Mean­ing­ful work at L’Arche

Rais­ing money for or­ga­ni­za­tion that gives dig­nity to those with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

“We be­lieve ev­ery­one de­serves the dig­nity of mean­ing­ful work.”

It’s a pow­er­ful state­ment and one that Josie MacEach­ern be­lieves whole­heart­edly. She is the devel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor at L’Arche Cape Bre­ton, an ec­u­meni­cal Chris­tian com­mu­nity in Iron Mines open to peo­ple with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties and those who choose to live and work with them.

For MacEach­ern and other staff mem­bers, the con­cept of mean­ing­ful work is key to help­ing and work­ing with those who live and take part in L’Arche.

“We have seven day pro­grams but that’s be­cause not ev­ery­body can do the same thing,” she said. “We have such tal­ented peo­ple.”

The pro­grams in­clude the An­gels Loft where crafts are pro­duced; the Ark and the Hope Chest, both used cloth­ing stores; the Old Hen Café; the Sun Flour Bak­ery; the Sun Flower, an or­ganic gar­den and green­house; and a sum­mer day camp for youth.

Work­ing within the L’Arche com­mu­nity is ap­plauded by those who live there.

“I do crayon batik art and paint­ing, wash dishes and make jew­elry. I like the fact that I am at work get­ting to see new peo­ple,” said core mem­ber Co­ralee MacDougall who works at the An­gel’s Loft.

“I love my friends,” says Chris Mathe­son. “I help make frames.”

L’Arche Cape Bre­ton was founded in 1983 by Tom and Anne Gunn. It is a com­mu­nity of about 50 peo­ple in­clud­ing 25 core mem­bers who live on site and who take part in the day pro­grams. It is in­cor­po­rated as a char­i­ta­ble so­ci­ety and is li­censed by the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices. That means fund­ing for L’Arche Cape Bre­ton houses comes from Com­mu­nity Ser­vices but the re­spon­si­bil­ity to fund the op­er­a­tional costs of the day pro­grams lies with


And that’s where Springfest comes in.

Springfest will be held Satur­day, June 3 at the Mem­ber­tou Trade and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, start­ing at 7 p.m. There will be a L’Arche pre­sen­ta­tion and video, desserts, tea and cof­fee and a live auc­tion.

“Springfest is our big­gest fundrais­ing event of the year,” says MacEach­ern. “Over half the beau­ti­ful peo­ple who call L’Arche Cape Bre­ton home are from the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and many of their fam­i­lies still live there. That is why we de­cided to host Springfest at Mem­ber­tou Trade and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre so that peo­ple from the CBRM can meet our com­mu­nity mem­bers and learn not only about what they have to of­fer but to see what amaz­ing arts and crafts they can pro­duce.”

Ad­mis­sion is $15. Tick­ets are avail­able at the Cape Bre­ton Cu­rios­ity Shop, Char­lotte Street or by call­ing 902-9452283 or 902-565-0006.


Buddy Payne holds up some of the colour­ful bowls that he cre­ates at L’Arche Cape Bre­ton.

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