Innisfree: A lifesharing community with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Volunteers at Innisfree Village experience the give and take of a shared home and work environment alongside residents with intellectual disabilities.

Innisfree Village is a residential, lifesharing community with adults who have an intellectual disability. Residents (also known as coworkers) and volunteers live together on a 550-acre farm set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia.

At the heart of the Innisfree experience is lifesharing among Innisfree's more than 75 coworkers, volunteer caregivers and long-term staff. Life sharing at Innisfree means that coworkers and their caregivers live, work, and play together, sharing the joys, sorrows, satisfactions, and frustrations of everyday living. In this close-knit environment, everyone learns from each other and community members can develop profound, lifelong relationships.

Celebrating 45+ years of lifesharing community!

Farm Intern

The Innisfree Farm Internship is an opportunity for individuals to gain experience in animal husbandry and the practice of rotational grazing.

Innisfree Village Farm Internship
Commitment: 6-month minimum; 40-hours/week

The Innisfree Farm Internship is an opportunity for individuals to gain experience in animal husbandry and the practice of rotational grazing. You will be helping with the daily cattle and sheep moves and observations, with the intent that you would be working towards proficiency in understanding what goes into the decisions that we make every day. You will also be exposed to animal health checks for both sheep and cattle, how to evaluate animals for health concerns and how to safely and effectively work with them. As a compliment to these areas, you will be involved in the upkeep and installation of permanent fence infrastructure, and the use and maintenance of farm machinery.

In addition to these tasks, you will assist the farm workstation with various chicken and egg related duties. You will be required to work one weekend day focusing on chicken chores (collecting, washing and sorting eggs from 400+ chickens), as well as help with the weekly chicken move every Thursday morning.

Compensation includes a $450/month stipend, meals and housing in one of the community houses within the Village. You will be in a single, private room with access to common rooms and the kitchen. Community lunches are scheduled on Monday and Wednesday through Friday. Breakfast and dinner will be made in the house, along with the lunches that are not provided in the community center. In most cases the Intern will be asked to contribute by cooking one meal per week in the house and through the upkeep of general cleanliness.

Applicants must have a strong work ethic and would be very self directed. Ability to work outside in all weather is a must. Some familiarity with farm animals would be useful, and most importantly, you must be able to interact with the residents of Innisfree Village in a kind and respectful way.

More to Explore!View the internship Packet for more information and send a completed application to Nich Traverse.

Volunteer Caregivers

Innisfree caregivers are volunteers who forgo traditional employment and choose life sharing instead because they are seeking a new way of life.

Now Hiring Residential Caregivers!
More to Explore!Now seeking full-time Residential Caregivers who can begin a year of service starting this spring. This is a unique opportunity if you are interested in community living, working with people with special needs, and rural life or farming and gardening. Apply now »

Full-time Volunteer Caregivers are the special ingredient that sets Innisfree apart from many institutions, whether public or private. 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 employment in the mental-health field, which can advocate detachment between caregivers and care receivers. They choose lifesharing instead because they are seeking a way of life, not a typical job.

As a live-in volunteer caregiver, you will 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 or four days a week; helping make community decisions at regular meetings; and participating in committees that may include topics on activities, volunteer acceptance, car care and a clothing closet for village donations.

More About Living & Working at Innisfree

More to Explore!Learn how the Innisfree Village community empowered one volunteer to find a new way to move through the world »
More to Explore!Read the latest newsletter »

The Daily Rhythms

Innisfree Village Gardens

The rhythm of weekdays revolves around cooperative, therapeutic workstations.The rhythm of weekdays revolves around cooperative, therapeutic workstations that include an art studio, bakery, community house, community kitchen, farm, free school, herb garden, vegetable garden, weavery and woodshop. Coworkers and their caregivers work side-by-side in workstations, producing many creative, useful items.

Crafts from Innisfree's weavery, woodshop and farm are sold in select area stores, at craft fairs, and through Innisfree's online store. Granola from Innisfree's bakery is sold at local gourmet stores, and bread from the bakery is enjoyed at Innisfree community meals and in Innisfree houses. Organic vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, flowers and eggs are used at Innisfree gatherings and residential houses. The farm and vegetable garden team are committed to caring for the 3+ acres of land they cultivate for both vegetables and animals and subscribe to traditional organic principles and practices.

When workstations end in the mid-afternoon, community members have the opportunity to participate in fitness activities, music therapy, art therapy, pottery, and papermaking. Meanwhile at home, other community members help prepare dinner, learn the challenges of house cleaning or doing their own laundry, and generally become more independent in caring for themselves.

At night and on weekends, special events draw out individuals who want to relax and have fun. Among regular events are movie nights, potluck dinners, themed dances, and summer barbecues by the swimming pool. These activities enrich the shared sense of community among all who call Innisfree home. It is often at these gatherings that the joy and wonder of the Innisfree lifestyle is most keenly felt.

Perks & Rewards

Volunteer caregivers are the special ingredient that sets Innisfree apart from any institution.

Each Volunteer Caregiver will receive:

All meals and accommodations, including a private bedroom in 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 a community house in Charlottesville if caregivers are interested in spending their days off in the city.

Monthly stipend of $315

Access to community cars (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

Training in CPR/first aid, medical administration and personal care

The Essentials

Music therapy, art class, pottery, and paper-making provide dedicated space for coworkers, volunteer caregivers, and artisans to work side by side on projects.

A potential Volunteer Caregiver must be:

At least 21 years old. Volunteers range in age from their early twenties to the mid-seventies and come from all walks of life and from all over the world, bringing cultural traditions and ideas that enrich community life.

Able to make at least a one-year commitment of service

Willing to abide by Innisfree's zero-tolerance policy for illegal substances

Patient, empathetic, flexible and positive!

Interested in living in a rural setting

Innisfree does not require volunteer caregiver applicants to have experience working with people with disabilities or in specific workstation areas. On-the-job training is provided.

Your First Move

Volunteers come from all walks of life and from all over the world, bringing cultural traditions and ideas that enrich community life.

To begin the application process, contact Nancy Chappell for a brief pre-screening interview to discuss your interest in volunteering at Innisfree. After this interview, you may request an information packet and application to be sent via mail.

Along with a completed application, you will need to arrange a two to three day visit. This will include a tour of Innisfree; meeting coworkers, volunteer caregivers, and long-term staff; working in different workstations with coworkers; experiencing lunch at the community center and dinner in one or more community houses; and having an overnight in a community house.

International applicants must obtain a Class B visa to enter the United States. Visits are not required for potential volunteers coming from abroad.


Welcome to InnisfreeCommunity Coordinator Nancy Chappell

Nancy Chappell
Associate Director/Recruiter
Innisfree Village
5505 Walnut Level Rd.
Crozet, VA 22932
(434) 823-5400
(434) 823-5027 fax

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More to Explore!Read through the Volunteer Caregiver FAQ »

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