Innisfree Village

Innisfree Village

Set at the foothills of the Shenandoah National Park, near the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia,  Innisfree Village is a residential, lifesharing community with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Innisfree Village is a residential, lifesharing community with adults with intellectual disabilities. Residents and volunteers work together as a model therapeutic environment emphasizing empowerment, interdependence, and mutual respect of all community members. 

Set at the foothills of the Shenandoah National Park, near the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia,  Innisfree Village is a residential, lifesharing community with adults with intellectual disabilities. Coworkers and volunteers work together on this 550-acre farm in a model therapeutic environment emphasizing empowerment, interdependence and mutual respect of all community members.

Serving as houseparents, Residential Caregivers live together with coworkers in family-style homes throughout the village. After a one-month orientation period, caregivers learn house management skills that include cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, and finances as well as caring for the personal needs of each coworker. Volunteers are also engaged in therapeutic and meaningful work in the art studio, bakery, community kitchen, farm, herb and vegetable gardens, free school activities like pottery, the weavery, and the woodshop.

Benefits include a private room, all meals, a $315/month stipend, 15 paid vacation days, access to community vehicles, an onsite fitness facility, WiFi access, and two consecutive days off per week. Fifteen to twenty people, all with various backgrounds and nationalities, are needed each year. Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, able to make a one-year commitment, and be patient, empathetic, flexible and positive. Applications are accepted throughout the year; a visit to Innisfree prior to applying as a volunteer is strongly recommended.  

Full-time volunteer caregivers are the special ingredient that sets Innisfree apart from many institutions. A two-to-one ratio of residents to volunteer caregivers is maintained in order to foster a sense of community "with," not "for" adults with intellectual disabilities.

Volunteering is an essential part of lifesharing. Innisfree's caregivers are volunteers who forgo traditional careers in the mental-health field, which can advocate detachment between caregivers and care receivers. They choose the alternative of lifesharing because they are seeking a way of life, not conventional employment.

As a residential caregiver, volunteers manage Innisfree households and provide personal care to the coworkers who live there. Responsibilities include serving as a houseparent with other volunteer caregivers, ensuring the daily care, health, and human rights of Innisfree's coworkers; working in work stations three to four days a week; helping make community decisions at caregiver and community meetings; and participating in committees that may include topics on activities, new volunteer approvals, car care, and clothing donations to the village.

Duration / Dates

Volunteers range in age from their early twenties to their mid-seventies, coming from all walks of life. Volunteers come from all over the world, bringing cultural traditions and ideas that enrich community life.

We accept applications March 1, July 1 and November 1, with expected starting dates 2 months later.

Costs / Pay

You must pay your own Visa application fees (we help with the paperwork) and travel/transportation costs to our location in Crozet, Virginia.

Each Volunteer Caregiver will receive:
-All meals and accommodations, including a private bedroom in a family-style home; bathroom shared with 1-2 others; kitchen, dining area, living room, and laundry room shared with all house residents; TV, VCR and DVD player in living room; WiFi access throughout the Village; and access to the nearby communities of Charlottesville and Crozet.
-Monthly stipend of $315
-Access to community vehicles (conditional upon passing their “test”)
-15 days of paid vacation per year ($50 per day)
-5 days of unpaid vacation per year
-2 days off each week
-Access to onsite fitness facility
-Severance pay upon completion of term of service ($65 per month of service)
-Student loan deferral opportunities
-Training in CPR/first aid, medical administration, and personal care

Innisfree Village Reviews

Life Changing Experince

I am currently a second year volunteer caregiver at Innisfree Village. My decision to come to Innisfree was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Innisfree has truly changed my life, and has helped me to grow into the person I am proud to say I am today.

Imagine a beautiful place nestled next to a mountain landscape where every person is accepted and encouraged to be who they are. Imagine that in that place you have the oppourtunity to make a difference while absorbing a ton of benefits yourself! Imagine a place where your own strengths and interests are supported and given the opportunity to grow. At Innisfree all these imaginings become reality!

I strongly recommend Innisfree to any person that is interested in the things I have mentioned above. You will not regret it!

By: Paige Lomax
Nationality: Caucasian
Age: 26

Related Articles