"Caring for a young adult with severe developmental disabilities is an unbelievable task. Imagine being responsible for a two-year old who is as strong and as fast as a grown man. He has no fear. Cole has little concept of danger and cannot communicate in a meaningful way. Protecting this young man is the 24/7 job that can never be neglected!
At an early age, it became obvious to us that this is where our Cole would eventually be. We knew he would need around-the-clock care long after we were gone, so it became our mission to find the nurturing home that would be there for him when we no longer could.
For 19 years, St. Mary's has helped us fulfill that mission.
Today, Cole lives in one of St. Mary's 25 group homes. His early experiences as a student at St. Mary's Applied Behavior Analysis Learning Center helped him learn valuable self-help skills and how to behave more appropriately. Now he enjoys his days as an active participant in St. Mary's Day Habilitation Program where young adults with developmental disabilities engage in quality of life activities that help them find joy and happiness.
Cole is our inspiration behind Rockin' on the Runway. He is our personal why but there are more than 200 others like Cole and all of us rely on St. Mary's to meet the needs of our children.
As a nonprofit organization, events like Rockin' on the Runway, help St. Mary's continue providing expert care to our most vulnerable neighbors. Learning and quality of life activities are enhanced thanks to your generosity and support."
Shannon & Vicki Elliott
Parents of St. Mary's resident Cole Elliott & founders of Rockin' On The Runway
St. Mary's mission is to provide every person the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential, intellectually, spiritually, mentally, physically, vocationally, and socially.
For 60 years St. Mary's has been a vital resource for many families throughout Louisiana. Founded in 1954, St. Mary's is home to nearly 200 children and young adults that are diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Since 1974 the campus has been centrally located in Alexandria on a 55-acre campus. St. Mary's operates under the auspices of the Diocese of Alexandria.
St. Mary's is dedicated to their mission by providing evidence-based, comprehensive, and individualized programs and services that promote personal growth, independence and social skills in an environment that is filled with loving care and respect.
Each resident is assessed by an Occupational Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Physical Therapist, and Registered Dietician who recommend individualized treatment plans based on their direct observations. In addition, St. Mary's has Board Certified Behavior Analysts licensed to practice in Louisiana on staff to develop programs to manage problem behavior and support skill acquisition.
You can learn more about St. Mary's at www.stmarysalexandria.org or
by calling us at 318.445.6443
Named in honor of the team of Lafayette families who contributed $250,000 towards its construction, Acadiana House is one of 15 new group homes constructed by St. Mary's Residential Training School. Approximately 40% of the residents at St. Mary's are from the Acadiana area.
"This project truly would not have been possible without friends like the families of Lafayette who rallied around our mission," said Christi Guillot, St. Mary's administrator. "Everyone who makes a gift, no matter how big or small, are giving a person with special needs a home."