Geaux-getter helps elders through project

Alexis Caillet
Alexis Caillet (center) and her Geaux Care group during a Halloween-themed event at Ashton Manor.

Created Geaux Care, set up holiday events

Alexis Caillet doesn’t like to do anything halfway.

The Hahnville High senior kept a full schedule and her collegiate resume strong by joining numerous clubs and teams at school, but it’s never been her style to compromise the quality of her work.

That was perhaps most evident through her senior project.

Caillet sought a way to put together a quality project that would mark her senior year and, hopefully, inspire others as well. From that desire Geaux Care was born, a community service in which students on campus would come together to help the community’s elderly population.

Caillet said she found inspiration for her project through her great aunt, who is a resident at Ashton Manor, an assisted living and memory care community in Luling.

“I love going over there to volunteer my time, so I felt like it was a great place to bring others to as well,” Caillet said. “They love when the younger generation comes to volunteer, so why not make a group of us to go and plan events. Once it was approved, we started holding meetings and having events.”

Alexis Caillet
Alexis Caillet

About 40 students joined the cause after Caillet pushed to get the word out. She made posters, posted on social media, requested an announcement be made throughout the school and started group messages to spread the word. Each student donated $10 to pay for event expenses, and leftover funds will be donated to Ashton Manor.

Geaux Care planned and held three events before senior projects were due, each held for a holiday. The first was Halloween, in which the students painted pumpkins with residents, made snacks in holiday theme – Reese’s Cups in the shape of little Halloween bats, for example — and volunteered to coordinate the residents’ traditional bingo game.

For Thanksgiving, it was an event in which residents wrote what they were thankful for on printed out leaves, which were then put together to make reefs that were displayed in the hallways. Students also donated items needed on a daily basis, brought candy and did crosswords with residents and raffled off gift baskets.

And for Christmas, they coordinated a gift-steal game after wrapping 35 individual gifts and served lunch.

“It was so great to see the impact it made,” Caillet said. “We got such great feedback for it all. Some of the residents don’t have family members who come and visit, so this brings them out of their shell and brings a smile to their face. We wanted to do a lot of interactive, hands-on things, and they seemed to really enjoy it.”

“I love going over there to volunteer my time, so I felt like it was a great place to bring others to as well.” – Alexis Caillet

Though the project was due — and fulfilled — by January, Caillet and Geaux Care members she recruited continued their efforts beyond that date, coordinating two additional events for Ashton Manor residents, one coinciding with Easter and another coming by late May.

“I knew from the beginning I wanted to keep going with it,” Caillet said. “It didn’t seem right to just stop after January. I wanted to do more than the bare minimum just for the project.”

Caillet plans to study business at Loyola-New Orleans, where she earned the first-ever cheerleading scholarship awarded by the school and it’s budding competitive cheer program. Caillet has been dancing and cheerleading since she was 8 and said she liked the smaller, more tight-knit campus at Loyola as opposed to the larger LSU, which was where she originally planned on attending.

After becoming involved in numerous clubs at Hahnville that included National Honor Society, Interact, Beta, Green Club, Student Council and Spanish Honor Society, she plans on taking the same philosophy with her to college.

“I think it’s important to put yourself out there and join everything you can. It allows you to make connections and to find things you really like to do. I feel like it was definitely worth it at Hahnville and I plan on joining lots of things at Loyola as well.”

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