Community Youth Worker
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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, inclusive / special and after-school education. Volunteers also work with 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 Workers engage large groups of youth, mostly ages 10-25, in formal and non-formal education activities, such as clubs, school camps, trainings, community youth events, to transfer a range of life-skills related to physical and emotional health, vocational competencies, and civics. These Volunteers are primarily assigned to Secondary and Vocational Schools, Centers for Creative Youth, and youth NGOs to serve mixed groups of mainstream and vulnerable populations (including socially disadvantaged, special needs, HIV positive, veterans and fallen heroes’ family members, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)).
Youth Development Volunteers must also expect to conduct English clubs and help English teachers during lessons (maximum is 4 classes per week) and language camps, as English-speaking skills development is compliant with Goal 2 of Youth Development project – vocational and employment skills development. English speaking skills give Ukrainian youth broader opportunities as the country is taking a pro-European vector in its development.
While assigned to one organization as a home-base, these Volunteers act as catalysts for change and are continually engaged in defining their role in response to their host community. Aside from transferring skills to individual youth, the Volunteers will engage groups of in-school and out-of-school youth in designing and planning community youth oriented activities. Volunteers will also increase the capacity of youth service providers (school psychologists, student counselors, after-school event organizers, social / youth workers, etc.) to increase community support for youth programs. Volunteers have a hands-on opportunity to change the direction of Ukraine through its youngest members.
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.
• Experience working with youth
• Flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity and ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service.
• 5 years' professional work experience.
• Strong communication and facilitation skills, experience in teaching within formal or non-formal settings around one or more of the following areas: life skills related to physical and emotional health, HIV education; career planning, IT literacy, financial literacy and conversational English; leadership, and civics.
• Student counselling skills, or experience with after school and mentorship programs like “Big Brothers Big Sisters", “Boys and Girls Club”, Scouts, etc.
• Youth Engagement in leisure time activities: dance, drama, music, sports activities, etc.
Required Language Skills
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 outside of formal settings, 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.
Host family stays are required during the 11 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 6 months of service. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based with fruits and vegetables, and pork and dairy prepared daily. Host family accommodation provides a safe, private room with basic furniture, a shared bathroom and kitchen. Volunteers will be expected to keep their living space neat and clean and according to the standard of their host family.
After the first 6 months of service, Volunteers may move into separate housing, which 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, as the experience yields close relationships and deeper cultural integration.
As an American abroad, you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s pre-service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service. Despite limited exposure to American minorities, Ukrainian society is gradually becoming more tolerant with regards to ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.
Ukraine has strictly defined conservative gender roles, especially for women. While homosexual relationships are not considered a crime, sexual orientation and gender identities are considered taboo topics in Ukraine. Most LGBTQ Volunteers choose to be discreet about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity within their host communities. Volunteers of a diverse range of backgrounds have successfully been able to serve in Ukraine.
Like most Ukrainians, Volunteers will use public transportation. The country is well-served by trains. Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation; this could take between 10 to 45 minutes. In most small villages walking is the main way of getting around or to the main road. High car accident rates and pickpocketing are main Safety and Security threats for travelers. PCVs are provided training on how to mitigate the risks during Pre-Service Training.
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons. Winter lasts from November to March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice. Volunteers should come prepared with warm winter clothes since many public buildings are not heated or poorly heated.
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. How you are dressed will greatly impact how you are perceived and your credibility in your community.
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.
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 to Friday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and at times you will need to work on weekends. While in the school environment you will be expected to work during class time, much of your work with students will occur after class time or in the latter part of the day. You will be expected to set a good example by being punctual and by being available at the workplace during business or school hours.
Internet is available in most places, though connection speed and consistency can often be lower than what is customary in the USA. At times, Internet access will be limited due to irregular power supply, poor telephone lines, or limited Wi-Fi capabilities. 3G internet via cellular network is available in all big cities and most towns.
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.
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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