My role as Director of Care in L’Arche Chicago has taken a number of different shapes in the past couple of months as COVID-19, the winter months and the holidays brought its own unique challenges and rewards. My focus has remained on the health and wellbeing of the core members and the assistants, providing practical support along with bigger picture structural supports.
We recently welcomed a small handful of new assistants and I was lucky enough to be part of their initial time in L’Arche through their training and orientation. Conducted over Zoom and other odd and less-than ideal circumstances, the training still proved to be a rich time to connect and learn alongside new assistants. I’ve never trained a new assistant that didn’t ask a question that challenged me and my understanding of community. They always point out something I’ve yet to notice or explore.
Relatedly, in my role, I’ve begun doing more practical and specific training for the assistants on core member’s health as it relates to the direct care that assistants provide either through supporting routines or accompanying core members to doctor’s appointments. It’s been an incredibly fruitful space to have all of the assistants together from each home and discuss the full gamut of things like: shower routines, hearing aid maintenance or health histories. I believe that the result has been an even higher level of care provided for core members and peace of mind for the assistants knowing that they are providing consistent care and working in tandem with the other assistants.
In all of these trainings and in sharing time alongside assistants, I’m reminded by how blessed L’Arche is to draw such curious, kind and dedicated people to the assistant role.