Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012
Unique L’Arche community opens doors in Oakhurst
Paideia janitor accused of puttingcameras in student bathrooms
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by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
, boardco-president of L’ArcheAtlanta, said not many people have heard of L’Arche but the idea behind the group of international communitiesis very simple—buildinga place where people withand without intellectualdisabilities share in life fullytogether.“In our society, peoplewith disabilities are oftenregarded as not havingmuch to give, but in truth,each person has veryimportant gifts of the heartto share,” Wells said.
The rst L’Arche
community in Georgiaopened its doors Oct. 27 inOakhurst. It is located ina house that was donatedto L’Arche by another
nonprot for the homeless.
Wells said the organizationhas let L’Arche Atlanta usethe property for the next 10years.“The great thing aboutOakhurst and Decatur isthat it’s such a walkablearea and part of what makesL’Arche so successful is just being a part of a larger, opencommunity,” Wells said.Wells said she and agroup of approximately15 others had been tryingto establish a L’Archecommunity in metro Atlantasince 2003.“I fell in love withL’Arche in college due tomy mentor and campusminister,
,who had lived in L’Archeand spoke so eloquentlyabout how it changed hislife,” Wells said.During a spring break when Wells was in collegeshe visited a community inHonduras, then later decidedto spend a year living inL’Arche in Scotland in1993.L’Arche Communitieswas founded by
in France in 1964when he invited two menfrom a psychiatric instituteto come stay with him andhis family.“The idea is that peoplewith disabilities shouldn’t be shut inside institutions,”Wells said. Now, Wells said, thereare numerous L’Archecommunities throughoutthe world and 18 in theUnited States. Wells saidthe typical living situation isapproximately three or four people without intellectualdisabilities and severalwith intellectual disabilitiesliving together.“The idea is that you’renot employees or staff,”Wells said. “People feel acalling to this kind of work and typically assistants cango to any community inthe world as long as theycommit to staying there for several years.”Wells said the average
community is three to ve
homes, which L’ArcheAtlanta plans to have in the
next ve years. Right now,
the only home is the one inOakhurst.In the early planningstages of L’Arche Atlanta,Wells said, there were only15 people who attendedits meetings. Now thecommunity has garneredmore than 1,500 supportersand 60-80 people attend thegroup’s monthly events,which include bowling,dancing and bingo nights.“What’s really at theheart of L’Arche is justto be included and have
meaningful and fullling
activities and relationshipsin life and for everyoneto have a chance to seethe gifts that people of allabilities have,” Wells said.For more informationabout L’Arche Atlanta, visitwww.larcheatlanta.org.have had a history of mis-treatment and low wages.“In 1968, Dr. King was as-sassinated supporting sanita-tion workers,” he said.Since September, morethan 80 percent of thecounty’s approximately 450sanitation workers havesigned petitions saying theywant the union to be recog-nized by the county, Speightsaid. “That’s a clear super-majority.”“The workers in sanita-tion are the face of DeKalbCounty,” Speight said. “Twodays a week at least, you’llsee sanitation workers com-ing down you street.“Sanitation workers, asDr. King noted, protect the public’s health,” Speightsaid. “Without sanitationworkers, you have a messon your hands, literally.”
, 20-year sanitation truck driver, said,“We need a union in there because we’re not beingtreated right.“We haven’t had a raise
in about ve years,” he said.
“Everything is steady go-ing up and our checks aresteady going down. It’s toomuch.“Teamsters hopefully canhelp,” Pruitt said.
Continued From Page 2A
by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comA janitor at the PaideiaSchool in Atlanta has been
red after he was accused
of putting cameras in thehigh school girls and boys bathrooms.The U.S. Postal Service began investigating analleged child pornographyvideo production companyin 2010. During theinvestigation Paideiaemployee
’sname turned up in the production company’srecords.Investigators found thatEnsley, a 51-year-old Tucker resident, had purchasedmore than 50 DVDs fromthe company.On Oct. 25 postalinspectors and law
executed a search warrantof Ensley’s home, whichcontained the DVDs orderedfrom the company. During
the search ofcials also
located videos of childrenusing the restroom.During questioningEnsley admitted tovideotaping the childrenat Paideia and a criminal
complaint led in U.S.
District Court details howhe did it.“Josh Ensley said hewould hide the camerain a hollowed out air freshener and place it bythe boys’ urinals and on a broom handle in the girls’handicapped bathroomstall,” the complaint states.In a letter sent home to parents Oct. 25, Paideia
ofcials said Ensley is
currently in the custody of federal authorities and is nolonger an employee at theschool. The letter also statesthat investigators have told
school ofcials that there
is no evidence of Ensleyhaving any physical contactwith any of the studentsor that he distributed thevideos to anyone.“We believe the highschool students will be asshocked and stunned aswe are,” the letter states.“All of us at Paideia— teachers, counselorsand administrators—areavailable to you if you havequestions about how thismay affect your child. Wewill continue to share any pertinent information we
receive as we nd out more
about this situation.”
Atlanta’s rst L’Arche community recently opened in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood. L’Arche Com
-munities, founded by Jean Vanier in France in 1964, bring together people, some with developmentaldisabilities and some without, who choose to share their lives by living together in faith-based com-munities. Photo provided