Community and Youth Development Volunteer
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In this assignment, CYD Volunteers work with local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community-based partners, such as schools, informal community-based youth groups, and educational institutions, in towns and villages across Armenia. These organizations have diverse missions addressing issues related to children and youth, including: youth with disabilities, at-risk youth, human rights, women’s empowerment, the environment, and other community-specific issues.
CYD Volunteers empower youth to be active citizens through life skills activities, volunteerism and service-learning initiatives, employability skills training, and the development of youth organizations, clubs, and camps that carry out community projects. Volunteers work with youth through a variety of formal and informal avenues, finding creative ways to address topics that are interesting and engaging and foster positive youth development. Depending on the partner and the community’s specific needs, Volunteers may work with youth and NGO staff to build individual and organizational capacity.
Volunteer activities include, but are not limited to: facilitating workshops and seminars for young people, NGO staff, and community members; developing and leading youth clubs and camps and other community projects; and assisting in event planning, strategic planning, project and grant development, writing, and monitoring and evaluation. Volunteers in this assignment must also expect to work directly with youth in student councils, youth clubs and other formal or informal youth groups. Volunteers may also initiate and organize clubs and activities related to other community members’ interests and needs (e.g. clubs developing young parents’ employability skills).
Community integration is an indispensable part of Volunteer work. To be successful in service, Volunteers must be accepted by their communities. The responsibility for integration rests on Volunteers and host communities, and that includes learning the Armenian language. During Pre-Service Training, Peace Corps Armenia provides tools and strategies for Volunteers to enhance their community integration and language acquisition. The Volunteers’ main assignment during the first three months is community integration. By devoting attention to community integration at site and to language learning, Volunteers lay the groundwork for their future community work.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience
• Recent experience with youth in summer camps, clubs, sports, mentoring, volunteerism, service-learning, community service project planning and implementation, or other areas of non-formal education
• Experience teaching life skills, leadership, and/or employability skills through clubs, sports, and mentoring
• Experience working in, or a strong understanding of, the non-profit/NGO sector
• Experience with community-based programs, including knowledge in needs assessment, strategic planning, project planning, and/or community outreach
• The ability to adapt to unfamiliar customs and family norms
• Bachelor’s degree in Social Work
Required Language Skills
Volunteers are required to stay with host families during Pre-Service Training (PST) and for an additional three months after training, at which point they can move to independent housing, if available. The host family experience is a unique opportunity for Volunteers to fully immerse themselves in the Armenian language and culture. Many Volunteers choose to live with their host families for the entirety of their service because of their comfortable relationship with the family. Please note that independent housing is not available in all communities, therefore all Volunteers should be prepared to stay with a host family during their full 2 years of service if necessary.
Despite limited exposure, host families and counterparts are accepting of diversity among Volunteers and close relationships are formed. However, Volunteers who do not resemble the Armenian profile (particularly African Americans, Asian Americans and other people of color) should expect to receive additional unwanted and sometimes negative attention. Although homosexual relationships are not criminal in Armenia, openly gay individuals are not socially accepted by the general population so Volunteers are advised to be very cautious. Peace Corps Armenia’s pre-departure materials and Pre-Service Training will address these types of concerns to prepare Volunteers for service. Peace Corps staff and second-year Volunteers also serve as a support system for Volunteers.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Armenia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.
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