L’Arche USA’s primary responsibility is to support the flourishing of L’Arche communities in the United States. We work to establish new communities, ensure sustainability in current communities, and provide opportunities for growth. We help communities navigate complex challenges and discover their own unique strengths. We encourage each community to share its gifts with the wider world.
Each emerging and confirmed community is supported by a regional leader, known as a Manager of Community Support and Learning. These managers help communities with governance sustainability, program implementation, quality assurance, and operations oversight. Managers demonstrate a commitment and love for L’Arche USA’s purpose, mission, culture and principles. They are a trusted reference for communities in their assigned region.
L’Arche USA supports our communities in many other ways. We participate in collaborative recruitment and fundraising efforts. We promote capacity building for communications and development through conferences, trainings, and outreach toolkits. We provide resources for community resiliency, growth, and renewal. We promote unity and ensure solidarity and sharing among communities within L’Arche USA regions as they work together to further the mission of L’Arche in the United States.
L’Arche USA believes that the chance to reflect on encounters and relationships in L’Arche allows members to grow and learn, deepen their engagement in L’Arche, discover new gifts, and move towards new calls and commitments. L’Arche USA is committed to helping members learn and grow personally, spiritually, and professionally through their daily life in community, and through more formal trainings and reflections. We use storytelling, an inclusive learning methodology, and a diversity of learning resources and voices to offer a curriculum framed on four key themes: L’Arche core values, spirituality, leadership, and diversity.
We offer our members a wide array of retreats, trainings, online resources, and webinars to share knowledge, explore new topics and practices, and build relationships. This learning and reflection is planned for varied members, including Core Members, Assistants, leaders, and board members. We provide retreats that give members the opportunity to deepen their spiritual growth and practices.
We offer both in-person and online trainings on topics like leadership, intercultural agility, inclusion, L’Arche’s mission and values, and board development. Online practice-based learning cohorts allow for peer learning, engagement, and support, and the sharing of strong practices across the country. Our growing online resource bank supports this national work with cross-community accessibility; it helps ensure unity in practice and consistency in carrying out the mission of L’Arche.
“The heart is where we integrate what we know in our minds with what we know in our bones, the place where our knowledge can become more fully human.”
-Parker J. Palmer
We believe in investing in the leadership skills of our members and in supporting the training, preparation, and accompaniment of leaders at all levels. The learning and reflection theme for 2019 involves embracing diversity in ways that promote greater inclusion and equity in our communities. In accordance with this theme, members in L’Arche are trained to lead people with diverse spiritual ideas, diverse abilities, and diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. L’Arche also provides members with a robust accompaniment and mentorship program in which new leaders and experienced leaders can share experiences and accountability.
Public engagement is integral to the mission and success of L’Arche. L’Arche USA believes that an encounter – in person and virtually – across differences can reduce prejudices and create a more human society. Creative and comprehensive public engagement ensures that L’Arche can make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities and the power of mutually transformative relationships.
L’Arche USA seeks to be a sign of hope in the field of disability and faith. We work to broaden our public engagement by partnering with civic, religious, educational, and public organizations through coalitions, networks, speaking engagements, and opportunities for dialogue and exchange. By building these partnerships, we hope to transform the public’s awareness and perception of people living with intellectual disabilities.
At L’Arche USA, we are committed to sharing the mission and vision of L’Arche in a variety of ways. L’Arche USA is active on all major social media platforms. We utilize both digital and print content to share important updates and stories. We strive to produce dynamic transformative media, including videos, newsletters, and digital content, that communicates effectively with donors and recruits high-quality assistants and staff. In all of our communication efforts, we strive to share the joyful spirit of L’Arche with a diverse audience.
In L’Arche, we recognize the power and importance of telling our stories. Each person who comes to L’Arche has a unique story to tell. We are working to capture, curate, and share our community members’ stories, particularly those of our Core Members. Before coming to L’Arche, many of our members with intellectual disabilities lived in dehumanizing conditions in large institutions. We seek to document this painful part of American history and illuminate how far we have come, while recognizing that we still have a long way go.