MEO Head Start

Head Start Maui Overview:

MEO Head Start serves children and families on Maui and Molokai. Our keiki are from families considered eligible based on 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.

Maui Head Start Recruitment Flyer

Maui Head Start Spanish Recruitment Flyer

Molokai Head Start Recruitment Flyer

Facebook Posts

1 month ago

MEO Head Start
*MEO Head Start’s Ashley Caris named Employee of the Month*Maui Economic Opportunity’s Employee of the Month Ashley Caris offered insight and empathy for workers and clients as Head Start preschool made decisions amid the uncertainties of the pandemic. “This empathy has been useful in many instances, such as the logistics of how to incorporate all the changes due to COVID,” said Dee Wilson, who nominated Caris for the award.No one really knew how the situation would play out or for how long but the program had to act quickly. “There was definitely a coordinated effort ... but my nominee really needed to jump in feet first,” Dee said.The pandemic initially forced the preschool program, offered at no cost to low income families on Maui and Moloka‘i, to close and then move to distance learning. Head Start reopened earlier this month for the new school year with in-person instruction.Ashley is the Head Start Health Manager and has been with MEO for nine years. She also won the award in 2016.For being named Employee of the Month for June, Ashley earned a $150 check and an extra vacation day. Dee received $50 as the nominator. ... See MoreSee Less
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3 months ago

MEO Head Start
**Congratulations** 👏*Head Start’s Laurie Saito named MEO Employee of the Month*Teacher Aide Laurie Saito, who endeavors to do what’s best for Head Start families, has been named Maui Economic Opportunity Employee of the Month.Amid the pandemic, Laurie has proven to be a team player with the flexibility and creativity to adapt to the changing rules and protocols.“No matter how hectic things get with the early morning texts or calls ‘please go . . .,’ ‘Never mind, change of plans,’ this individual will roll with it and still be able to smile and laugh the craziness off,” said Dee Wilson, Head Start administrative assistant, who nominated Laurie.Hired in January 2020, Laurie has received several Excellent Client Service recognitions.“This individual has had to work with different teams, sometimes going from team to team in a single day!” said Dee. “We know this can be tiring, but it is done with laughter, fun and a good heart!”For being named Employee of the Month for April, Laurie earned a $150 check and an extra vacation day. Dee received $50 as the nominator.Laurie was recognized at the May general staff meeting.With the new Head Start year approaching in August, MEO is looking for staff, especially lead teachers. Head Start provides preschool at no cost to low income families. For information about joining the Head Start team, call (808) 243-4378. ... See MoreSee Less
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3 months ago

MEO Head Start
*MEO Kahi Kamali‘i infant toddler center receives $15,000 donation from Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort trust*Maui Economic Opportunity’s Kahi Kamali‘i infant toddler center is the beneficiary of a $15,000 grant from the Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Charitable Trust, the second year in a row the trust has made a donation to the Central Maui facility.The Charitable Trust selected Kahi Kamali‘i for the donation “in recognition of its wonderful work providing quality early childhood services to the people of Maui,” said the Charitable Trust’s Executive Director Melissa Pavlicek.The mission of the Charitable Trust is to communicate and demonstrate Ho‘okipa, generous hospitality, and Malama, deep care, for the community by supporting charitable needs. The Charitable Trust made a donation of $10,000 to Kahi Kamali‘i in November 2021.“We understand the incredible extra challenges confronted by nonprofit organizations during the pandemic. We applaud the continued good work of your organization,” Pavlicek said.Kahi Kamali‘i provides services for children ages 1 to 3. During the pandemic, Kahi Kamali‘i remained open and cared for children of first responders, medical professionals and essential workers.“Affordable quality child care has come up as top priority in public surveys as we develop our three-year Community Needs Assessment,” said Debbie Cabebe, CEO of MEO. “The need for child care has increased since pandemic impacts have waned, but families face costs of $1,000 a month or more with a tightened market of providers.“We thank the Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Charitable Trust for providing a helping hand to MEO and families in need of child care for their toddlers and infants.”Cabebe said that the funds from the Trust are vital for the continued operation of the facility amid rising costs due to inflation and supply chain and other issues.The infant toddler center opened in 2003 as a partnership with the J. Walter Cameron Center, where the facility is located, to address the need for center-based quality care for children under 3 years old. The goal is to allow families to work, attend school or participate in employment training.The program is licensed by the state Department of Human Services for 15 children and is currently at capacity. Licensing requirements at Kahi Kamali‘i include staffing of one lead caregiver and two other caregivers – to maintain a ratio of 1 adult to 5 children.The County of Maui provides scholarships to keep costs affordable for families who are income eligible, with teen parents or with children receiving early intervention support through Imua Family Services.Kahi Kamali‘i is open year round from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Fridays. For more information about Kahi Kamali‘i Infant/Toddler Center, call (808) 249-2988. ... See MoreSee Less
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3 months ago

MEO Head Start
* Back to School * ... See MoreSee Less
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3 months ago

MEO Head Start
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