One of the hidden impacts of L'Arche is the effect it has on young people who spend time in our community before continuing with their careers.
Many of the people who choose to work in L’Arche do so as part of their own life journey; sometimes as part of a gap year, sometimes as a spiritual need to do something rewarding and fulfilling. It’s almost always true to say that our assistants’ experiences of disability, difference and community go on to enrich the rest of their lives. Often this huge impact is a result of a key relationship with a person with learning disabilities.
Amit, from the Gujarat region of India, says that coming to L'Arche was a long journey for him.
"Before joining L’Arche, I was settled in a small town in India. I did many jobs, like office administrator in a charity, counsellor and then manager in educational institutes, project coordinator for some international projects and business development officer for a multi-speciality hospital. All these jobs were just to earn money and to be a 'wheel on the cart'; helping to run the family, the world or however you want to put it. At the end of the day, it was not something which gave me peace in my heart. I had been a social work student and I had really only ever been interested in that. So in 2014, I decided to change my life, my career. I wanted to do something with which I feel peace; now I feel that I am doing something for people who are in need. One of my friends has worked in L’Arche for a long time and I came to know about L’Arche from him and that's how I found what I wanted.
Soon it will be 2 years that I have been working, or I should say living, in L’Arche. I enjoy my work here; I enjoy the life with core members whether it's the times when we laugh, or when we worry; when we just go for a walk, prepare a meal or sing at our famous karaoke nights.
I am just thankful to God that there is a place like L’Arche where it’s possible to work in this kind of environment. Every organisation has a subject to work on or towards; it can be business, education, arts, services or whatever. I consider myself privileged because in L’Arche, we work on life".
Jocelyn, who is a graduate from Colorado in the USA, writes:
"My name is Jocelyn and I am from Brighton, Colorado in the United States. I first learned about L'Arche from a professor who was insistent that I shouldn't exit college just to go directly into a meaningless job, as he could tell I wanted more from life. The moment I truly came to understand L'Arche, I was sure that it would be the perfect 'next step' for me after earning my bachelor's degree.
I suppose that I hope to gain many things from living in L'Arche in Ipswich, but after the first two months that I've been here, I've realised that learning to relinquish control and to truly understand how to support others, whilst maintaining their freedom, will be my biggest takeaway".