Meet the Team

Meet our People

The Staff of L'Arche Cleveland

L’Arche communities require a lot of behind-the-scenes action to make community happen. L’Arche Cleveland is no different, and we owe it to the dedicated staff members who are committed to our mission.

Jennifer O'Malia

Community Leader
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Born and raised in the Greater Cleveland area, I started at L’Arche when I was 20 years old and have spent almost my entire adult life in the community. I have been both a live-in and live-out assistant, house leader at several homes, Program Director, Assistant Director, and now the Community Leader. Prior to starting at L’Arche, I worked with Fr. Jim O’Donnell in inner city Cleveland working in schools as a tutor, working with single mothers navigating the welfare system, and visiting the L’Arche community for dinner and Mass. The Community Leader at the time asked if I’d consider working in the homes for a couple evenings a week, and as they say, the rest is history. When I have time for hobbies between my L’Arche life and home life, I love to read. I have a great love of interior design and organizing, for both myself and family and friends. I have been married Dan for 21 years, and we have 4 children. I feel so blessed to be able to raise my children in L’Arche and to have a spouse that loves L’Arche as much as I do.

jen@larchecleveland.org

Heather Homer

Assistant Director
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Born and raised in Plattsburgh, NY, my first experience with L’Arche was in Bognor Regis, England. I have a Masters of Art in Teaching people with developmental disabilities, so I have always been drawn to this field. After my time in England was over, I missed being able to engage in and share in the teachable moments that come in living everyday life together. I reached out to L’Arche USA and asked to be sent to the area with the most need, which was Cleveland. In my free time, I enjoy music and singing, being outdoors, and volunteering at the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter.

heather@larchecleveland.org

Leo S. Shriver

Operations Manager
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I was born in NYC, but have lived all over the US, including two other L’Arche communities, Erie and Syracuse. I have worked in home services for 31 years. I initially started at L’Arche Erie, where I helped one of their core members 1:1. I felt called to the L’Arche mission and asked if I could stay. The life focused on relationships truly have been mutually transforming. In my spare time, I love cooking.

Mary Hurley

Office Manager
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I was born and raised on the east side of Cleveland and have lived here most of my life. I began working in the field of developmental disabilities in 1979 as a direct service provider, and later became a Program Coordinator and Administrator for two different private nonprofit organizations.  In addition, I have served in the Peace Corps and traveled far and wide. I joined L’Arche Cleveland in 2004 and have been an Assistant, House Leader, and Program Director. With L’Arche’s blessing, I continued to travel and was welcomed back upon each return. In 2015, I took an extended break to attend to family needs and returned as the Office Manager in 2018. L’Arche and I have been a good match for each other through the years. Outside of L’Arche, I coordinate a small nonprofit program that supports and implements a variety of grassroots projects in Haiti. I enjoy gathering with family and friends for a meal, adult beverages and a long visit, watching the Tribe, travelling, reading, live theater and going to the movies.

mary@larchecleveland.org

Fran Richman

Financial Consultant
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Fran has been a part of the L’Arche Cleveland community since 2001.

fran@larchecleveland

Alex Bell

Communications Specialist
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I came to L’Arche as a music therapy practicum student and wanted to learn more about the idea of community. I applied to be an assistant and planned on leaving after the summer, but I fell in love with the community. That was five years ago, and since then I’ve worked in every house in one way or the other and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. L’Arche has become a second family to me, and I’ve loved seeing the community grow and change through the years. I’m the definition of an “animal person,” and I love drinking coffee, visiting new places, and being with my family, friends, and cats.

alex@larchecleveland.org

Ben Lyons

House Leader - Abbey House
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I grew up in Columbus, OH and moved to Cleveland to be closer to my family in Berea. I studied at The Ohio State University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education and a teaching license for Visual Art. During my studies, I worked and volunteered alongside people with developmental disabilities. There, I was first introduced to the writings of Henri Nouwen and first learned of L’Arche, which was closely aligned with my personal philosophy that friendship was a stronger motivator than material goods. After college, I moved to Sichuan province, China, where I worked as a ESL instructor at the university level for 2 ½ years. In addition, I was employed by the Mennonite Central Committee and worked with a local non-profit that helped to promote cultural exchange between schools in China and the US. After coming back to the US and deciding to move to Cleveland, I knew I had to connect with the L’Arche community here.  In 2018, I met the love of my life, Rebekah – a native of Shaker Heights – and am now happy to call Cleveland “home.”

ben@larchecleveland.org

Tina Young

House Leader - Agape House
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Tina, a longtime member of the L’Arche Cleveland community, brings laughter everywhere she goes. Tina has a background in criminal justice, and is an avid reader and is always on the lookout for new books and bookshelves. Tina lives in Cleveland with her husband, Cleveland, and dog, Gallagher.

tina@larchecleveland.org

Tanesha Welch

House Leader - Grace House
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Tanesha joined the L’Arche Cleveland community in 2018, and became a House Leader in 2020. She loves spending time with her family, friends, and her L’Arche community.

tanesha@larchecleveland.org

Jasmine Scott

House Leader - Mercy House
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Jasmine has lived in Cleveland for her whole life. She has always been attracted to working with people with disabilities, so she applied for an assistant position in 2017 and became house leader in 2020. Jasmine enjoys cooking, cleaning, spending time with her family and friends, and being with the core members.

Jylian Purtee

House Leader - Serenity House
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I am from Delaware, OH. I came to Cleveland to go to school at Cleveland State University, where I graduated with a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. I worked at Camp Echoing Hills, a Christian camp that serves individuals with disabilities, for the summers 2014-2017 and have been an active volunteer there since that time. I first learned about L’Arche when two of my close friends joined the community. In February 2019, I  joined the community myself and have loved getting to know the community. I’m an animal lover, so I love spending time with my cat and working on my aquarium, and I foster for a local cat rescue.

jylian@larchecleveland.org