A Vision Realized

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in Vol. 9, Issue 1 of Backdrop magazine.

Scotland L’Arche celebrates 50 years of serving the learning-disabled community.

Until my recent study abroad experience, I never came across a group of people who appreciated the little things in life as much as the residents of the L’Arche community in Inverness, Scotland. L’Arche is a worldwide community founded in 1964, which celebrates and supports people with learning disabilities. Distressed by the institutionalization and the segregation of those with disabilities, founder and philosopher Jean Vanier, had the ultimate goal of creating a safe space, where people with and without learning disabilities, could share life. Today, L’Arche USA includes 18 communities located in Cleveland Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, New York, California, Washington D.C., Missouri and many more. Even with a 50-year history and 146 communities worldwide in 35 countries, the concept of a L’Arche community is still foreign to many people.