I meet Greg in a coffee-shop: minimal design, polished surfaces, streamlined furniture… He is in his mid-30s and extremely successful in his career as a senior manager in a large corporation. Greg is wearing fitted jeans, a casual shirt, and black leather shoes. Under his unruly hair shines a generous smile. He greets me with a firm handshake and we find a table.
Greg spent several years living and working in L’Arche prior to beginning his career in business. I ask if he has reflected on the relationship between his time in L’Arche and his current fast-paced business environment. His answer was immediate and direct. “Without L’Arche,” Greg told me, “I would not be in this position; I would not be the person I am. I learned to listen,” he said. “Not just to hear what people are saying, but to listen much more deeply to what is going on beyond the words. L’Arche taught me how to truly ‘meet’ people, heart to heart.”
But L’Arche’s impact on young assistants who, like Greg, have come to live in L’Arche for some time, is much less known. I join Greg and many other L’Arche alumni in their appreciation of how L’Arche taught us to value the life of each person. Through our relationships with people who have intellectual disabilities we were called to discover ourselves and our place in this world. We grew into more mature adults, able to face the challenges of life, and willing to make a difference. We became better people.
This kind of character development doesn’t happen accidentally. It is a slow, steady journey. Our L’Arche USA Pathway Initiative is designed to foster the growth and development of assistants like Greg. It is a carefully crafted combination of experiential and daily learning, peer-to-peer relationships, and intentional teaching and reflection. This year alone, about 400 assistants can benefit from the Pathway Initiative.
In 2018, L’Arche USA will spend $115,000 to implement the Pathway Initiative. We do not receive state or federal funding for this initiative and rely upon you and others to fund this program.
Would you consider joining our monthly giving program and being a funding anchor of our mission? Monthly gifts provide L’Arche with financial stability and are very precious.
With $12 per month, you will support the average cost of one member’s journey in the Pathway Initiative in 2018. A monthly gift of $85 will make you a member of our Giving Society.
To end my story, Greg has accepted my invitation to volunteer for L’Arche. I give thanks for Greg and all those who choose to come, live, and work in our communities. I also give thanks for you. Thank you for your trust and confidence, and for investing in L’Arche in the way that is right for you.