Assistant Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply to become an assistant?

People from all walks of life. Assistants must be at least 18.

Anyone with:

  • Willingness to learn, Open heart, Commitment to Growth
  • Interest in living in an interfaith community
  • Interest in sharing life with those with ID/DD

When can I apply?

We accept applications on a rolling basis. Let us know your plans and we can set a start date to meet your needs.

How long do assistants stay?

Assistants join a community for a summer, a year or a lifetime! Some choose to do a year with a US L’Arche community so that they can prepare for a year with a L’Arche community abroad, in one of 37 other countries across the globe.

I heard that L’Arche is a faith-based community?

Yes! We are communities of faith, many rooted in Christianity, but open to people of all traditions, or those who don’t belong to a tradition. We seek members who are open to sharing from their tradition and learning from all traditions.

What will I get out of my time as an assistant?

A whole lotta personal growth. Many communities offer chances to attend retreats and formations and can refer you to a spiritual director. Most of our roles are live-in, and those assistants receive room and board. Domestic assistants receive an hourly wage (amount varies by community).

International voluntary assistants receive a living allowance. L’Arche assistants are also eligible to apply for a number of graduate program scholarships at universities like Boston College, Villanova, and Earlham.

How can I afford to be a L’Arche Assistant?

Many assistants find that they can save more money in L’Arche than in a volunteer service program, especially if they embrace the simple lifestyle embodied in our communities. L’Arche knows that many recent grads face significant student loan debt. Your L’Arche community can help direct you to resources about federal student loan deferment options.

Can I work a different part time job or go to school while serving as a full-time assistant?

Most communities will advise you to commit yourself fully to community life in L’Arche. Making several outside commitments will likely result in a lot of stress and burnout and detract from your ability to fully experience life in community. We occasionally have part-time, live out roles available. Be sure to note your interest in part time work on your online application.

Do I have to be a college grad?

No. Some communities prefer a college degree, but it is not necessary to be an assistant in L’Arche.

How is my community placement decided?

Our application process is one of mutual discernment. You get to ask questions and say yes or no to a community, and they’ll do the same for you. We ask potential assistants applying via L’Arche USA to be open to going where the need is greatest. We promise not to force you to go somewhere you don’t want to be. If you know that you want to apply to a specific L’Arche community, please apply to that community directly.

What if I’m still discerning whether L’Arche is right for me?

Contact us for a reading list on works by Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen. Find out if there’s a L’Arche community near you and attend their community nights. If you attend a university that hosts L’Arche service trips, sign up. If not, we can sometimes arrange for you to visit a L’Arche community for a short visit. Finally, contact our Recruitment Coordinator with questions.