SASKATOON — In a few months, L’Arche Saskatoon will be welcoming new residents to a second L’Arche home as part of a province-wide initiative to provide new homes for individuals currently living in the Valley View institution in Moose Jaw.
The L’Arche community purchased a second house in 2012, but when operational funding was not approved by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services, the house was rented out.
Now that operational funding has been approved, the L’Arche community will be able to welcome a total of four individuals with intellectual disabilities to the new home, including two people from Valley View and two individuals from Saskatoon. Three or four assistants will also live there, providing supports and sharing in the daily life of the home.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done before new residents can move in. The Ministry of Social Services has provided funding to build two wheelchair-accessible bedrooms and a bathroom in what is currently an attached garage.
The house also needs to be furnished, so L’Arche is seeking donations of quality furniture and other household items. L’Arche Saskatoon is hoping that new residents can be welcomed in early 2016.
The L’Arche community has also been growing on another front. Three years ago, L’Arche Saskatoon began a part-time workshop, which involved a small group of individuals with and without disabilities meeting together with a vision of “making art, making friends, making peace.”
The Ministry of Social Services approved funding this year to make the workshop a full-time program. This funding has made it possible for L’Arche to hire two assistants and to welcome three more participants, including two participants in wheelchairs (thanks to a grant from the Kinsmen Foundation covering half of the cost of a wheelchair-accessible van).
The group spends time each day in the community doing various social activities, as well as some time engaged in creative pursuits such as weaving and card making at Zion Lutheran Church, which has provided the workshop space.
The participants also serve and help others as opportunities arise (e.g., visiting people in a seniors’ home). The workshop is currently seeking volunteers to help with their activities.
L’Arche Saskatoon also holds weekly ecumenical prayer nights, monthly Friends of L’Arche Gatherings, and offers a monthly Collective Kitchen gathering.