Become a
Core Member

“My shoes were tattered runners, and I really wanted new shoes. A few days after arriving at L'Arche, Sr. Marie took me shopping and we found a special pair of shoes for my feet. Supper that night was very festive. I said 'Sister Marie, I can dance now. Come dance with me!'”

Hazel, Founding Core Member

Since 1964, L’Arche has pioneered a family model of care, where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together in mutual relationships.

While many disability agencies operate using a medical or social service model of care – seeing people with disabilities as patients or clients to be helped – L’Arche believes that each person, no matter their ability, has value and contributes unique gifts to our community.

Our care model is based on the belief that people with disabilities are not patients, clients, residents or service users – but teachers, guides, companions, and friends.

Within the L'Arche model:

People with disabilities are called Core Members - not patients, clients, or service users - because they are at the core of everything we are and everything we do.

The people who support Core Members are called Assistants - not staff, support workers, or aides - because their mission is to do things with Core Members, not for them. Being an Assistant is more than a job.

Our interactions with each other are based on friendship - we believe friendship is just as important as professionalism. Mutual relationships built on trust and respect are necessary to promote personal growth and well-being for our Core Members.

In our homes, most of the employees are Live-In Assistants. Live-In Assistants stay in the home alongside Core Members full-time; they don't leave at the end of the day. Live-In Assistants eat, sleep, work, and play in the house because it's their home too. This is why we call it a "family model of care" - everyone lives there, like any other family.

Everyone in the home - Core Members and Assistants alike - are equally responsible for completing daily living tasks. Everyone does their part to help, in ways that are practical and suitable for each person.

Our unique model of care means that staffing ratios at L’Arche tend to be lower than at other agencies. Usually, there is one Assistant for every one or two Core Members.

If this sounds like a good fit for you or someone you know, please Contact Us with any questions.

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