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L’Arche Tahoma Hope

Learn all you need to know about L’Arche Tahoma Hope in Tacoma, WA with the information below.

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Skills Needed

 Desire to work and develop mutual relationships with people with disabilities. Have an interest in building intentional community. Show capacity for creativity, flexibility, attention to detail, and teamwork. Conversational ASL/fingerspelling is an important relationship building tool but not required upon hire; there are core members in some homes who do use these to communicate, if you are supporting one of these homes that will be a part of your training. Be at least 18 years old. Ability to lift 50lbs (lift and transfer training provided.) Ability to pass a background check. Authorized to work in the United States. Valid driver’s license. Previous work with those with IDD is a plus, but not required.

Geographic Location

L’Arche Tahoma Hope is located in the city of Tacoma, Washington. Resting on the banks of the Puget Sound, it is home to around 200,000 folks. Our community has 4 homes, a Welcome Center for community activities and uniquely a Farm and Garden that employs core members and community members as a Group Supported Employment program. 1 of our homes is less than 10 minutes away from downtown and is near many popular restaurants, nightlife, a unique collection of locally owned coffee shops, antique stores and more. The other 3 homes, as well as our Farm and Welcome Center are in the south Tacoma/Midland area which has a quiet, country feel but is still just a short 20 minutes from downtown as well as still being within walking distance of stores and restaurants. A unique aspect of life in Tacoma is the equal accessibility to the bustling city of Seattle, as well as the national parks and recreational areas in the Olympic Peninsula and Cascade mountains. Tacoma is in the perfect spot for exploring almost any outdoor activity you can think of (hiking, biking, skiing, climbing, swimming, kayaking, fishing and more) while also having all the fun of city life if you wish.

Public Transportation

Tacoma has a bus system with stops that are about a 10-15 minute walk from 3 of our homes, with a bus stop closer to the fourth home. The bus will take you into the downtown area, where it is easier to get from place to place. There is a  reliable commuter train, the Sounder, that will take you to and from Seattle for a daytrip, as well as an Amtrak route that offers an economically friendly trip along the cascades, from Vancouver to Eugene, with many fun towns and cities like Portland to explore in between!

Community Description

Our assistants come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. One of the joys of our community is the many different spiritual practices that are celebrated and shared between assistants. The majority of assistants are mid-20s to mid-30s, but there are many friends of the community and long term volunteers who range from 10-90!  We currently have 16 core members ranging in age from 30 to 70 and have been at L’Arche Tahoma Hope from 7 to 45 years.

Community Strengths

We have many long term members who carry a lot of stories from the early days of our community. They hold a thread of history, tradition and long standing relationships. We’ve worked hard to create a sustainable community life and welcome people to stay as long as they’d like!

Thanks partly to our Farm and Welcome Center, we also have a very strong connection with the wider disability community in Tacoma. The Welcome Center provides weekly activities that are open to core members in our homes as well as folks in the Tacoma area who are looking to build community in a safe and welcoming place. The Farm also has many long term employees who have become integral parts of the community as well.  

The Farm itself is a huge source of strength for our community, not just a place of employment or a unique volunteer opportunity, or a place that provides fresh produce to the community. The Farm acts as a meditative place to reconnect with the earth, functioning for many as the unofficial second chapel.

*Please note that assistants who work in the homes do not spend paid time working on the Farm, but are welcome to volunteer and to enjoy the bounty of the harvest and the beauty of the fields. 

Our community offers part-time and full-time live out opportunities as well as live-in opportunities.  This flexibility allows for a meaningful L’Arche experience through many different stages of life!

Community Challenges

Balancing the need for safety as well as connection during COVID-19 has certainly been a challenge. A lot of our programming has needed to change formats so that we can still find ways to be together as a community while responding to what is happening with the pandemic.

Your Responsibilities

While the primary goal of Assistants is to develop mutual relationships with Core Members, build community, and spread hope, there are a number of responsibilities that accompany the role. Assistants are trained as qualified caregivers to provide direct support for Core Members (adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities) in activities of daily living, financial management, medical care, licensing documentation, and transportation. Assistants also help to maintain the homes by preparing meals, tending the outdoor spaces, cleaning common spaces, and doing other household tasks. Assistants participate in the life of the community by helping with community meals, worship and celebrations.

What you should know before coming

You must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, take a 2-step TB test and have either negative results or documented adequate therapy, complete 75 hours of Home Care Aid (HCA) training within your first 120 days of employment, for which you will be provided training, and become HCA certified within the first 200 days of your employment at L’Arche Tahoma Hope. Yes the rumors are true, Western Washington is very rainy for many months of the year! Our winters are described as mild but there are many months of shorter days and rain. Definitely pack your raincoat and rain boots. 🙂

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Contact L'Arche Tahoma Hope

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