Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
August 29, 2023 // Diocese

At Sharing Meadows, Villagers Find a ‘Yes’ in a World Full of ‘No’

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

Can I ride the tractor? Can I bake a loaf of banana nut bread? Can I take a college math class? Can I make soap and sugar scrubs?

Often, other-abled or intellectually disabled people hear “no” to these questions (and so many others). At Sharing Meadows, they hear “yes,” followed by encouragement and celebration for their desire to try something new.

Sharing Meadows resident Laura holds up a recent edition of the “Good News” newsletter on Tuesday, August 15. One of her responsibilities at the residential facility in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, is helping to fold and stuff monthly newsletters. Laura, who has lived at Sharing Meadows for 13 years, is a proud member of the SHARE Foundation, a not-for-profit, privately funded Christian organization with a mission to provide residential living, services, and support programs for other-abled adults in a peaceful and loving Midwestern community.

Sharing Meadows, a residential community in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, sits on 200 acres of a picturesque rural landscape. Visitors will find a lake, a Stations of the Cross area, woods with fruit and nut trees, an area to foster a deeper devotion to the Blessed Mother with a statue of Mary, plants, and small gardens. It has five communities (or villages) – St. John, St. Vincent, St. Theresa, St. Jane and St. Joan, and St. Mary and St. Joseph. Each village has three homes, with each home being shared by two other-abled adults and a full-time steward. Villagers follow a daily work schedule accompanied by vocational training, academic classes, free time with friends, regular outings, and Mass on Sundays.

Villagers Laura, Becky, Tina, and Tonya pose on Tuesday, August 15, with Bill Harmon, Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation at Sharing Meadows in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, and show off the rosaries they made, which can be purchased at

“We are participating in growing a family at SHARE,” said Bill Harmon, Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation. “We follow Father [Dennis] Blaney’s belief that as long as we keep God at the forefront of our decisions, we will never fail. He will bless us because we are doing His work.”

Sharing Meadows is part of the SHARE Foundation, a not-for-profit, privately funded Christian organization with a mission to provide residential living, services, and support programs for other-abled adults, following the dream of founder Father Dennis Blaney. After outreach from parents of developmentally disabled children brought to light the lack of opportunities for other-abled persons, Father Blaney made it his mission to find solutions that provide full, dignity-filled lives for God’s children.

“The people here inspire me,” Father Blaney said. “Here they have responsibility; we have them do things they wouldn’t have the chance to do otherwise.” He said many villagers love knowing they can ride the tractor and do lawn work. Two hundred walnut trees were hand-planted by Father Blaney to provide a food source and income stream for the villagers.

Father Dennis Blaney, Founder and President of the SHARE Foundation, hugs Barb, a resident at Sharing Meadows on Tuesday, August 15. Father Blaney, a retired priest of the Diocese of Gary, founded the organization.

“People here like each other, and that’s what we want is for everyone to have continued friendship with each other,” said Father Blaney, a retired priest of the Diocese of Gary.

According to its website, the residents work on the grounds five days a week, keeping Sharing Meadows beautiful and clean. When they are not at work, the residents are free to relax at home, spend time in town, or do whatever they choose. Stewards are always with the residents to provide companionship and guidance, and also to help the villagers meet their personal goals. The domestic environment is a unique opportunity for residents to live as independently as possible while being supported in a family-like surrounding. Each home consists of a kitchen, living room, laundry/utility room, dining room, bedroom with attached bath for the steward, two separate bedrooms (one per villager), and a bathroom that villagers share.

Harmon said that the SHARE Foundation receives no government support and gets funding for Sharing Meadows through fundraising and donations. The generosity of others provides the homes and services at no cost to the residents. “We don’t charge the family,” Harmon said.

Bill Harmon, Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation, poses with David, a resident at Sharing Meadows, who shows off the rosaries he made in one of the craft rooms on Tuesday, August 15. The resident-made rosaries can be purchased at

Sharing Meadows also offers camps for individuals and families looking for short stays away from home. The camps offer a safe environment where other-abled adults can discover and develop as they strive to reach their full potential. Campers have fun while learning faith-based values, participating in arts and crafts, swimming, learning about animals with equestrian and therapy dogs, and participating in a musical theater performance. It is the starting point for many villagers to see if independent living is the right fit for them.

“Camp allows you to live out that life on a temporary basis,” Harmon said.

Laura has been living at Sharing Meadows for 13 years and loves living on the grounds. She came to the community after her father passed away.

Bill Harmon, Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation, poses with Tina, a resident at Sharing Meadows, on Tuesday, August 15.

“I love about everything,” said Laura. “I love it out here. They are kind to me.”

Laura is an artist who loves to color, knit, and attend Mass. She has participated in the Special Olympics in swimming and bowling, advancing to state in Terre Haute, winning a gold medal in bowling and a silver medal in swimming.

The amazing workers and volunteers are the backbone of the organization and one of the key reasons for its success.

“My team is really amazing and full of caring individuals,” Harmon said.

Sister Theopista of the Sisters of St. Joseph works at Sharing Meadows and loves the opportunity to connect with the villagers. Each day, they watch “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” together, and she is amazed at how the villagers always know the answers to the puzzles and questions so quickly.

One of the ways villagers at Sharing Meadows spend each day is by working in the craft rooms creating various wood, ceramic, sewing, soap, rosary, and cooking products to earn money for various activities. This lavender soap from their spa line of products is available at

“When I teach a villager something, I actually learn more from them,” Sister Theopista said.

Harmon is proud of the work being done at Sharing Meadows and the strong friendships among the villagers.

“I hope it provides a life of independence they have always dreamed of,” Harmon said. “We really try to make their dreams come true.”

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