What is an Intentional Community?

What is an “Intentional Community”? Have you ever heard of one? It’s ok if you haven’t, the concept and implementation of them is still fairly new; to our culture at least. While similar concepts have been experimented with throughout the centuries and around the world, and though we are beginning to see new versions of them pop up all around the world, this concept as presented to us remains somewhat in its infancy and unique in its approach.

In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, we have moved away from values which nurture connection, community, belonging, and togetherness, like some collectivists cultures still hold dear within their hearts. Like Individualist vs. Collectivist cultures, you might also consider the early notion of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft which contrasts small, rural communities with large, urban societies. More philosophies which inspire thought into these types of settings are Social Networking Theory (being organized in a group of others with similar interests influences behavior) and Social Capital Theory (Networking with others improves the quantity and quality of resources available to you). With these concepts in mind, we can start to understand the importance of being intentional about our social setting.

An Intentional Community is a planned/organized community in which persons with similar goals or interests reside. While the structure of each community differs, as well as the interests to which they are based on, the idea remains that belonging, engagement, and inclusivity with a supportive social network brings happiness and improves overall satisfaction of life.

Some intentional communities are called communes (sharing almost everything including living spaces), while others are considered cohousing arrangements (independent homes in shared properties or settings) or ecovillages (arranged around sustainability). These are just a few examples. There are also spiritual communities which are social networks that come together to practice a shared faith.

Angelica Village is an arrangement of multiple houses within a few miles of each other for the most part in Lakewood, CO, which are homes to individuals and families. Angelica Village is a nonprofit organization which operates through funds and donations to provide refugees of war and violence, immigrants seeking asylum status, former homeless individuals and families, foster youth, individuals with special abilities, and individuals who may have experienced more privilege and stability who recognize the value of an intentional community, wish to support this unique gathering of people for personal or political reasons, or simply find joy in sharing what they have. One aspect that is unique to its approach is that members of the Angelica Village Board are members who reside in the Angelica Village Community.

Angelica Village currently provides housing to several individuals and families (some of which are duplex/apartment complexes), and also supports individuals and families who have transitioned out of Angelica Village’s foster house as youth and pursued their own homes upon adulthood (not provided by Angelica Village) but still wish to remain a part of the community.

Angelica Village does more than provide housing. Angelica Village provides resources to those in need and nurtures a community of giving and receiving. A few examples of how Angelica Village does this: transportation (members of the community give each other rides to necessary events when resources are available), community garden (members of the community gather to work on the garden and enjoy its bounty every Saturday together at the foster home), donations (Angelica Village distributes donations to those who are in need with integrity), spirituality (fosters a community of spiritual growth).

Angelica Village also provides enrichment services that do more than meet basic needs. Angelica Village encourages participation in events, art, sports, music, stability plans, employment plans, leadership/growth development, financial mentoring, personal mentoring, tutoring, and more.

Throughout this process, Angelica Village models what it means to have and provide dependable support that all humans deserve and benefit from.

To become a part of Angelica Village, consider becoming a pillar of support through monthly or one-time donations, or visit our Facebook page to sign up and volunteer. Angelica Village welcomes those who are curious about the community and want to know more about it.

Visit https://www.ic.org/ if you are interested in learning more about intentional communities.