FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Q: What does L'Arche mean and how is it pronounced?

A: The French word L’Arche rhymes with marsh and means “the ark,” a symbol of refuge and the first covenant between God and humanity.

Q: How, when and by whom was L'Arche Jacksonville founded?

A: Originally formed as Harbor House in 1985, the community joined the international federation of L’Arche communities in 1992. Founded in the Catholic tradition, we welcome people of all faiths. L’Arche Jacksonville is the only L’Arche community in Florida.

Q: What is the guiding principle of L'Arche?

A: Our Founder Jean Vanier expressed it like this: “L’Arche believes in the dignity of every person. This is expressed in a life shared between people with an intellectual disability and those choosing to join them in community. We seek to help each other to grow and develop toward our potential.”

Q: How does L'Arche work on a day-to-day basis?

A: A simple answer can be found in the Charter of L’Arche International: Home life is at the heart of a L’Arche community. The different members of a community are called to be one body. They live, work, pray and celebrate together, sharing their joys and their suffering and forgiving each other, as in a family. They have a simple lifestyle that gives priority to relationships.

Q: Where is L'Arche Jacksonville located?

A: Our four homes and the Blanchart Community Center are situated next door to Christ The King Church on Arlington Road in Jacksonville’s Arlington area. The Rainbow Workshop, our day program that nurtures creativity and personal growth, is located right across the street.

Q: How many persons with intellectual disabilities live at L'Arche Jacksonville?

A: Currently, 20 adults with intellectual disabilities are in residence. We have made a commitment to care for these core members for life.

Q: How many assistants are in residence?

A: Numbers fluctuate, but we strive for a one-to-one assistant-to-core member ratio. Most assistants live in the community. A few live outside the community. All assistants share daily life with core members.

Q: What is the role of volunteers?

A: We rely on community supporters to sustain us in our work. Volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rainbow workshop aides
  • Board and Auxiliary Committee members
  • Fundraiser participants
  • Special projects workers
  • Friends and visitors

Individuals, churches and groups are welcome! Please contact us to find out more. A good way to start a relationship is by attending a Community Night, held most first Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. in the Blanchart Community Center at L’Arche Jacksonville. Please contact us for details.

Q: What is the legal status of L'Arche Jacksonville?

A: We are a non-profit 501c3 agency. Donations in support of L’Arche Jacksonville are gratefully received and are fully tax deductible.