“helping people... changing lives

We’re helping people, changing lives. You definitely can, too!

MEO’s services are constantly changing to meet the needs of children and families, the medically needy, 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. There are always at least a few MEO programs in need of volunteers, cash donations or inkind gifts. You can help. MEO does what poverty demands, and you are welcome to join us in whatever way you can. Call us at 249-2990.

BDC Core Four Graduation - April 2017

Congratulations to our newest Core 4 graduating class!

click picture to view photo album

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

Photo gallery here  (then click to enlarge)

Coalition Gathers to Oppose 24-Hour Alcohol Sales on Maui  - see here...

Protesters seek to repeal Maui's new 24-hour alcohol sales law  - see here...

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

MEO Employment Opportunities here 

New 2017 Senior Scoop

Just click and read...

NFJP photo taken with Governor Ige at the Agricultural Fest on Saturday

click to enlarge photo

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.


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!

Click pic to view photo album then photos to expand

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!

Click pic below to view album then photos to expand...

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!

Click pic below to view album then the photos to expand...

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.

Maui Electric's Kau'i Awai-Dickson and Danielle Canfield-Jones talks with Maui Economic Opportunity's Gerry Lum on available low-income energy assistance programs.

The new monthly television series News Release here...

Press Release:

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 mauinonprofit@gmail.com 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...

click pic to view photos

Molokai Volunteer Luncheon where Hala Pa-kala, our Driver of the Year, was honored.

click pic to view photo gallery

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.

click pic to view photo gallery

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.

click pics to enlarge photos

AmeriCorps Press Release for Immediate Release:

February 2017
*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
(808) 243-4324

MEO AmeriCorps - website

MEO AmeriCorps - Facebook

Press Release for Immediate Release:

Be Strategic Press release for distribution - click here...

Press Release for Immediate Release:

Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. celebrates Project Graduation 2017

MEO has announced $47,741 in Maui County funding has been made available for Project Graduation Programs for 2017 high school graduating classes in an effort to promote alcohol and drug free graduation celebrations. The purpose is to subsidize low-income families so their senior can participate.

  • All High Schools in Maui County are eligible to apply.
  • No school may receive more than $5,300 and of 50% of each school’s grant shall subsidize graduates participation based on economic need.

Narrative Proposal on the grant application available click here.

Project Graduation grant applications are available click here.

Deadline for the receipt of applications is March 10, 2017 and notifications of awards will be made by March 27, 2017.
Applications must be emailed to Lyn McNeff at lyn.mcneff@meoinc.org

For information e-mail Lyn or call her at 249-2990.

Kalama School Reward Pizza Party for 6th grade winners of the Poster Fair.

click pics to view photo gallery...

See the attached program for a listing of all recipients. Check out the gallery for some photos of the award recipients and recognition.

click pics to view photo gallery...

click pics to view photo gallery...

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.

Youth Services two night camp at the VFW Hall in Kihei - click to see pics...

Youth Services Programs enjoy a two night camp at the VFW Hall in Kihei. Leaders enjoyed a training on the first night where they learned new skills, practiced team building, effective communicating and planned the agenda for the the next two days of camp where they were joined by other youth participants and their leadership skills were put to practice. Activities include- Pizza making, creating baked goodies and positive affirmation treat bags to be passed out to the homeless, group activities, swimming, a talent show and so much more. Youth Services staff are so proud of all of the leaders for a very successful camp! click pics to enlarge..

Congratulations to our Employee of the Month Mark Hammer!​​​

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.

Photo- left to right- front- Annie, Nora, Vivian and Patricia - back- Lyn, Zilpah, May and Napua

Na Kupuna Dinner Presented by the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association More than 500 Kupuna were treated to a holiday feast. Kupuna in attendance are those who are alone and do not have family members to share the holidays with. MEO CEO Lyn McNeff, Community Services Director Gerry Lum and MEO Senior Planning and Coordinating Council Coordinator Zilpah Kaimiola were on hand to assist and support our kupuna.

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 mauinonprofit@gmail.com

Click to enlarge pic...
(photo Left to Right - Paul, Caroline, Sherri, Bevanne, Richard, Debbie, Laks and Cesar)

MEO Christmas - Lanai

Some of the Christmas pictures we took at our MEO Seniors Christmas Party held on Friday evening at Hale Kupuna. We had over 90 seniors and guest that attended the event.

Click pics to view photo album...

Congratulations to our Employee of the Month Alicia Hernandez-Rodas!​


The MEO Public Transportation Rider Education Forum online - click here

Lahaina Honolua Seniors Fun Day

Click pics below to view photo album...

 Senior Fair Photos..click pic below..

Senior Fair photos-outside..click pic below..

Congratulations to our Employee of the Month Waco Muse!

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 attended the Community Service Block Grant Governance Conference sponsored and hosted by the State of Hawaii, DLIR, Office of Community Services. (In photos, Hawaii Community Action Partnership directors with Governor Ige and Community Action Partnership and National Association for State Community Services Programs trainers.)

Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO installs new Board of Directors)

MEO installed its new board of directors at an installation held at the Kahili Restaurant this afternoon. The Keynote Speaker, was Councilmember, Budget and Finance Chair Riki Hokama. Councilmember Hokama stated that the board members have a fiduciary responsibility to see that the agency has adequate funding for its programs. He said, "Everyone of you represent a section of the community, it is your responsibility to reach out to that sector to educate them and seek support...Nonprofits can no longer rely solely on government funding... they must think outside of the box"

Dr. Lori Teragawachi installed the new officers, President, Kevin Yoshida, Vice President, Ned Davis, Treasures Cliff Alakai and Secretary Adele Rugg.

CEO Lyn McNeff offered a special mahalo to outgoing president Kai Pelayo. McNeff said, "MEO appreciates Kai's leadership during the past two years.
During his term he assisted with the completion of the transportation center, and bus wash and emergency generator funds were secured."

(Photo- Cliff Alakai, Riki Hokama, Ned Davis, Adele Rugg, Kevin Yoshida, Lori Teragawachi, and CEO Lyn McNeff)

More of the Actions found here...

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.

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Who we are

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...


99 Mahalani St, Wailuku HI 96793

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