Cleco awards Hope for Opelousas $60,000


PINEVILLE, La., Dec. 20, 2017 – Today, Cleco awarded Hope for Opelousas a $60,000 grant to continue its mission of serving students in first through 12th grades through tutoring programs, enrichment opportunities, employment, mentoring and community service projects. 

“Hope for Opelousas is entering its ninth year of service in the city of Opelousas, and Cleco has been a supporter since the very beginning,” said Bill Fontenot, interim CEO of Cleco Power.  “We understand that an investment in our children is an investment in not only their future but also in our future workforce.”

“As Hope for Opelousas plans for the future, we look at not only the sustainability of our programs, but enriching the services we provide,” said Loren Carriere, Hope for Opelousas executive director.  “With Cleco funds, we are excited to grow our programming by 25 students in 2018. With this growth we will now serve 100 students and their families with our wrap around programming.”

Cleco has a long history of philanthropic involvement across its 24-parish service territory.  In 2017, Cleco contributed nearly $1 million to non-profit organizations across the state. 

“We are proud to support the life changing work these agencies are doing to benefit our customers and communities,” said Fontenot.

Cleco is a regional energy company that conducts substantially all of its business operation through its primary subsidiary, Cleco Power. Cleco Power is a regulated electric utility company that owns nine generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 3,310 MWs and serves approximately 288,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi.  For more information about Cleco, visit or follow us on Facebook at

Media Contact:

Jennifer Cahill



President Nykara from Agent of Hope to who knows where!


This summer, Agent of Hope Nykara and a small group of Hope for Opelousas High Schoolers attended the Louisiana Youth Seminar, a high school leadership program pulling over 300 leaders from throughout the state and the US.  Nykara worked throughout the week to attain the honor of LYS President. This included speeches, strategy for a political party caucus and a general election of over 300 of her peers.  

Nykara attended LYS the previous year and set a goal to become LYS President in her final year as a student in the program.  She credited her experience as an HFO Agent of Hope as part of her final speech.  During the race she gave a speech sharing with her political party an experience with an HFO student that especially taught her that "Love Changes Everything" 

"[Being an Agent of Hope] taught me that if I can touch the hearts of one person, how many more hearts can I change? I can't promise you I can immediately make everything better... I can promise you hope is strong."  - NYKARA'S SPEECH ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE WITH ONE OF OUR KIDS
Uploaded by Andree Gonsoulin on 2017-09-19.


Read about what Nykara had to say about her LYS Experience: 

When I first attended LYS last year, in 2016, I didn’t know that I would be back for another year. I didn’t know that I would encounter some people that would then become my lifelong friends. I didn’t know that I would return home again with amazing stories to tell, about everything I experienced. And I definitely, didn’t know that I would win LYS 2017 President. These are just a few things that could happen to someone if they took a week out of their summer to go to LYS.

LYS is one of the greatest summer programs I have ever gone to. In my opinion, LYS changes the lives of people every day and I can surely say everyone else who has been to LYS agrees with me. I honestly wish I could go back another year just to experience it all over again, especially winning President. 

Becoming LYS President is literally one of my greatest achievements of my life and I am genuinely honored that I won. I strictly encourage future delegates to be open minded about LYS and try your best to be involved in everything it has to offer. Then, take what you learned to your community and change the lives of the people around you, just like LYS would change yours. I hope I can become a JC or a counselor next year at LYS because I never want to forget about my LYS spirit. Thank you, LYS for everything you have done for me not just as a delegate who attended your program, but as a person.        Nykara<3

Karly Summy - Summer Intern from Northwestern College in Des Moines, Iowa

Dear Friends of HFO, 

HI! My name is Karly Summy, I am going to be a sophomore at Northwestern College, but I am from Des Moines Iowa. I got connected with Hope for Opelousas through my school and actually got the chance to spend a week down in Opelousas this past March. I fell in love with the community and that is how I wound up back down her for the summer.

This summer I was in charge of planning all the math lessons for the elementary and junior high and keeping up on what the kids were learning, and the progress they were making.  I also got to work closely with the new 4th grade class in reading. I really connected with this class! It was super cool to hang out with them even outside of tutoring! I got to take some of them out to eat, played tons of games, and even went to one of the 4th grader’s baseball games and we got to make posters to help cheer him on!
My summer was absolutely amazing! This experience, and working with the kids taught me not only patience but how to be loving and stern at the same time. I learned many things that will help when I become a teacher and this summer helped me realize that I do want to become a teacher! I’m so thankful for HFO and the opportunities given to me, and I can’t wait to come back and serve with them again soon!!!

Jasmine and Her Trumpet

Guest post by Melanie Lee-LeBouef, City of Opelousas Tourism

Once upon a time there lived a lovely young girl named Jasmine.  Jasmine enjoyed spending time at Hope for Opelousas and  playing her trumpet. One day a music ensemble showed up at Jasmine’s school to perform for the students. Jasmine listened quietly as the musicians played the flute, oboe, French horn, clarinet and bassoon. 

Jasmine liked all of the instruments. Her favorite was the oboe. The next day, while jasmine was walking across the street to attend her after school tutoring she recognized the musicians who had played at her school. They were visiting her city to help make it a better place. Jasmine was excited to see them and told them she liked their instruments and she told them she played the trumpet. They asked her if she would play her trumpet for them. Jasmine remembered her trumpet was at her cousins house who lived down the street. She ran as fast as she could to his house to get her trumpet. She ran so fast when she came back to play her trumpet she couldn't because she was out of breath. And then..she tried again and there was silence...and the music ensemble smiled while they listened to the most beautiful sound coming from Jasmine’s trumpet...the sound of HOPE.   Love Changes Everything..

Why I Volunteer at HFO!

Compiled by Emanuel Woods, High School Director

"I absolutely love volunteering at HFO! Because of its family-based nature, that aspect always makes me feel welcome and a part of the family. I enjoy working with the directors and the kids, in which it gives me an opportunity to learn more about their personalities. Lastly, I admire what HFO stands for "Love changes everything." I am forever grateful to be a part of a change that is bigger than me. 

-LaQuinta Payne, UL Student



I want to serve, simple as that 😉 I can't do enough for Christ and this is the least I can do to love God - love Him through loving others. Also, my calling is to be a teacher and this is just an extension of that calling. It is an absolute joy working with young people and serving alongside other brothers and sisters in Christ.

- Jade Johnston, MACA Teacher


Meet Candice

By: Nasia Woods, Elementary Director

As the new year continues to unfold, I have the pleasure of watching our kids get closer to achieving the goals they've set out at the beginning of the school year. Each month the Elementary House intends to highlight a standout student or tutor in our program.

One student who has been shining consistently is Candice Greene. Candice is a brilliant 5th grader who currently attends South Street Elementary school. She's passionate about art and dance and desires to be a film director or teacher when she grows up. Last year, Candice finished the year with a 3.83 cumulative GPA, but immediately set her sights higher for the 2016-17 school year.

She has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is a 3X student of the week winner (an school-wide honor bestowed upon her for scholastic excellence and perfect behavior), a member of Beta club & was nominated for student of the year. Candice has won numerous awards at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church for her commitment to church activities. Candice loves math and learning about black history, reading, and going to tutoring. Her new goal is to maintain her 4.0 GPA and learn how to play the piano. Candice's biggest "Hope" for Opelousas is to stop the violence.

Candice is a model student and a perfect example of the many gems hiding in Opelousas. We are truly proud of all of her achievements and excited for any future endeavors she may pursue in the future!