A past Hana High & Elementary valedictorian, Mary Kaui Kala-Brook, will lead the Hana Branch of Maui Economic Opportunity to help her neighbors and offer her experiences on the Mainland to benefit her hometown.
Kala-Brook’s first day at the 57-year-old Maui County nonprofit was Monday, Dec. 5. She replaces long-time Branch Manager Jonnie Oliveira, who will move on to concentrate on her business, Ka Uakea Legacy. Oliveira’s last day is Friday, Dec. 9.
The MEO Hana Office is located at the Hana Community Center, 5101 Uakea Road, and is open 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Residents can access most MEO programs through the office, including rental and utility assistance, the once-a-month food distribution and transportation services, such as shopping shuttles between East Maui and Kahului and rides to doctor’s appointments.
Kala-Brook graduated from Hana High and ventured to Oahu and then the Mainland for post-secondary education. She received her bachelor’s in business administration from Stevens Henagar College in Utah.
Her resume includes positions in Utah as activity director/women councilor, working with persons with mental and physical disabilities, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as sales trainer/account manager with Clearlink and business/sales/catering manager with Olive Garden. She also managed shipping container drivers with CR England Logistics.
When her mother, educator Betty Lou Ching Kala, became ill and died last year, she decided to move back home. She took a job as a FedEx Express driver and did community work in Hana. Her husband, Elzie, was the Hana High head football coach, and Kala-Brook drove the team bus and organized football activities and fundraisers.
When the position at MEO opened up, Kala-Brook jumped at the opportunity because, “I know I wanted to work in Hana and help the people.” For the youth, she is hoping to instill the confidence that they can make it in the world outside of Hana because she did.
Kala-Brook replaces Oliveira, who joined MEO as a driver in August 2004. A Lahainaluna High border, she was promoted to Hana Branch Manager in July 2005. MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe, COO Gay Sibonga, Chief Financial Officer Debbie Lorenzo and Chief Human Resources Officer Cliff Caesar drove out to Hana on Monday, Dec. 5, for a lunch in Oliveira’s honor at the Hana Ranch Restaurant.
To reach Kala-Brook and the MEO Hana Office, call (808) 248-8282.
Mary Kaui Kala-Brook is the new Hana Branch Manager for Maui Economic Opportunity.
A lunch in honor of Jonnie Oliveira was held Monday, Dec. 5, at the Hana Ranch Restaurant. After 18 years with MEO, Oliveira will be moving on to run her business, Ka Uakea Legacy.
Jonnie Oliveira, MEO Hana Branch Manager (fourth from the right), poses with her Hana staff and MEO senior management at the Hana Ranch Restaurant on Monday, Dec. 5. Shown are (from left) COO Gay Sibonga, CEO Debbie Cabebe, Hana staffers Lani Kawaiaea and Karen Redo, Oliveira, Hana staffer Tuks Medeiros, Chief Human Resources Officer Cliff Caesar and Chief Financial Officer Debbie Lorenzo.
*About Maui Economic Opportunity*
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., is a nonprofit agency that’s part of the national Community Action Partnership network, whose goal is to help low income individuals and families and disenfranchised people help themselves and transform their lives. Chartered in 1965, MEO offers more than 40 programs that assist low income people, kupuna, youths, persons with disabilities, immigrants and other disenfranchised individuals countywide. MEO runs the Human Services specialized transportation program for health and dialysis appointments, after-school and youth sports activities and more; and the Maui Bus paratransit system; Head Start preschools and Kahi Kamali‘i Infant Care Center; as well as programs that offer kupuna socialization and information; rent, mortgage and utility assistance; Spanish interpretation and translation; entrepreneurial and financial classes and support, including microloans; inmate reintegration into the community after release; youth drinking, drug, smoking, bullying and suicide prevention; and employment training and placement. For more information about the entire array of programs, visit meoinc.org or call (808) 249-2990.