“It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of community.”
There are many ways for you to enter into the life and spirit of L’Arche. Perhaps you have an interest in working with people who have intellectual disabilities. Perhaps you feel a spiritual resonance with L’Arche’s vision of solidarity with persons who have been marginalized. Maybe it's just a sense that there must be something more to life. Whether your interest is as a volunteer, financial contributor or as a live-in assistant, we would like to hear from you!
Becoming an Assistant
Be an Assistant at L'Arche
People with an intellectual disability are known as "core members" and “assistants” are those who come to share life with them. Assistants accompany core members in their activities of daily life: creating home and supporting core members in sharing their gifts and abilities within the house and the larger community.
What do Assistants do?
Assistants work to build a relationship of mutual care and support with people with intellectual disabilities; fostering a home life that embodies unity, mutual respect and participation by all members. Assistants also provide direct care support and promote skill building for core members. All of this includes, but is not limited to, personal care needs, money management, medical care, appointments, family and work relationships and connections, household chores, laundry, medications, meal preparation, and transportation. An important aspect of an assistant’s role is supporting the person with an intellectual disability in ‘life planning’, that is, assisting the person with an intellectual disability in making informed choices and working out ways together to best meet the person’s needs, hopes and aspirations.
Who becomes a L’Arche Assistant?
For us, some of the most important criteria are an open heart, willingness to learn, commitment to personal growth, and belief in the unique sacredness and value of every individual. Assistants can range in age from the early 20s on up. Assistants come to L’Arche from all stages of life: after college, as a shift from a previous career, or after their formal career. As an international organisation, we also often welcome assistants from other countries, which can add a unique cultural diversity to our communities.
Do I need special training to be a L’Arche Assistant?
Some people who come to live in L'Arche may already have experience working with people with intellectual disabilities, but most have not. The first requirement is that applicants have a desire to share life together in a faith community setting living alongside people with intellectual disabilities. In addition, potential assistants must be able to perform the duties as outlined in the assistant role description, i.e., as a caregiver for people with disabilities. Besides training in skills for caregiving, L'Arche provides educational experiences on broader topics that help assistants reflect on their vision for humanity and to grow in their relationships with others. Underlying all training and support is the belief that the quality of life of the people with intellectual disabilities is directly affected by the way caregivers think and relate and the view of the world that they hold.
Qualifications to become a L’Arche Assistant?
Assistants must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, requirements include: Secondary school/High School completed, or equivalentInterest in living in a Christian faith community alongside people with intellectual disabilitiesCreativity, flexibility, attention to detail, and ability to organise timeAbility to communicate in English, both in writing and verballyAbility to work as part of a team.
What sort of commitment does L’Arche in Ireland ask of its Assistants?
Most assistants commit to a year or two to L’Arche, although some of our communities welcome assistants for a shorter period of time. Some assistants may also be invited to renew their commitment at the end of that time. Because of the nature of L’Arche, building and fostering intentional relationship and community, a year or two offers community members time to settle into life together. There are also assistants who build a long-term home at L’Arche. The decision to continue living in L’Arche usually follows a thoughtful process for each assistant made with support from their peers, community coordinators, and others who surround the assistant in community.
To apply to become a L'Arche Assistant, please choose one community that you would like to join and contact them directly.
Peter Brabazon and Sandrine Dunlop- firstname.lastname@example.org
Jose Clemente- email@example.com
Maria Kearney- firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Shivley - email@example.com
Please contact only ONE community at a time please. Applying to more than one community will confuse the process and slow down your application.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to become involved as an occasional volunteer in one of our communities. Help prepare a meal in one of the homes or lend a hand with the household chores. Spend a day in the garden or in the administration office. Or just be a friend to one of our core members or assistants. What you do is not as important as just being here. No matter about your age, your skills or your gifts, we have a place for you! Contact the L'Arche Community office near you to find out more about volunteering at L'Arche.
Becoming a Volunteer
By Bob McLoughlin
Previous Homes Coordinator - L'Arche Kilkenny
In the middle of your life,
you consider a change,
a leaving and arriving,
an ending and a beginning.
Not because you have to
but because you want to,
and that makes all the difference.
Not because of what you need and want,
but because of the unfulfilled needs of others.
Hopeful, that in this marriage of lives
that the satiation of your needs
comes through serving others.
That you are enriched as you help someone
brush their teeth,
cook their meals,
listen to their tears,
wallow in their laughing,
see the message in their silence.
So you say yes.
You make a commitment
and step into a house,
ready or not.
Ode to a Volunteer
Becoming a Financial Supporter
Each L'Arche community throughout the world is responsible for its own administration and funding. The communities in Ireland are 80% government funded, 20% is from fund-raising and from the gifts of friends. These gifts and voluntary donations are essential for the overall running and development of L'Arche in Ireland. We also appreciate and thank all of you who support us through prayer. We believe this is a valuable contribution to our communities.