric is launching a new monthly television series, Let’s Talk Energy, on Akakū channel 55, on Tuesday, March 7, from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Maui Nonprofit Directors Association is scheduled to hold its monthly membership meeting on March 9, 2017 from 8am to 10am at the MEO Family Center in Wailuku. Interested nonprofit executives who are not currently members are welcome to sign up for membership at the meeting or join online at Maui Non-Profit.org
Featured speaker will be Paul Tonnessen, Executive Director of the Friends of the Children's Justice Center.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact association president Debbie Cabebe at 243-4342.
Congratulations to the BDC February Core Four Graduation Class
Congratulations to our newest Core Four business training program graduates! Check the Core Four schedule and application here...
Molokai Volunteer Luncheon where Hala Pa-kala, our Driver of the Year, was honored.
MEO Youth - World Whale Day and Tidal Trash Treasures Art Contest
MEO Youth win first and second place in the World Whale Day, Tidal Trash Treasures Art Contest! After numerous weeks of beach cleanups MEO's youth's entries wowed the crowd and judges winning them first with a large turtle with fins made of slippers left on the beach and for a little spunk a pair of reading glasses hung on its face. The turtle weighed nearly 30 lb in its completion. In second place was a large jelly fish with tentacles made of fishnets found on the north shore. The youth will be enjoying a pizza party as well as a free view'ing of Ulalena for their prize.
Congratulations to our Volunteers of the Year Kathy Louis and Louise Corpuz and to our Benefactors AXA Advisors. Mahalo to all of our volunteers and staff. We appreciate all of you.
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AmeriCorps Press Release for Immediate Release:
*Open Enrollment until all positions are filled for MEO’s Environmental Internship Program: Serve Full or Part-time, Earn a Living Allowance and Help Malama Aina!*
Want to help your community and the environment? ...and earn a bi-weekly living allowance? Do you like being outside? Then apply to be an AmeriCorps member with Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO). AmeriCorps is like the Peace Corps but in America rather than abroad. With MEO’s program, interns serve right here on Maui! Our program is focused on Environmental Stewardship. That means that our interns serve with conservation agencies to malama ‘aina by removing invasive species, planting native plants and/or erecting and repairing predatory fence lines.
MEO is seeking anyone 17 or older with a High School diploma or GED to serve as an AmeriCorps member (intern) with the DLNR Forestry, DLNR Natural Area Reserves, DLNR Trails, Maui Invasive Species Committee, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens or La’a Kea Farm for 2, 3 or 6 months. Positions available until they are filled, first come, first served. Most positions are 40 hours per week but we have part-time positions as well! AmeriCorps members will learn real-life conservation skills and will be provided with ongoing training, a modest living allowance and a monetary education award, upon successful completion of the program.
Serving with AmeriCorps is a great way to gain experience and skills, meet experts in the field and build your resume for a career in conservation!
Lacey Abercrombie, AmeriCorps Coordinator
Kalama School Reward Pizza Party for 6th grade winners of the Poster Fair.
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See the attached program for a listing of all recipients. Check out the gallery for some photos of the award recipients and recognition.
Congratulations to Employee of the Month Regina Saffery
Congratulations to MEO's Driver of the Year Davidette "Hala" Pa Kala of Molokai!
"Hala" has worked for MEO for 10 years. She embraces the MEO motto "Helping People. Changing Lives". She is know to be a team player and is always willing to help when necessary. She acted as a temporary driver supervisor when the supervisor was out on extended medical leave. She has a "Yes We Can" attitude.
Atlas Insurance will present her with a plaque on February 21 during the Molokai Volunteer Luncheon.
For Immediate Release:
*January 26, 2017 *
*Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. (MEO) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to Retire*
MEO CEO Lyn McNeff will retire at the end of March after more than 23 years of service. When announcing her retirement to executive staff, McNeff said, “I really wasn’t planning to retire at this time, but my husband has been dealing with some health challenges and I want to be there for him.”
Lyn McNeff joined MEO in 1993 as its Education/Disabilities Coordinator and was quickly promoted to director. Under her leadership several Head Start centers received accreditation and the program was recognized nationally as a program of excellence, the only program in Hawaii to attain this status. In 1998 Lyn received recognition as a Johnson and Johnson Fellows, graduating from the program that was held on the campus of UCLA. Lyn was also recruited to join the National Head Start Review team to act as an auditor for Head Start programs throughout the country. In 2005 she was promoted to Chief Programs Officer (CPO). During her time as CPO she implemented regular fiscal meetings including line-staff responsible for the day to day program activities. This change greatly impacted the programs’ ability to monitor progress and expend funds in a more efficient manner. She also successfully wrote and administrated several (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) ARRA grants bringing much needed jobs and services to Maui County.
In 2011 Lyn became the sixth Chief Executive since MEO was established in 1965. Lyn took the rein at a very difficult time. The federal government imposed “sequestration” on the federally funded programs. In order to minimize the impact to the clients and staff, she used attrition and took cuts to the administrative budget to keep direct service staff working. Lyn stabilized the Vineyard Street “BEST House” property leasing space to Aloha House, a drug treatment recovery program, and Aria’s Restaurant to ensure the building was used for its intended purpose of serving formally incarcerated and other disadvantaged individuals. She also secured temporary funding to upkeep the agency’s Ke Kahaua Farm in Waiheu while regular funding or a private partnership could be secured. During her tenure as CEO McNeff was successful in moving MEO Transportation from its old “temporary” Kahului site, where it was housed since 1969, to its permanent site in Puunene. McNeff acknowledges pervious MEO executives, state, county and federal legislators and the many private partners and donors who helped make this dream a reality.
This past year Lyn was selected to sit on the governor’s Community-Based Economic Advisory Council and was part of the mayor’s HC&S Taskforce.
Lyn will be succeeded by MEO Chief Operating Officer Debbie Cabebe.
Mahalo to Willette Cordeiro and the Lokelani Hale Senior Club for their generous donation today in appreciation of MEO Transportation.
For Immediate Release:
The Maui County Senior Planning and Coordinating Council (P&CC) installed its 2017 officers today at the MEO Family Center during the organization's annual meeting and holiday luncheon. MEO CEO Lyn McNeff was the installing officer.
+ President- Annie Gilbert- Hanalani Club
+ Vice President- Nora Kawasaki- Lanai Area Council
+ Secretary- Patricia Crawford- Hale Mahaolu Elima
+ Treasurer- Vivian Lindsey- Maui Wheelers Ohana
+ Immediate Past President- May Fujiwara- Lahaina Honolua Seniors
+ Outgoing Treasurer Napua Turley was recognized for her service.
The P&CC represents more than 55 senior citizen clubs with over 1,000 members. Senior groups interested in joining the P&CC may contact MEO Planning and Coordinating Council Coordinator Zilpah Kaimiola at 808-249-2970.
For Immediate Release:
Maui Nonprofit Directors Association
The Maui Nonprofit Directors Association gathered today its annual holiday breakfast and board installation at the MEO offices in Wailuku. Executive Assistant Mike Molina installed the officers on behalf of Mayor Alan Arakawa. Association members were asked to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the Food Bank.
2017 officers are Treasurer Sherri Dodson, CEO Habitat for Humanity, Secretary Richard Carr, Deputy Director Habitat for Humanity, Vice President Bevanne Bowers, Executive Director Maui Mediation Services, President Debbie Cabebe, Chief Operating Officer Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., and Immediate Past-President Paul Tonnessen, Executive Director Friends of the Children's Justice Center. Members at-large are Cesar Gaxiola, Executive Director J Walter Cameron Center, Caroline Killhour, Executive Director Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center, and Laks Abraham, Executive Director Maui United Way.
The Maui Nonprofit Directors Association represents more than 55 nonprofit organizations. It's purpose is to provide a venue for nonprofit executives to network, find support and opportunities for professional development.
Members meet the second Thursday of every month at the MEO Family Center in Wailuku. Networking begins at 8:30am and the meeting begins at 9:00am. For more information visit the MNPD website @ www.mauinonprofit.org or email email@example.com
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|(photo Left to Right - Paul, Caroline, Sherri, Bevanne, Richard, Debbie, Laks and Cesar)|
Lahaina Honolua Seniors Fun Day
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MEO is Helping People. Changing Lives thanks to a rental assistance grant from the County of Maui Department Housing and Human Concerns.
A 60 year old woman with mental challenges came to the MEO Molokai office for assistance. She was homeless for the past three years, sleeping on friend's couches, in her car, or camping on people's yards. Her only source of income is Social Security and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Working with the Molokai staff she was able to set up a budget that would allow her to pay for an electric and gas deposit and her first months rent. MEO's rental assistance program provided the needed funds to pay for the rental deposit. This allowed her to move into Public Housing. She will continue to meet with her case manager to help her maintain her budget and remain in her new rental She feels safe for the first time in many years and is very grateful to the County and MEO for the assistance. .
MEO provides the tools to help people and change lives with programs offered through five departments:
The BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER assists small business entrepreneurs with business plan training, credit assessment, and micro-loans for startup and expansion.
COMMUNITY SERVICES provides a wide array of services including rental subsidy, employment training and job placement, Enlace Hispano (Hispanic Link), weatherization and energy assistance, senior club coordination, prisoner reintegration, Hawaiian agricultural workshops, BEST Reintegration, Ke Kahua farm and more.
EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES provides quality infant care and early childhood education, offering toddlers a Head Start toward a better education and a better life.
The TRANSPORTATION Department provides rides to the doctor, to work, to school, to adult day care, for necessary shopping, and for other needs with both standard and wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles.
The YOUTH SERVICES Department provides youth with assistance to succeed in school and life through fun-filled opportunities to learn life skills, prepare for the workforce, and serve the community. The prevention of underage drinking, substance abuse, tobacco use, teenage pregnancy, and teenage suicide is consistently blended with youth program activities.
MEO is dedicated to providing tools for living, for earning, for self-reliance, and for community involvement. All programs are designed with the underlying belief that instead of giving people a fish, it is better to teach them how to fish for themselves.
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO), chartered on March 22, 1965 is a private non-profit Community Action Agency. The current annual operating budget is $17 million dollars. MEO provides outreach and information, and administers human service programs to low-income persons, the youth, elderly, immigrants, ex-offenders, persons with disabilities and medical needs, and other disadvantaged individuals and families on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. The agency was organized as a Community Action Agency under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to strengthen and coordinate efforts to eliminate poverty by providing opportunities in education, employment and training, transportation and other areas to help people, help themselves.