Become an Assistant

The role of assistant is diverse, and most people find their time in a L’Arche community to be life-giving, challenging, and fun. To apply to become an assistant with L’Arche USA, please complete the L’Arche USA Assistant Application and send it by e-mail to Recruitment Coordinator Laura Kerlin at

If you have have questions or want to learn more about becoming an assistant, please contact Laura Kerlin at

Eileen Schofield and Kara Olenick visit a farm together. Photo by Dale Iglesia

What is a L’Arche assistant?

At L’Arche, persons with a developmental 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 supports and skill building for core members: personal care needs, money management, medical care, appointments, family and work connections, household chores, laundry, medications, meal preparation, and transportation.

Who becomes a L’Arche assistant?

For us, some of 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 can range in age from the early 20s to mid-40s and older. 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.

If you’re considering applying, you may find it helpful to download and complete the L’Arche Mapping Process. (This is not required to apply and is for your personal use only. It is designed to help people make decisions and set priorities for their lives.)

Do I need special training to be an assistant?

Christianne and Rebecca of L'Arche Chicago relax during a picnic.

Christianne and Rebecca of L’Arche Chicago relax during a picnic.

Some people who come to work in L’Arche have experience working with people with disabilities, but most have 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, e.g. , as a caregiver for people with disabilities. Besides training in skills for caregiving, L’Arche provides educational experiences on broader topics that help its members to reflect on their vision of humanity and to grow in their relationships with others. It does so believing that the quality of life of the people with developmental disabilities is directly affected by the way caregivers think and relate and the view of the world that they hold.

Qualifications to become an assistant?

Assistants must be at least 18 – 20 years old, depending on the locale of the L’Arche community. Additionally, qualifications include:

  • College education preferred
  • Interest in living in a faith community founded on the Beatitudes
  • Desire to work with individuals with disabilities (Experience with people with disabilities is not a requirement)
  • Creativity, flexibility, attention to detail, and ability to organize time
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team

What sort of commitment does L’Arche ask of assistants?

Most assistants dedicate a year or two to L’Arche, although some of our communities welcome assistants for a shorter period of time. Some assistants also choose to renew their commitment at the end of that time. Because of the nature of L’Arche, building and fostering intentional relationship and community, a year or two offers community members time to settle into life together. There are also assistants that build a long-term home at L’Arche. The decision to continue living L’Arche is a thoughtful process for each assistant made with support from their peers, community coordinators, and others who surround the assistant in community.

To apply, please fill out and submit the L’Arche USA Assistant Application.


Please fill out this basic L’Arche application thoughtfully, being careful to include any information that will help us understand your interest in becoming an assistant. You can submit the completed application by email to Laura Kerlin, Recruitment Coordinator.

What to Expect

You should hear from someone in the L’Arche USA office within five to ten business days of submitting your application letting you know if you are invited to continue to the next application review and offering some additional information about L’Arche. At that point you will work with the L’Arche USA contact to pass your basic application on to an individual L’Arche community. At the community level you will be asked to fill out a more detailed application, you may set up a time to visit the L’Arche community, and you will discuss setting up an interview for the assistant position.

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