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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Throughout my young adulthood, I have been searching out my vocation. L’Arche Heartland has given me a place to practice a vocation that St. Therese of Lisieux described as “the little way”. By “the little way”, St. Therese meant drawing close to Jesus through the everyday, ordinary tasks given to us.
In order to describe my vocation in “the little way” with L’Arche, I must elaborate on how the ordinary and extraordinary intersect in this community. At L’Arche, I share a home with four men with intellectual disabilities. Daily life in our home requires much responsibility of me, though none of the daily tasks appear very grand. One does not need a graduate degree from a prestigious university to do the cooking, cleaning, transportation, assisting with hygiene, and medication administration in my home. But as I go about my life in L’Arche, day after day, year after year, slowly the people in my house and in the larger community have showed me the many gifts that people with intellectual disabilities have to offer.

The mission of L’Arche is built upon mutual relationships between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through these relationships of both giving and receiving, we are able to reveal one another’s gifts. Some of the gifts manifest themselves through such simple things as laughter, compliments, and a sense of wonder. Sometimes people with intellectual disabilities have a transforming effect on those around them, helping “the helpers” to realize new gifts that they could not previously perceive. For example, I have had to learn patience before recognizing the patience of a person with an intellectual disability. In L’Arche, the people with intellectual disabilities are often the teachers, showing us firsthand how to receive our lives as a gift from God. It is a gift to be close to people who are dear to the heart of God.
Receiving the gifts of people with disabilities transforms the ordinary in L’Arche. As I go about the mundane tasks of sustaining a household, these ordinary experiences become transformed by the extraordinary way that people with intellectual disabilities draw me closer to God. Following St. Therese of Lisieux again, this is a little way to live, but it is also a short path to the kingdom of God.

-Andrew Nelson, Live-in Assistant

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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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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