Katie brings a wealth of experience both within L'Arche and in supporting people with disabilities in the wider community. A former live-out assistant and Community Coordinator at L'Arche Portland, Katie most recently served as Program Manager for Up and Out, Inc., a nonprofit which provides community integrated services and individualized residential living options to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. As Program Manager of Up and Out, Inc.'s residential apartments location, Katie coordinated the health, medical, and financial needs for the residents and oversaw training and supervision for their direct care staff.
Here's a note from Katie herself about coming into this role at L'Arche Portland:
Joyfully, I would like to introduce myself as L’Arche Portland’s new Director of Care. To old friends, I am so grateful for this full-time return to daily life and the reconnection it offers. To new friends, it is with humility that I step into this leadership position during an exciting chapter of growth for the community. As we embark on a new season with new assistants and new ideas on the forefront, I look forward to listening to and working with each of you.
On August 5th I was formally welcomed into the role during an evening prayer night. I was given a L’Arche visor to symbolize the many hats we each wear and got to hear stories and see pictures from our Community Leader Andy’s recent trip to the L’Arche Federation in Belfast. On August 9th I facilitated the transition celebration for my predecessor, fellow community member, and friend Grace. We celebrated her new graduate school venture and packed a backpack of things for her to carry with her on the journey. Of course, gummy bears, a phone, a book about abundance, and hand sanitizer made the list. We offered her a L’Arche Portland yearbook and passed it around for people to sign. We lit a candle, shared blessings, and shared desert.
If I were to summarize and share my goals for this role with each of you, it would flow similarly to these welcome and transition events. First and foremost, I would welcome well- welcome new assistants, new providers, new volunteers, new partnerships, new opportunities, and new challenges. I would link myself and others to our L’Arche culture and community; I would keep these connections strong by participating in story sharing, retreats, events, and supporting others to do the same. I would remind myself that saying goodbye might be difficult but lives in tandem with saying hello to something or someone else, and I would walk with others as we live this message in the mundane and in the big picture growth process. Without a doubt, I would share a meal, listen to a good story, and help dreams go from theory to reality to picture book. I would love a community cat- or both, because there is no choosing on that count- and I would light a candle to pause and offer prayers.
As I did not mention laughter or smiling, please know that I have been laughing and smiling wide since diving back in full-time this Summer. There is a lot to be done, and laughter has been as essential as thoughtful decision making. There is a lot of possibility for L’Arche connections on the horizon, and smiling has been second nature.
Kathryn Shaw Tarries