My Unforgettable H.O.P.E. Trip To The L'Arche Community

My Unforgettable H.O.P.E. Trip To The L'Arche Community

"We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love." - Jean Vanier
13
views
"We are a Community where people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them live together as family and as a sign of hope to the greater community."

I had the most amazing opportunity to participate in Stonehill College's H.O.P.E. Service Immersion Program; "Honoring our neighbor, Organizing for justice, Practicing peace, Encountering God." Six other Stonehill students and I got accepted to spend a week living in the L'Arche Community in Haverhill, MA. Before going on this trip, we had discussed Community and learned more about it, but none of it compared to what we actually experienced. This opportunity, to each of us, was the most unforgettable and memorable experience of our lives. Our presence impacted the Community, but that is not all: the entire Community impacted us as well.


L'Arche is a place of family, love, welcome and so much more. These houses throughout Haverhill have people with and without disabilities living together purely as family. In 1983, some families came together and created a L'Arche Community. This is a place where their adult children with intellectual disabilities could have a lifelong home after their parents were no longer alive to care for them.

As soon as the seven of us walked into Community, we walked into the homes of families and were welcomed with infinite love and happiness. Every single second spent with the core members and assistants was unforgettable. L'Arche is only an example of what the world should someday come to be. Their mission consists of:

- To Create home where the gifts of people with developmental disabilities are revealed through mutually transforming relationships

- To embrace our diverse cultures working together to build a more human society

- To foster an environment that is inspired by the core values of our founding story: relationships, transformation, and being a sign of hope and a response to the changing needs of our members

Community life in L'Arche consists of independent living or in a shared household for those with intellectual disabilities. There are also part-time or full-time jobs, day programs, services, crafts, etc. "At all times it is a place of support and guidance that adapts as well as possible to the needs of each individual; it is also a place of commitment, to share daily life with the support of assistants and other community members."

L'Arche did so much more than simply give us unforgettable memories. Community life there taught us what it means to truly love. I've never set foot in such a welcoming community. The moment I walked into any of the households, I felt immediately welcomed and as if I were part of their family, which by the end of the week, I considered all of us to be.

I could go on for ages describing what this trip consisted of, what projects we took charge of and our memorable interactions with everyone there, but even all of my detailed descriptions wouldn't do L'Arche justice. There are simply too many amazing words to say; the other students who encountered this journey with me couldn't agree more, but we try our best to put it into words:

"What I admired more than anything about the L'Arche Community was their sense of mindfulness and their ability to value everyone and everything." - Sam MacFarlane, Class of 2020

"What I learned most from our experience at L'Arche is to be present and to find joy in the little things." - Mackenzie Mayes, Class of 2018

"The L'Arche Community emphasized the importance of family, being there for one another, and for being present" - Julia Adams, Class of 2020

"The L'Arche Community taught me how to love." - Michaela Brown, Class of 2017

"L'Arche is a truly loving community that celebrates each individual." - Emily Rowland, Class of 2019

This was an experience that will not only stick with me forever, but it also changed my dreams and actions for the future. L'Arche taught us many lessons; however, the most important thing that we got out of this experience is the hope that someday the world should be like the L'Arche Community; we should all strive to make this possible.

"Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed." - Jean Vanier, Founder of L'Arche

Cover Image Credit: Self

Popular Right Now

11 Inexpensive Road Trip Destinations For College Students

Because adventure.
64447
views

College is a time to make memories. It is a time to set out and explore the world. The only problem is that it can be difficult to travel when you’re flat-out broke. Many college students are discovering that while the cost of textbooks and tuition increases, their travel funds sadly decrease. Since jet-setting to Paris or Rome may be out of reach at the moment, many students are resorting to road trips within the United States to fix their case of wanderlust. Not only are road trips much more affordable, but they also allow for more spontaneity and exploration. There are countless of hidden gems just waiting to be explored, so grab some friends, put on your favorite Spotify road trip playlist, hit the road and make memories at these 11 incredible places.

1. Havasu Falls, Arizona

It is hard to believe that such a breathtaking waterfall can exist in the middle of the desert. Thankfully, Havasu Falls is no mirage. The falls are located in a remote region of the Grand Canyon and can only be accessed through a 10-mile hike. The entry fee to the park is relatively low and the overnight camping fee is even lower, making it a great destination for college students on a budget.

2. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Instead of spending a semester's worth of tuition on an expensive snowboarding trip, students can try a cheaper alternative - sandboarding. Located in Southern Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a unique destination that offers a variety of activities. Businesses right outside the park offer the rental of boards, sleds and even skis all specially made for the sand. This means that the rental and entrance fees are the only costs for a fun-filled day of surfing the dunes.

3. South Padre Island, Texas

Whether you head to South Padre for an exciting, fun-filled spring break or for a relaxing weekend getaway, renting a condo is the way to go. The cost of renting a condo can be very low if you split it among several people, which means you can enjoy a tropical beach vacation without breaking the bank.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada


Vegas can either be a very expensive destination or a very inexpensive destination. That's why it is important to play your cards right - and I'm not just talking about gambling. Skip staying the night at the high-end hotels and enjoy their free attractions instead. If you decide to hit the casinos, make sure to keep track of your money - those textbooks don't pay for themselves.

5. Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

In the fall, college campuses across America celebrate the chilly weather with football games, bonfires, and pumpkin-spiced everything. For those who want to switch things up, pack your bags and head to the Smoky Mountains. These beautiful mountains are a must-see in the fall due to the stunning scenery and fall foliage. Try renting a cheap cabin or camping at Smoky Bear Campgrounds to save money.

6. Austin's Sixth Street, Texas

Sixth Street is an iconic and historic street in the heart of Austin. From the exciting nightlife and multitude of bars to the live music and unique art galleries, Sixth Street offers a little something for everyone. For a truly unique Austin experience, stay at the affordable Firehouse Hostel, just minutes from Sixth Street.

7. Daytona Beach, Florida

Located about and hour and half south of Jacksonville, Daytona Beach is notoriously known as a wild spring break destination for college students. While exploring all the concerts, bars and clubs that Daytona has to offer, students can take advantage of the free party bus for easy and affordable transit.

8. Albuquerque, New Mexico

For the low price of only $10 per person, you can experience Albuquerque's annual Balloon Fiesta. A photographer's dream, the Balloon Fiesta offers tons of unique sights, shopping opportunities, and delicious food. If you can't make it to Albuquerque in October, when the Balloon Fiesta takes place, there are plenty of other affordable places to explore. From Sandia Peak to Old Town, Albuquerque offers something for everyone.

9. Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

For water lovers, this Florida gem has it all. Kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving and tubing are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy in the crystal clear water of the Rainbow River. Since this destination is off the beaten path, it is an affordable alternative to Florida's Discovery Cove.

10. New Orleans, Louisiana

Two words: Bourbon Street. Full of iconic bars, local jazz musicians and interesting cuisine, there is never a dull moment on Bourbon Street. As if this famous street wasn't crazy enough, in February thousands of college students flock there to celebrate Mardi Gras. Though the prices of drinks can be high during this time, students can save money by booking their hotel ahead of time. For under $100 per night, Astor Crowne Plaza offers guests a luxurious stay on a budget.

11. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Though this one is not quite a destination per se, it should definitely be high up on your bucket list. This coastal highway, also known as Highway 1, hits many of California's major cities such as San Fransisco and Santa Monica. As if a trip to these cities is not exciting enough, the drive itself is extremely scenic. To save money on this trip, try booking cheap hotels or even stay for free at hostels. Of course, with this trip and all of these trips, you are bound to spend some money. But the memories that you will make on these trips will be worth every penny.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Top 5 Cities To Visit In Germany

A wealth of history, artistic flair and diversity await you on your city break to Germany

13
views

You might be marvelling at Munich's magnificent baroque palaces one day, and wandering around. Hamburg's trendy, redeveloped HafenCity the next. Meanwhile, in hip Berlin historic sites like the Brandenburg Gate blend effortlessly with contemporary art galleries.

1. Berlin

Berlin Under Starry Sky photo

unsplash.com

The capital is maybe Germany's most prevalent city break destination. Since Germany's reunification in 1990, Berlin has developed as a Catholic and exciting city, pressed with rousing craftsmanship, design, and entertainments. History is a vital portion of Berlin's character – don't miss the typical Brandenburg Gate and the Jewish Gallery which are strong updates of the Cold War and World War II. Berlin may be a superb put to wander around at recreation, and strolling is a perfect way the most perfect way to soak up the environment.

Each area in and around the city middle has its claim personality – from Mitte with its must-see sights and markets to stylish Kreuzberg, with its plenitude of bars and restaurants. Tiergarten is overwhelmed by the green stop of the same title whereas Charlottenburg is a popular retail locale and domestic to Schloss Charlottenburg, the biggest regal royal residence in Berlin total with lovely gardens and forest.

2. Munich

City, church, cathedral and dome HD photo

unsplash.com

Bavaria's capital is the door to the Alps and makes a great city break sometime recently set off to the mountains advertising world-class historical centers, castles and conventional German architecture too. For a taste of Munich's neighborliness and world-renowned lager, a visit in October for the world-famous Oktoberfest could be a must.

Whereas reservations for the celebration are fitting, you'll get a situate ad-hoc at off-peak times like weekday mornings Other attractions incorporate the Deutsches Museum (Transport Historical center), the Residenzmuseum, domestic to Bavaria's Wittelsbach rulers from the early 1500s, the Schönheitengalerie (Exhibition of Wonders) for representations, in expansion to the perpetual shopping and dining openings that Munich has got to offer.

3. Frankfurt

Frankfurt am Main Hauptwache photo by Christian Salow

unsplash.com

Frankfurt is the monetary middle of Germany, which accounts for its concentration of gleaming skyscrapers.

But Frankfurt is noteworthy as well and a journey down the Waterway Primary gives a great perspective of the city's movement, past the advanced sprawl and onwards to the conventional buildings of the city's Exhibition hall Dike.

Museums abound – Städel, Historisches Museum, Jüdisches-Museum, Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Geldmuseum der Deutschen Bundesbank to name but a few – while other cutting-edge artistic attractions like the Orfeos Erben independent cinema help define Frankfurt as a modern and innovative city.

Frankfurt boasts plenty of all-night fun, from trendy cafes and bars to clubs with jazz and dancing to keep you entertained well into the small hours. The nearby vineyards and spa towns like Wiesbaden are easy to reach, making Frankfurt ideal if you want to stay around for more than just a short city break.

4. Hamburg

Hafen City photo by Claudio Testa on Unsplash

unsplash.com

Germany's second largest city boasts one of the biggest ports on the planet, earning it the nickname 'Gateway to the World'. Amazingly, Hamburg also has more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice put together, thanks to several waterways running through its centre.

Hamburg is the nation's greenest city with two-thirds of its area covered by lakes or parkland, ideal for walking and cycling. Head to the vast Planten un Blomen botanical gardens and admire their abundance of fountains, lakes, lawns, and flowers. Greenery aside, Hamburg's Reeperbahn is where the Beatles played in the 1960s and its nightlife and live music scene is still renowned today.

You will find UNESCO wonders in Speicherstadt and the nearby Kontorhaus district, the largest historic development of port warehouses in the world. Meanwhile, the innovative, sustainable all-wood Wälderhaus (Forest House) is a shining example of Hamburg's environmentally sound outlook.

5. Cologne

Cologne cathedral photo by Dominik Kuhn

unsplash.com

Founded by the Romans, Cologne is one of Germany's oldest cities. The iconic filigree spires of its famous UNESCO-listed cathedral, Kölner Dom, soar elegantly over the city. From beer gardens and river cruises to Cologne Zoo and Cologne Aquarium, there's plenty to keep you busy.

If you prefer a leisurely stroll through the city, you'll come across the ancient Roman wall and an abundance of medieval churches as well as magnificent avant-garde edifices and contemporary art.

There's an abundance of museums and galleries too: the Chocolate Museum (Schokoladenmuseum); the Roman-Germanic Museum and its Roman mosaics and relics; the German Sport and Olympic Games Museum; the Cologne Museum of Applied Art; and the Holography Museum are some of the most popular.

And if you can't make to Cologne's carnival, Düsseldorf's carnival in February is the next best thing.

Related Content

Facebook Comments