Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones

Empowering young children to make healthy choices.

HALO’s History

In 1991, the HALO program originated with Heartland Family Service’s substance abuse program director, who observed a child in the child care center talk about the “bottle with the worm in it” that his father was drinking from the night before.

One of Heartland Family Service’s substance abuse program staff was a true pioneer in the early prevention field and a certified chemical dependency counselor with a master’s degree in early childhood development. Also with a research background in the development of attitudes in young children, this staff member conducted further research and she developed the pilot HALO program that was tested in the Heartland Family Service child care centers.

A team of early childhood educators and certified addictions counselors at Heartland Family Service helped to further develop the program into a child-friendly curriculum – Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones (HALO). The team shifted the focus from solely drug prevention to encompass teaching healthy life choices. Fun, active exercises to instill a desire for “healthy vs. unhealthy” choices deep into the consciousness of the young children were developed with goals to provide a program for children 3-6 years old that:
 Empowers young children to make healthy choices for their future, and
 Teaches and reinforces healthy habits which will prevent the onset of future substance abuse.

After testing, the HALO program was launched at 35 Head Start centers in the metro Omaha, NE area. HALO grew by adding about 20 new sites each year and over 8,250 children have been taught the HALO curriculum.

To date, over 330 centers and home childcare providers have been trained the HALO program, over 8,250 children have been taught the HALO curriculum and there are over 153 HALO Sites in the Omaha area. Click here to find learn how to become or to find a HALO SITE.