Civic service in L'Arche: how does it work?

Living in a community

As a volunteer, you live and work in a house alongside people with a disability, other volunteers, assistants and leaders, thereby creating a "home". Supporting the educational staff, you contribute to bringing the soul of the home to life, both through your presence and your personal qualities. You participate in everyday activities, in the home and at work: meals, celebrations, housework and relaxation activities. You accompany people in their everyday routines. In short, it's like a family where everyone helps keep the house going!


Going to encounter the unexpected

Through a supportive, people-centred approach, the volunteer sets out to discover different cultures, traditions and nationalities. Life as a volunteer in L'Arche is a journey towards acceptance of difference: it is placing the weakest person at the heart of our lives and growing with him or her. It's being ready to be overwhelmed by an unexpected encounter from which you emerge transformed. It is allowing yourself time to reflect on your life choices and expectations. The spiritual dimension of each community allows and reinforces the value of this search.


Training and taking on responsibilities

As a volunteer, you are at the heart of life in the home and are supported by a team of professionals who train you, guide you and encourage you to take on responsibilities.

In concrete terms


☛ You live in a L'Arche home. You are given board and lodging.

☛ You receive a monthly allowance (approximately 480 €).

☛ You receive formation, which enables you to perform your role, as well as civic and citizenship training. 

☛ You are accompanied by a guardian.

☛ You benefit from full social security protection.

☛ Each month you are there entitles you to days off.



The impact of Civic Service at L'Arche on the young volunteers

Every year, L'Arche in France sends an end-of-mission survey out to all volunteers who have just completed their civic service. It is their opportunity to review their experience: how did they find their civic service? How would they judge their experience?  What difficulties did they confront? What have they taken away from this?

Would you like to know more about civic service in L'Arche, from the perspective of those who have experienced it?  Then click here to read the full results of the 2016 survey


« To love is not simply doing something for someone, it is also making them discover that s/he is unique, precious and worthy of attention. »

JEAN VANIER

Are you...

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...between 18 and 25?


You can be a volunteer on a full-time civic service contract for 6 to 12 months.

The allowance is covered by the State. 

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...over 25?

You can be a volunteer on a full-time association volunteer contract for 6 to 24 months. 

The allowance is covered by the association.


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French civic service

Civic service aims to enable young people to make a commitment to the community by carrying out missions serving the common good. By offering a life shared with people with an intellectual disability, L'Arche therefore offers a general interest mission which corresponds to the civic service programme.

The communities of L'Arche in France are approved by the French Civic Service agency in accordance with the civic service and association volunteering commitment.

Participate in an event with L'Arche

The L'Arche communities regularly organise events open to young people from all walks of life: out-of-the ordinary WYD, sporting events, weekend meetings and spiritual retreats... Check out the calendar.

Approaching a community

One way of establishing a link with the people is to approach the community nearest to where you live: participate in the events which are offered, spend time there regularly as a friend or get involved as a volunteer…

An internship in L'Arche in France

In L'Arche, we learn things we don't learn at school; we escape our social, cultural and intellectual backgrounds... Some discover this through an out-of-the-ordinary internship.