Sen. Mazie Hirono visits MEO Head Start Lahaina site

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February 23, 2024

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono talked with preschoolers working on their salt painting project during a visit to Maui Economic Opportunity’s Head Start Lahaina preschool site Wednesday morning.

She visited the preschool next to Princess Nahienaena Elementary School for about a half-hour as part of her tour of west side sites. The Lahaina Head Start site, the only preschool to survive the fires, reopened Feb. 1 after cleanup and renovations.

She met with a child, who explained that he was living in a hotel. His family, like most of the children enrolled so far, were displaced by the fires and residing in hotels.

In addition to interacting with the children, Hirono spoke with MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe and Early Childhood Services Director Debbi Amaral about staffing challenges and other issues and expressed her support for Head Start.

MEO has openings for lead teachers, teacher aides and case managers at Maui classrooms in Kahului, Wailuku, Haiku and Makawao. For more information, call (808) 243-4310, email [email protected] or go to www.meoinc.org (and click on the “Careers” tab) to fill out an application.

Currently, Head Start Lahaina has openings for 3 and 4 year olds and is licensed for 20 children. Many pre-wildfire students and their families relocated to other parts of the island – and some to other Head Start sites – as well as off-island.

The federally funded program provides comprehensive early childhood education services to families that meet federal poverty income guidelines and selection criteria. Preference is given to foster and homeless children.

For more information, visit the MEO Head Start office, 99 Mahalani St., Wailuku, from 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, except on federal and state holidays, or call (808) 249-2988.

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