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What is Life Sharing?



 What is Lifesharing?

“The Healthy Social Life is found when, in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the community the strength of each one is living.”

-Rudolf Steiner, The Motto of the Social Ethic

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a dynamic collective of volunteers (coworkers) living side by side with adults who have developmental disabilities (villagers) in an intentional community in Kimberton, Pennsylvania.

Coworkers and villagers make their family home together, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. All residents accompany each other very intimately and deeply (personally, socially, spiritually, and culturally), and there is a partnership in living.

People with diverse backgrounds, skills and personal goals join our community for a month, a year, a decade or a lifetime of service, volunteering their time and energy. The common thread that brings us all here is a desire to do service. Each volunteer brings strengths and abilities and each contributes to the personal growth of others.

This motivation is idealistic to be sure. It’s an idealism that we strive to live out, day to day. We invite volunteers to roll up their sleeves and help to create a community based on the blend of ideals that each person brings through the help of insights out of Anthroposophy. Tasks are shared according to the talents and abilities of the members of the community.

In Kimberton Hills, the village model is strongly evident. All members of the community, from young children to elderly residents, service volunteers, and coworkers– all residents are integrated into the life of the community, and participate in its work, recreation, cultural events, festivals and home life.

Volunteers come to Kimberton Hills to be a part of a community and to build relationships based on mutual trust and caring. We create a home and a life vocation in relationship with our fellow community members. A strong community can create for its members a life of celebration, service, meaningful work, and personal development in a setting that is rich in connection and friendship, in which all participants can flourish.

Community also means making decisions cooperatively, being part of the process, even when the process requires time and deliberation.

People with so-called developmental disabilities who live in Kimberton Hills bring a special quality to community life which creates vitality and enriches everyone.

Volunteers often say that they receive more from their friends with special needs than they could ever give. Volunteers help in the homes and workshops, supporting others as needed, helping with health and hygiene, participating in cultural events, and sometimes merely having a good time together on quiet evenings. All of us have some limitations or measure of disability; some people have disabilities and needs that are more apparent. Responding to these needs helps us to focus our energies outwardly. It is this awareness that helps create community. People with developmental disabilities also help us see one another’s strengths more clearly. When we are able to recognize and support the strengths of others we are building a community structure that sustains everyone.

Village life has its own regular rhythm. Weekdays are structured by the morning and afternoon work sessions and three family-style meals shared in each house.

Weekends have their own pace, including trips, Sunday services, folk dances, concerts or other special gatherings. Yearly we celebrate seasonal and Christian festivals, connecting the rhythms of nature and spiritual life.

Though the rhythm of the community appears to be slow and steady, it is a rigorous lifestyle with constant demands on energy and time. Applicants need to be physically healthy and have mental and emotional stamina. We live each day finding meaning in every experience of life, be that hanging clothes on the line, reading a story together, attending community meetings, or sharing a meal.