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 Core Members (persons with intellectual disabilities) to prepare for their day by helping with personal care routines, having breakfast together, and then helping Core Members to head off to their work places or daytime activities. Once the Core Members 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 Core Members are welcomed when they return home. They may need accompaniment to do banking, shopping, or to go to appointments. After a long day, Core Members may just want to relax, watch TV, or rest. Assistants and Core Members take turns preparing the evening meal for the household. If you love cooking, this is a great way to share your talent. Inexperienced at cooking? You’ll learn a new skill and will have fun as you do it.
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. Often a candle is lit and we share our thoughts and reflections around our day and there is time for each one to express a prayer silently, or aloud . Then, we all help with the clean up after dinner before taking time for outings or leisure activities. Some people may go visit another house, some may go swimming, or some may go to visit family or a friend. Others may simply relax and hang out.
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. On Sunday mornings, we worship at our various churches and then head off to 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. Live in Assistants are also required to sleep in the homes 4-5 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.
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.