High Spirit operates three lifesharing houses just west of the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Lifesharing means that adults with intellectual disabilities live and work together with their caregivers as a large extended family, sharing the same joys, sorrows, satisfactions and frustrations that all families do.
The rhythm of weekdays revolves around house and land work and animal husbandry. Each morning, caregivers and residents work side-by-side caring for the community's vegetable garden, greenhouse, compost piles, goats and chickens. In addition, they work together to do the cleaning, laundry and cooking needed to ensure that the household runs smoothly and efficiently.
In the afternoons, community members participate in activities that are healthful, build competence and are fun. They may go to the gym, go swimming at a local community center or go horseback riding at a therapeutic riding stable. Or they may participate in local music, art or dance classes specifically designed for persons with intellectual disabilities.
At night and on weekends, all relax and enjoy the company of each other and of those who live in other lifesharing homes in the Great Barrington area.
By living, working and learning together, meaningful relationships develop among community members. Those relationships permit each member of the household to recognize and develop his or her full potential.