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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Sarah Engelmann has been a core member with L’Arche Heartland since 2009, when she first began attending our day service program at the Academy.  In 2014 she made the transition from living with Mom and Dad, to living at Harmony House, our newest home in the Heartland community. Because of her involvement with both the day service as well as residential side of our community, we were interested to hear what makes L’Arche special to her.

When asked what she likes about L’Arche Academy, she said “I just really enjoy it!” She was then asked what she enjoys about it. Her responses were endless: “I like singing and keeping the beat,” (referring to morning sing-along). She went on to say “I enjoy journal time, doing crafts with Ms. Carol, volunteering, and doing my music video at 11:30 on Friday mornings.” During the school year Sarah goes, once a week with a small group from L’Arche, to volunteer at Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries. There she helps to fill back packs with food in order that underprivileged children can take them home on the weekends, as a way to ensure they are fed. Volunteering is often the highlight of her week, aside from watching her videos or “vid’s,” as she refers to them.

We then went on to talk about her life at Harmony House and what it is that she likes about living there. When asked what she enjoys about it, she responded: “well I enjoy doing my coup work, and watching my vids,” (clipping coupons and watching music videos in her room). She was then asked if she liked her roommates, and she responded with a jubilant “Yeah!” When asked what she liked to do with her roommates she said “Prayer Night every Tuesday, then game night at Homer’s,” (a local coffee shop) “playing Farkel, having movie nights, and music therapy on Thursday.” She ended the interview saying, “I love L’Arche and all the activities. I’m glad I live here.” And if you were to ask the community you would find that we are glad she lives here too!

-Sarah Engelmann, Core Member

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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