The first L’Arche community was founded in 1964 in France in response to the inhumane conditions of the large institutions where people with intellectual disabilities had been placed. L’Arche came to the USA in 1972 and to Fort Collins in 2020!
An ecumenical group, led by Bill McClellan, completed the “Just Faith” program of social justice reading and action in the local community.
This group continued to meet and discerned that they would like to explore founding a L’Arche community. Linda Drees contacted the Western Regional Coordinator , Patty McNally who provided the L’Arche Charter and the initial steps.
The group meet weekly in the fall of 2010 to more strongly bond the community through the “New Wine Skins” program , a follow-up to the Just Faith program that worked to solidify the base and commitment to the project. Visits were made to other L’Arche communities around the world and local providers of services to adults with developmental disabilities such as Mosaic, Triangle Cross Ranch, Foothills Gateway, Bethesda homes, and Arc of Larimer County.
The group “creates L’Arche” though hosting gathering such as party for the residents of the Mosaic homes, and Harvest and Valentine’s celebrations at local churches. Many former L’Arche Assistants and Community members join our community, starting with Colleen Mueller and continuing with Richard Trebus, Sarah Reichhardt, Ryan Kepler, Jocelyn Delgado, Mandi Stoll, and Kendall Batten-Kalantzis and Apostolos Kalantzis. Many retreats, discernments and planning meetings were are held in Primrose studio, Plymouth Congregational Church, and Poudre Valley Hospital.
We applied for and received our non-profit, 501 (c)3 status in the summer of 2014.
We participate in many regional and L’Arche USA gatherings. We are approved as residential service provider, PASA, for medicaid. A hardworking team holds on to their dream through many ups and downs, continuing to meet monthly and to host summer picnics, holiday parties and other community gatherings at various churches.
We respond to a request for proposals for land use at Heart of the Rockies Church in Ft. Collins. Along with Habitat for Humanity and Care Housing, we are chosen as a partner in the construction of a progressive and inclusive new community, Heartside Hill. We receive approval as an official project of L’Arche USA! L’Arche Fort Collins is born!
At L’Arche Fort Collins, part of our mission is to “respond to the changing needs of our members, while being faithful to the core values of our founding story.” While L’Arche communities may change, we always return to our core values of mutual relationships, inclusion and celebrating diversity.