Become an Assistant
Why become an Assistant
Whatever your stage of life, whatever your background and experience, L’Arche has something to offer, and so do you. We believe that as we live our ordinary moments together in Community we experience something extraordinary and develop long lasting relationships.
People choose to volunteer and live in L’Arche as an Assistant for a variety of reasons. Some are mature individuals wanting to give their lives new meaning through genuine and trusting relationships with others. Some come to L’Arche to learn or develop new skills and attitudes to people with an intellectual disability. Others may be professionals seeking a new context and deeper meaning within which to practice their chosen career. L’Arche are Christian communities which welcome people of all faiths and none; if you are hoping to develop your spiritual life there will be opportunities through regular worship, prayer, retreats and pilgrimages.
Whoever you are, in return for the gifts you’ll bring, you will discover a very simple and honest joy in the relationships you build with other people, both with and without intellectual disabilities. L’Arche is unique. We are an exceptional quality care and support provider; our model of support is congruent with State and Territory quality care frameworks and we offer people a way to live their faith in a Community. Excellence in care and a commitment to living Community life are essential. Find out more about what you can expect if you become an Assistant.
What is an Assistant?
There are several pathways to being part of a L’Arche Community- one is by becoming an Assistant who lives in a house- sharing and creating home with people who have intellectual disabilities (the term we use in L’Arche is Core Members) and other Assistants. Not all Assistants live-in and other people with qualifications in disability care work as live-out Assistants in the Community.
To find out more about becoming as Assistant
If you do not live in Australia you may be eligible to become an Assistant on the L’Arche Australia Companion Program (L’Arche Australia sponsored 12 month Temporary Activity 408 Visa). Please contact the National Leader L’Arche Australia and we will send you more information, contact email@example.com
If you are Australian and would like to apply to be a L’Arche Assistant, please contact the National Leader L’Arche Australia email firstname.lastname@example.org
Life as an assistant living in a community
It is important to realise that L’Arche is very much about “living with” rather than “doing for”. Within this are the practical steps of assisting people to become more independent so that they can participate more fully in community life and in the wider community.
A live-in L’Arche assistant supports Core Members to take part in the local life of the community. In your household, together you cook, clean and run a household; perhaps you support people in personal care, to go to work; support Core Members to maintain their social life, maintain contact with their friends and family. Most Communities have a range of regular events that you will be actively participating in.
The role of Assistant is engaging, complex, challenging rewarding and a way for you to secure new knowledge and skills.
What Benefits can I expect?
Becoming an L’Arche Assistant is an extraordinary and life changing experience. There are some things you need to consider if you are interested in joining one of our Communities:
Core Members (the people with intellectual disabilities) who make it their home determine the rhythm and culture of each L’Arche household.
As a live-in L’Arche Assistant you are asked to be an active member of the Community, this means a limited amount of personal time, including in the evenings and weekends.
Some Core Members can express frustrations through challenging behaviours. There is support available and this can be a great opportunity for you to develop new skills.
You may be asked to support Core Members with their personal care.
You will be expected to do housework. We have a saying in L’Arche – everyone needs to be prepared to clean the toilet!
In Australia L’Arche is Christian in its spiritual identity. However, we welcome people of all faiths, or none, but we expect you to be open to other people’s spirituality. We also expect you to respect our values and support our prayer traditions through participation.
It is important to understand that in Australia, L’Arche communities are faith communities and are professional Support Providers. They are regulated and inspected and must meet legislated standards.
When you join a Community…
When you volunteer in an L’Arche Community we will do our best to welcome you and support on you journey and lifestyle.
What can you expect?
Live-in Assistants receive food, accommodation, formation, holiday time and a personal allowance.
On a day-to-day basis, an Assistant is responsible and accountable to the Community Leader who directs and shapes the life of the community or their delegate. Assistants learn about the L’Arche identity and philosophy are helped to grow in responding to the needs of people with disability. You will receive induction and formation or training regularly and have the opportunity to participate in our mentorship program called ‘Accompaniment’, with a regular meeting.
Australian assistants have the option of working towards Certificate III in Disability Work, which can be completed over 18 months as part of the L’Arche Australia Fellowship.
After a three month probationary period will be welcomed into membership if you decide to stay in the Community.
Like all L’Arche members, you’ll be encouraged to have interests, connections and friends within the wider community of your town or city.