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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As a parent you always want the best for your child.  As a parent of an adult child with significant disabilities, you begin to understand their independence may look very different than children of your friends.  You know your child will need support—lots of support.  You want your child to be surrounded by people who care about him or her and who see the unique gifts each one of us has to contribute to the world.  I was overjoyed to find a L’Arche community available for my son. 

The philosophy of L’Arche founder, Jean Vanier, is so profoundly spiritual and inclusive, it inspires those who serve and who are served.  “Our community life is beautiful and intense, a source of life for everyone.  People with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”—Jean Vanier.  My son and I have formed friendships with other core members and with assistants.  L’Arche Heartland is able to look beyond all the dis-function he may demonstrate and draw out his better qualities.  They support his passions and encourage his abilities.  And they help him manage all the challenges he faces, both within himself and in the world.  As a parent, I would never have been able to pursue my career in another state if I had not known my son was a part of this community.  I miss the activities of community night, special events and just everyday connections. At the end of the day, I am grateful my son is safe, supported and cared about.  That is what every parent hopes for their child and L’Arche Heartland makes that possible for my adult child.

-Joy Wyler, parent of a Core Member