I joined L’Arche Saint John this summer because the only certainty I know about my future career is that I want to help people. I knew L’Arche would create an amazing opportunity where I can help others during my co-op experience.
It came as a surprise, however, that McKim House helped me more than I could ever reciprocate.
Before applying to be a live-in assistant at L’Arche Saint John, I had no idea what to expect other than what was written in the job description. The journey I was about to embark on would be filled with the unknown. Ultimately, it was my biggest step towards independence thus far.
During my time at McKim House, I began to see how celebration and community are central to L’Arche life. One core value of L’Arche is the recognition that each person is valued and celebrated – and does McKim House ever celebrate! Every important event includes a specially curated menu, theme, and guest list. Many of these birthday and anniversary celebrations are some of the best celebrations I’ve ever been a part of.
The people at McKim House modeled to me the importance of community. This was expressed in many ways, such as weekly movie nights, community garden nights, vacationing together, and weekend drives. I also saw community expressed at community prayer, a time where we sit together, pray, and sing songs. My favourite member of Sarah happened when, during a prayer one night, she lit up with laughter as we all sang “Roll Over the Ocean.”
I am left with a lesson from each core member, which I believe deserve to be shared. From Krista, I learned new ways to compliment someone’s wardrobe. Deb taught me that “it’s great to have friends,” and Sarah showed me the importance of laughter. Stéphane demonstrated the importance of getting out for a walk everyday, and Pat taught me that when it comes to choosing the weekly movie, with great power comes great responsibility.
At a time when I was away from my family for longer than I have ever been, in a new province with no one I knew, McKim House became my family – my home away from home.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude towards each assistant and core member at McKim House. You’ve left me with a lifetime of memories and lessons that I will take with me into the future. While this opportunity offered challenges, such as learning new ways of communication and conflict resolution, the most challenging part of all was having to say goodbye. Living at McKim House is easily one of my favourite experiences, filled with fond memories I will look back on for years to come.
Thank you to everyone who impacted my journey in Saint John, and I hope to be back to visit in the future.
Live-in Assistant, Summer 2021