John Arnold, who helped Maui Economic Opportunity build its business development and immigrant farmworker programs, brought staff and board members from his Arizona-based nonprofit to Maui last week, where he met with local nonprofits. , businesses and government agencies.
Arnold is the CEO and founder of Portable Practical Educational Preparation, which provides education, behavioral health, human services, and employment and training programs for youth, adults and people with disabilities.
PPEP also has a micro-business and housing development company that serves small businesses in the United States and internationally.
PPEP has been a resource for MEOs for many years.
As MEO’s new executive director in 1984, Gladys Bessa said she met Arnold at the first national farmworker conference. MEO is building its transportation division, and Arnold, who runs the transportation system, provides PPEP expertise and experience.
“He helped me lead Hispanic workers to save pineapples in 1990,” she said. “He did all the work needed to recruit and retain them. He was an integral part of all of our Hispanic efforts and connections.”
MEO continues the National Farm Worker Employment Program in Hawaii, which supports farm workers and their families to improve their lives and the farms that employ them through training and subsidies.
Arnold was also instrumental in establishing MEO’s Business Development Center, which provides microloans to small businesses that don’t have access to regular financing, business planning and budgeting courses, and grants to farms and startups.
During the visit, Arnold and his entourage visited Malama Studios and GJ’s Fishing Tackle and Supply, two of BDC’s small loan companies; Central Europe; Maui County American Job Center; Maui Economic Development Bureau; Hale Mahaolu and J. Walter Cameron Center.
Arnold’s wife, Nayaa, presented diabetes to the Maui Planning and Coordinating Council kupuna team.
Other members of the Arnold team include board members Edgar Granillo and Walt Pearson and employees Pattie Mendoza and Tamera Conley.
“He was a true hero to many people around the world,” Baisa said. “John was a great humanitarian, very humble and willing to help others. He was a great leader who knew how to bring people together and make good things happen.”
About Maui Economic Opportunity
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that is part of the National Network of Community Action Partnerships whose goal is to help low-income individuals and families and the disenfranchised to help themselves and transform their lives. Chartered in 1965, MEO provides more than 40 programs that assist low-income individuals, kupuna, youth, disabled, immigrants and other disenfranchised individuals throughout the county. MEO provides human services professional transportation programs for health and dialysis appointments, after-school and youth sports, and more; and the Maui Bus Paratransit System; Enlightenment Kindergarten and Kahi Kamali’i Baby Care Center; and programs that provide kupuna socializing and information; rentals , mortgage and utility assistance; Spanish interpretation and translation; entrepreneurship and finance courses and support, including microloans; community reintegration after release; youth drinking, drug use, smoking, bullying and suicide prevention; and job training and placement . For more information on the entire family of programs, visit meoinc.org or call (808) 249-2990.