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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I joined L'Arche as a live-in assistant almost a month ago. My second weekend here, I was on overnight duty for one of our core members who tends to wake up a lot during the night. When I meet him in the hallway at 2:30am, he's confused. You can see him thinking, I'm awake now. Why isn't everybody else awake?  Don't we have things to be doing? But he's nonverbal, so he doesn't say any of this; he only utters noises you’d only understand if you take the time to know him. If I'm not there to help him use the bathroom and go back to bed, he will wander into the kitchen and start rearranging things, rearranging things in a way that only makes sense to himself. We don't want that. I help him use the bathroom, and then both of us go back to sleep. We keep a monitor on this core member while he sleeps so that when he gets up during the night, I'll wake up too and help him get back to bed. And much to my dismay, that monitor woke me up last Saturday at 2:30am, 3:30am, 4:30am, and 5:30am.

Here's the crazy thing: for the rest of the day, the most salient feeling that I felt toward this core member was an overwhelming fondness. Which is really quite strange. Sleep is almost sacred to me. I prioritize getting a good, uninterrupted 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When I don't get my sleep, I can get very grumpy very quickly. So I think that the fondness I felt toward him is really quite telling. When I encountered him confused in the hallway at 2:30am, knowing that without some help he probably wouldn't go back to sleep anytime soon, the grumpiness I expected to have melted away. Instead, I smiled, took his hand, and said, “Come on, buddy, let's go back to sleep.”

-Cameron Coulter, 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