Local Girl Scouts Lift Seniors’ Spirits

Girl Scouts Kaitlyn Leffler, Elise Chavez, Elizabeth Massa and Sydney Jo Turner. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen


Los Alamos

A small group of local Girl Scouts just might change the world, but will certainly brighten the lives of a large number of local senior citizens.

Troop 10132 has worked for months and is still raising funds to purchase iPods, headphones and iTunes gift cards as part of their project to benefit the local community.  Isabella Bailey, Elise Chavez, Kaitlyn Leffler, Elizabeth Massa, Christina Nisoli and Sydney Jo Turner, led by co-leaders Venita Chavez and Andie Turner were inspired by former Los Alamos resident Benny Lujan and a documentary called Music and Memory.

The somber film shows how music can lift the spirts and transport the souls of those in assisted living facilities back to a time and place where their hearts sang, when life as they knew it was memorable.

Benny Lujan was the inspirational touchstone of the project in a variety of ways. A self-taught musician, Lujan played music at the Betty Ehart Senior Center for years, adding special joy with each visit. Lujan was also the grandpa of Troop 10132 member, Elise Chavez.

“My grandpa was a Living Treasure,” Elise Chavez said. “I liked talking and visiting with him.”

The plan for the young leaders was to purchase the music devices and pre-load songs identified by staff of Aspen Ridge Lodge and the Sombrillo Rehabilitation Facility that mean the most, individualizing it for each patient.

The goal of just over $1,900 would purchase 32 iPods and music for each and the girls have been doing great.

“I liked doing all of the planning,” said 6th grade Pinon Panther Elizabeth Massa.

“I liked the idea of helping people with dementia,” said Sydney Jo Turner of Chamisa Elementary.

“I liked that we got to help people and it’s something interesting to do after school,” Pinon’s Kaitlyn Leffler said.

This Wednesday, the Girl Scouts will make their first presentation at Aspen Ridge at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The six young ladies will head to Albuquerque Nov. 7 to receive their Bronze Award. The Bronze Award, is the third highest award in Girl Scouting.

Donations are still being accepted and can be directed to Troop 10132 at 70 Isleta Dr. Los Alamos, NM 87544.