Co-develop Youth Leadership Through Trauma-oriented Care

Activity/project background

Partner: Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University (Government)

Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University is a leading higher education institution and a scientific and cultural center in the Volyn region, Ukraine. The university continues to provide education to Ukrainian youth during the war in Ukraine. The university staff recognizes that education can serve as a source of stability and normalcy during wartime, providing a sense of purpose and direction for students who may feel overwhelmed or uncertain about the future. In 2023, to provide students with additional support, the university (English Philology Chair) and a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) introduced an empathy and resilience club for students. This club helped to equip young people with the emotional and social skills they need to not only survive but thrive in difficult circumstances. Based on the youth feedback, there’s a need for youth to continue developing their emotional and social skills, especially as the youth continue to go through the war.

The university is requesting a VSPP to collaborate with teachers in supporting the development of youth (ages 18-22) community service and leadership skills though trauma-oriented care. The club will cover a range of topics related to leadership, community service, the role of changemakers in the community, and the importance of trauma-oriented approach in community building. Through the club, Ukrainian students will learn to cultivate leadership skills in the face of adversity, challenges, and stress. With the support of the VSPP, students will develop leadership skills and mindset to adapt the changes in the community. This new program was developed based on feedback and learnings form participants of 2023 program. Richard and Counterpart Olena are collaboratively designing the new program “Youth Leadership through Trauma-Oriented Care”. Peace Corps Ukraine is seeking a VSPP who is empathetic to the lived experiences of youth who continue to experience war.

The organization has previously collaborated with the Peace Corps. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Conduct initial meetings to learn about existing university club efforts, the motivation of students, and align their understanding of leadership and community building
• Co-design a curriculum for the leadership and trauma-informed care club, which will include topics such as understanding the role of a community leader and the benefits of both community building and community service
• Co-facilitate at least 12 club meetings for a group of third-year students once a week for approximately 2 hours (number of students: 20-30)
• Attend a weekly meeting with the Ukrainian counterpart for feedback and discussion

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be around 5 hours per week.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Kyiv time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Google Meet, and WhatsApp for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, education, social science, or any related field

Experience:
• 1 year of experience facilitating online activities in psychology, sociology, education, or any related field
• 1 year of experience working with youth (aged 17-22) in some capacity, such as a teacher, counselor, mentor, coach, or volunteer

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually.

Desired qualifications

Education: Master’s degree in psychology, sociology, education, social science, or any related field

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience with coaching
• Experience with leadership development training

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.


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