The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


August 3, 2012

L’arche has a new place to call home

CLINTON — The community came together to celebrate a new home for some special citizens as L’Arche held a ribbon-cutting and open house for its new home.   

“I am so happy to be here and I hope to be here for the fifth, sixth and seven L’Arche houses,” new Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce President Nathan Sondgeroth said.

The spacious and accessible home at 78 32nd Ave. is the fourth L’Arche home in the Clinton area. The organization creates living communities for both people with and without developmental disabilities to grow together and value one another, according to Community Leader Keith Kalaukoa.

 Members Keith, Bob and Mary Pat moved in on April 1, making the plan to design and build an accessible home for aging core members a reality. By the end of April, two more core members, Victor and Lorraine and Assistant Vicky moved in.

This 3,000-square-foot living area required more than 2 1/2 years of planning and fundraising. All the residents, also known as core members, and assistants live on the main floor with a large kitchen, living room, laundry room and two bathrooms. The lower level or basement is used primarily as a meeting area and also contains a bathroom, a room for visiting volunteers, some storage rooms and a chapel. The building also has a large garage that will be used for meetings as the weather gets warmer, according to Kalaukoa.

A new living facility also solved the problems of crowding and accessibility at the other Arch houses.

“Some of the other Arch houses just did not have enough space for some of the core members,” Kalaukoa said. “It has been difficult for them to get around and climb stairs. The new house is so much more easily accessible.”

L'Arche Communities, founded by Jean Vanier in France in 1964, bring together people, some with developmental disabilities and some without, who choose to share their lives by living together in faith-based communities. The first L'Arche community in the United States was founded in 1972, and there are now 16 communities nationwide. The Arch Clinton community was founded two years later, in 1974, by a Clinton Franciscan, Sister Marjorie Wisor.

“We’re the sign for the world to share that we can live together in a world that is separated,” Kalaukoa said. “It is so wonderful to be an example of how to appreciate one another.”

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