Down Home Ranch is a working farm and ranch, where about 40 adults and childrenincluding 32 with Down syndrome and other disabilitieslive year round, caring for 330 rolling, forested acres of the Post Oak Savannah in Central Texas. The Ranch community also welcomes 160 people with disabilities to summer residential camps.
The Ranch began because a baby was born, a baby with the condition known as Down syndrome. Her parents learned quickly that this babylike their other childrenwas first and foremost a person, worthy of love, friends, and the joys, sorrows, and opportunities open to any other.
Inspired by the writings of Jean Vanier, Henri Nouwen, and Rudolf Steiner, Down Home Ranch was conceived as an intentional community, where people with and without disabilities would live and work togethertending the animals, raising our food, and celebrating the seasons of life together.
We do not live in isolation at the Ranch. We have been welcomed into the communities that have flourished in our area for 150 years. The historical cemetery on our land speaks to us of days when Native Americans still camped out on our northern boundary and settlers arrived looking to make a new life. Their descendants built the towns and businesses and churches, and among them we find new friends, faith, and opportunities.
There are two principal Programs at Down Home Ranch, each serving people with intellectual and development disabilities (IDDs) in their own distinct way:
The Residential Program Ranch Camps
The secret of L'Arche is relationship: meeting people, not through the filters of certitudes, ideologies, idealism or judgments, but heart to heart; listening to people with their pain, their joy, their hope, their history, listening to their heart beats.
- Jean Vanier, L'Arche founder