Community Youth Development Specialist

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps Ukraine’s Youth Development Project was developed in order to provide the Ukrainian youth in underserved communities with knowledge and skills necessary for healthy and meaningful lives in Ukrainian society, as well as their successful integration into the global community.

To achieve this purpose, Peace Corps assigns Volunteers for service in communities with limited access to financial and informational resources. Within their communities, Volunteers will work in institutions of secondary, secondary-professional and after-school education, as well as the local Departments of Youth and Sports, Centers for Social Services, Rehabilitation Centers, and youth NGOs.

The Project Goals are:
1. Promoting Healthy Lifestyles;
2. Preparing Youth for the World of Work; and
3. Educating Active Citizens.

Community Youth Development Specialists work primarily with at-risk youth, usually ages 10-25, to transfer a range of life-skills related to physical and emotional health, vocational competencies, and civics, as well as assist successful mainstreaming of vulnerable population (including orphaned youth and youth with special needs, youth from low-income families, minority and IDP groups, etc.).

Volunteers are usually assigned to local Departments for Youth and Sports, Centers for Social Services, Rehabilitation Centers, or Youth NGOs. Aside from providing hands-on services for youth population, Volunteers will focus on assisting service providers with programming and will help promote the organization to increase community support for disadvantaged groups of youth.

SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT CITIZENSHIP: Ukraine does not recognize dual nationality. Candidates who were born in Ukraine are not eligible to serve in Peace Corps Ukraine. Volunteer safety is of paramount importance, and the protections of U.S. citizenship promote Volunteer safety. Under Ukrainian law, anyone born in Ukraine who became a U.S. citizen or holds a Ukrainian passport is considered a citizen of Ukraine, and not of the United States. If such an individual faced a legal, safety or other emergency situation in Ukraine, the Peace Corps' ability to intervene would be limited. If you fit either of these categories, we encourage you to look at other assignments.

Required Skills

• A BA/BS in any field and work experience in services for disadvantaged youth or non-formal education in one or more of the following areas: life skills related to physical and emotional health, career planning, IT literacy and conversational English, leadership, and civics;
• Training and facilitation skills.
• Flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity, ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity, and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service.
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

• A degree in Social Work, Psychology or similar areas, and relevant work experience;
• Expertise and practical work experience in physical and emotional rehabilitation, special education and conflict resolution.
• Youth Engagement: dance, drama, music, sports activities, etc.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

The Ukrainian language is considered to be a difficult – but not impossible – language to learn. The key to success is attitude.

Peace Corps Ukraine offers a strong, 11-week, pre-service language learning program to get you started with your language learning journey. Ukrainian is the national language, and every Volunteer is advantaged by having a language foundation in Ukrainian. Volunteers should be prepared to serve in Ukrainian-speaking communities even if they bring Russian language skills. However, many communities also speak Russian because Ukraine is a bilingual country. Volunteers may elect to switch to Russian after training, but their training in Ukrainian will remain an asset.

Trainees must demonstrate a minimum novice-mid oral proficiency in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.

Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.

Living Conditions

• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 11 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 6 months of service. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based diet with lots of pork and dairy prepared daily. Most Ukrainians keep household pets; cats or dogs are to be expected. After initial 6 months, options for housing may include a room in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house. Volunteers often choose to live with their host families for their entire service because of their close relationships and the safety and cultural integration it affords.

• Diversity Challenges
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of location, and in some way you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corp's pre-service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service. Despite limited exposure to minorities, segments of Ukrainian society are gradually becoming more tolerant with regards to ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

Ukraine has more strictly defined conservative gender roles, especially for women. In general, Volunteers may experience a lot of attention in their communities; ethnically diverse Volunteers may face additional unwanted attention. While homosexual relationships are not considered a crime, sexual orientation and gender identities are typically considered taboo topics in Ukraine. Most LGBTQ Volunteers choose to be discreet about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity within their host communities.
Peace Corps Ukraine is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all Volunteers.

• Transportation
Volunteers will use public transportation. The country is well-served by trains and mini-buses are used for inter-city transportation. Many roads are in poor conditions. Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation, and this could take between 10 - 45 minutes. In small villages, walking is the main way of getting around or getting to the main road.

• Climate
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons and is similar to the upper Midwest or upstate New York. Winter lasts from November - March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice. Volunteers should also come prepared with quality, warm winter clothes since many public buildings are not heated or poorly heated.

• Dress
You have been invited to serve in Ukraine in a professional capacity and therefore we expect that you will bring with you professional attire. This attire will be appropriate for your work setting and for walking about town. For women, this consists of slacks and a blouse or sweater or a mid-length or long skirt and a blouse or sweater. Your choice of apparel should be conservative in cut. Appropriate attire for men includes slacks and an Oxford shirt or, less formally, chinos and a polo shirt.

• Physical requirements
Assignments in Ukraine are physically challenging and will require volunteers to be physically fit to walk up and down stairs, ride public transportation, and sometimes use a Turkish squat toilet. Volunteers must be able to walk on uneven terrain/pavement and carry at least 20 pounds.

• Working conditions/hours
Volunteer service is a full-time job. You will work a full day based on the schedule of your school, center, or organization. The usual schedule is Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. There also will be times at which you will need to work on weekends. Although you may find that some of your colleagues do not firmly observe business hours, as a development worker you will be expected to set a good example by being punctual and by always being available at the workplace during business or school hours.

• Internet Access
Internet is available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can often be lower than what you are accustomed to in the United States.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Couples are separated during pre-service training, but they may be placed in different nearby communities. In this case a couple can meet during weekends at one of the communities. Before placing a Trainee in the family the option of visiting a spouse is discussed with the host family.

When couples are assigned to their sites, they will live together, and the mandatory 6 month host family stay also applies to couples. There are sites available for couples. Couples have separate work assignments within the same community and are placed in schools.

Medical Considerations in Ukraine

  • Ukraine may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten, peanuts.
  • After arrival in Ukraine, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

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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