The message of L’Arche is essentially that through entering into relationship with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities our world can see an example of how to be transformed, one person at a time, into a more peaceful and compassionate society.

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Whether you are interested in joining our community as an assistant, building relationships with us as a volunteer, or sharing your gifts as a member of our board, there are numerous ways you can become a part of L’Arche Heartland accomplishing our mission. We are excited to welcome you!

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In order to continue being a witness to the transformative power of relationships with persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we rely on financial support from generous donors. Thank you for sharing your resources with us as we journey towards a more compassionate society.

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My internship with L'Arche Heartland was one of the most influential experiences of my life. When I began my internship I had never worked with people with disabilities before, so I was understandably nervous. But more importantly I was looking for some true-to-life experiences and real relationships. And that's exactly what I found.

As an intern I was able to experience life in different houses regularly and there was so much to learn. Not only did I learn about how to provide direct care to core members, but I learned valuable interpersonal skills and how to live intentional relationships. Core members are some of the most fun people to get to know because they are so unapologetically themselves. They are not shy about the things they like or dislike. They own their individuality and are unafraid to be exactly who they are, flaws and all. And I have come to learn that intentional relationships mean if you are willing to accept them for exactly who they are, then they will accept you and your flaws too. And that's what I found so beautiful about L'Arche Heartland. I had never before been around so many people, core members and assistants alike, who loved each other for their unique gifts and flaws. I also learned quickly to roll with the punches that come with living such authentic relationships. There were days that I would arrive and be greeted with hugs, and there were days that I was met with the stony silence of tension brewing. But no matter how the day began I knew we could work through it together and be smiling and laughing by the end of the night. It's not an easy task to live so intentionally but it is the most rewarding. Everyday I was challenged to be vulnerable and allow these new people to know me. And it was difficult to let down my guards and let the core members know me in a very real way. But I found that the days I was comfortable enough to open myself were the days I grew the most. These were the days I forged true friendships and tested the limits of my capabilities. And the more I did, the more often I felt I could do it again and again. So by the end of my internship I had the most amazing friends for life. In L'Arche Heartland I had found people who were dedicated to each other and to the life they are living together. 

-Rebecca Molner, Psychology Intern, 2015

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L’Arche Heartland has partnered with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to expand our network of local business for our door-to-door recycling service. By welcoming a small group of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities into their workplaces on a weekly basis to collect their recycling, these business partners are helping us move towards realizing the vision of a paid employment option for the persons in our day service.


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When I first moved to L’Arche Heartland, I had a pretty good idea that it wouldn’t be “just a job.” I knew that by virtue of living in the same house with the people I would be caring for that there would be little separation between what I considered my “work life” and “home life.” And that was true. Even when I was on my time away, with no work responsibilities, I still would see my housemates every day, and they’d have questions to ask or stories to tell. There would still be activities I’d participate in or meals to share. Just because I was “off” from work didn’t mean I was off from the relationships.

I think that I was pretty prepared for that. I had an idea that’s how life would be when I moved in. But what I wasn’t prepared for was just how important those relationships would become. I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment, but there was definitely a shift when I stopped doing it because I felt like I needed to, or didn’t have anything else to do, and started spending time with core members during my time away because I valued their friendship, and I wanted to spend time with them. Sunday lunches and trips to the library became a regular activity with a couple of the guys, even when I wasn’t working, and even after I moved to a different house, because I enjoyed being with them. Even now, as a Community Coordinator, when I have a more typical 9-5 work schedule, I will often participate in our Saturday activities, or spend time with core members outside of that schedule, because I value our time together and they have become important to me. They aren’t just people that I care for, or whose house I now coordinate, but they are my friends. It wasn’t something I was expecting when I first came to L’Arche Heartland, but it’s definitely something I love about my life in L’Arche.

-Mark Lepper, Community Coordinator