MEO Head Start
Head Start Maui Overview:
MEO Head Start serves 254 children in 13 centers located on Maui and Molokai. Our keiki are from families considered eligible via categorical need: homeless, foster child, or families on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or SSI. All other families are eligible by meeting poverty income guidelines as established by the federal income table. Head Start also enrolls and serves children with special needs.
About Us and What We Do:
MEO Head Start was founded on Maui in 1965 as a part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. MEO Head Start supports children and families, providing a quality, comprehensive service that impact early development and school readiness success. 100% of our children are in the USDA subsidized breakfast and lunch program.
Families residing on Maui with young children experience similar challenges faced by impoverished communities all over the United States. Stressors include: high unemployment, limited access to proper health-care, lack of mental health services: substance abuse; domestic violence; and the dwindling resources needed to address all these inequities. In combination or separately, these factors create an unhealthy start for a young child.
In addressing these challenges, recent studies have shown that the greatest impediment to early childhood learning is poverty. Specifically, the “stress” caused by poverty.
In the Head Start “whole family” approach, our Family Case Managers work directly with Parents to identify strengths and goals. Once identified, the Case Managers work with the parent to identify community resources to support families to obtain access to the services and help they need.
Complementing these services is the foundation of learning in the MEO Head Start classrooms. Walk into one of our 13 centers across Maui County and you will be amazed at the interactions, experiences, and learning happening each day. Research show that positive early experiences can mitigate risk factors in young children. Head Start provides a quality environment with caring staff, promoting necessary skills for children to be successful in school and in life.
You will also find a culturally diverse staff within MEO Head Start that reflects our ethnic blending in Maui County, many of whom are also former parents of Head Start students. What is truly striking about this teaching staff is how much “aloha” these amazing mentors and guides have for the children they teach. We are an “Ohana”, and believe in the impact of early intervention through quality teaching and learning.