Taylor Walt serves as a JV AmeriCorps member with L’Arche Noah Sealth in Seattle, WA. October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month; L’Arche provides opportunities for people of different abilities to live and work together.
L’Arche is an organization that serves people with and without developmental disabilities to provide a loving and nurturing environment in adult family-style homes. The focus on the values of faith, dignity, and mutual respect shines through in every community, and I am fortunate enough to experience it personally in L’Arche Noah Sealth, the community in Seattle, WA. As the Activity Center Assistant, I interact with the Core Members on a daily basis and support them in a variety of ways. We explore different places surrounding the greater Seattle area, paint celebratory signs for other members of the community, or simply enjoy a hot mug of cocoa and good conversation. One amazing, unique aspect of the Activity Center is the production of gorgeous candles that the Core Members work enthusiastically to make every day.
Wax is a common sight in the Mamook Workshop. Whether it be melted in crock pots, hardened in pie tins, cubed to fill candle molds, or poured delicately to create beautiful masterpieces; wax is everywhere! The Core Members do the majority of all candle work, from chopping, to filling molds, and one member, Paul, weighs and prices each candle by hand! All of the candles are made from recycled wax, which is donated by local community members, churches, and friends of L’Arche. It is incredible to see boxes and boxes of old candles, especially after all the Holiday church services!
The Core Members at L’Arche are always ready to give back to the community that has welcomed them with open arms. It is wonderful to see their giving spirit and the love that goes into each candle sold. The Activity Center was created as a space for members of L’Arche to be part of something larger than themselves. The breathtaking candles are often sold to other L’Arche communities, area parishes, local shops, and even for weddings!
The candles seem to be a perfect representation of the amazing people that create them, and of L’Arche as a whole. Our community includes a variety of people, all different colors, shapes, and sizes. Some of the candles, like people, seem to have a personality of their own; some have chips, some lean to one side, others have a blend of colors that is surprising and refreshing to see. All of the candles are made with gentle hands and even gentler hearts. When they are shared throughout the community, you know that it is not just the candle that will burn brightly, but the light of this incredible L’Arche family.