Become an assistant

Discover a you you never knew

What is a L’Arche Assistant?

At L’Arche, persons 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 within the house and the larger community.

What do assistants do?

Assistants work to build a relationship of mutual care and support with persons with disabilities; foster a home life of unity, mutual respect and participation by all members; provide direct care and assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, money management, medical care, appointments, family and work connections, household chores, laundry, medications, meal preparation and transportation.

Who becomes a L’Arche assistant?

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 range in age from 18 to 50s and 60s. 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 organization, 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 an assistant?

No. Some people who come to work in L’Arche have experience working with people with disabilities, but most do not. The first requirement is that applicants have a desire to share life together in a community setting. In addition, one must be able to perform the duties as outlined in the assistant role description. Assistants participate in training and orientation required to meet state licensure, such as first aid and CPR, food handling, core competency and others. L’Arche Jacksonville also provides educational experiences and formation on other topics, including spiritual and personal growth.

Qualifications to become an assistant?

A desire:

  • To share your life with people with intellectual and physical disabilities
  • To help build a faith community founded on the Beatitudes

A willingness:

  • To participate in daily prayer in the house and during weekly services
  • To be part of a team, assuming responsibilities both in the house and community

An ability:

  • To communicate, both verbally and non-verbally and in writing
  • To perform practical life skills such as cooking, household management and driving vehicles
  • To be creative, flexible and a good time manager

What type of time commitment is asked of an assistant?

We ask assistants to make an initial commitment of one year, with the first month being a trial period and the first three months a time of orientation. This time allows the assistant and the community to discover whether the choice to come to L’Arche is a good fit. Some assistants decide that because they are growing in L’Arche, they will renew their commitment for another year or two. Because of the nature of L’Arche, building and fostering intentional relationships 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 L’Arche is a thoughtful process made with support from peers, community coordinators, and others who surround the assistant in community.

  • Full-time live-in assistants receive room & board and an hourly rate.
  • All assistants have private bedrooms.
  • Assistants have two personal days each week and 2–4 hours of personal time each day.
  • Assistants receive full medical and dental benefits.
  • An assistant may be given an opportunity to participate in a L’Arche retreat or gathering outside of L’Arche Jacksonville. The community will cover the cost of travel and registration.
  • Each assistant is given 18 days vacation (includes holidays) during the first year of commitment.

How does the application process work?

You should hear from someone at L’Arche Jacksonville within one week of receiving your application, letting you know if you are invited to continue the application process. We may ask you to visit the community for a short time, if possible.