L'Arche Canada

Assistant Role

Through friendship, meaningful work, fun social activities, and home life, Assistants and Core Members build communities of belonging together.

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Becoming a L’Arche Assistant is an extraordinary and life-changing experience.

A day in the life…

No two days are alike in L’Arche. You’ll find that typical days in L’Arche are joyful and life-giving, as well as, busy and challenging. Life in L’Arche is a daily adventure, where togetherness is built into the stuff of everyday life.

Mornings in L’Arche can be a busy time of the hustle and bustle of preparing for the day. As an Assistant, you will be supporting persons with intellectual disabilities to prepare for their day by helping with personal care routines, having breakfast together, and then helping the persons with disabilities to head off to their work places or daytime activities. Once the they have gone off to work, assistants attend to various household and community responsibilities like: cleaning up, running errands, attending community meetings, trainings, or formations.

Afternoons: The persons with disabilities are welcomed when they return home. They may need accompaniment to do banking, shopping, or to go to appointments. After a long day, they may just want to relax, watch TV, or rest. Everyone take turns preparing the evening meal for the household.

Evenings: At dinner everyone sits down and shares a meal together. This is an important time in the day to share news, chat, celebrate and simply be with one another. After the meal, we spend time together either at the table or in the living room to sit with each other and reflect.

Weekends: On weekends, the schedule is more relaxed. People typically sleep in and enjoy a slower time together. There are chores around the house that need to be done, but there is also an atmosphere of leisure as a weekend typically brings. Fun outings and activities are planned, as well as time to hang out and relax. During the weekend, many members attend services at their churches, temples, or mosques, and this time is built into whatever else the weekend brings.

Scheduling:

Each community handles scheduling a bit differently, but typically assistants live in the home and have two days off per week. Assistants are scheduled to support the home 40-44 hours each week. Live-in Assistants are also required to sleep in the homes 5 nights per week. Assistant schedules are planned in advance by the House Leader of each home in consultation with house team members to ensure that the needs of all Core Members are met. Flexibility is needed in scheduling to accommodate special needs in the home.

Because life in a L’Arche home can be very busy, each assistant is given personal time each day. It is important that Assistants use this time to reenergize themselves and to ensure they stay “well” within the community. Assistants are encouraged to rest, exercise, socialize or do personal errands. Assistants plan their personal time with the members of their team based on scheduling and the needs of the home.

There are some things you need to consider if you are interested in joining one of our communities:

  • The rhythm of each L’Arche house is set by the needs of the people with intellectual disabilities (Core Members) who have made it their home.
  • As a live-in Assistant you will typically live with at least 5-7 other people.
  • Everyone is given their own bedroom space.
  • Sharing life in a community isn’t a 9 to 5 job. Our model integrates working and living together and therefore we need to be present to each other beyond typical workplace hours; Personal time is built into the structure of each day, typically taken in the afternoon.
  • Assistants are asked to support Core Members with personal care.
  • You will be expected to do a share of the housework.
  • In L’Arche, we discover meaning in sharing daily life and reflecting on our common humanity. Expressions of spirituality and community traditions in L’Arche are shaped by people of different beliefs and experiences.
  • We are regulated and inspected by the government and must legally meet set standards of competence. Therefore, all Assistants are supported to participate in required training.

More Career Opportunities

We are always happy to welcome new Assistants to the role of living with, supporting, and developing friendships with our members with intellectual disabilities.

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In a world so often divided by difference, L’Arche creates inclusive communities where people of many differences live and work together.

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Assistants will be supported to learn and grow through their daily lives in their home and community, and, through our more formal Leadership Training Programs.

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There are many opportunities to volunteer in a L’Arche community.

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Hundreds of people come to L’Arche communities each year to learn, to grow, and to have an extraordinary life-changing experience. Most make an initial commitment of one year. Many Assistants will choose to stay at L’Arche for several years, and some for their entire career.

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