Community Youth Worker

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps Ukraine’s Youth Development Project was developed in order to provide Ukrainian youth in underserved and mostly rural communities with the knowledge and skills necessary for healthy and meaningful lives in Ukraine, 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 formal secondary, secondary-vocational, inclusive and extracurricular activities. Volunteers also work with local Centers for Social Services, Youth 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 classes, clubs, school camps, trainings, community youth events, teacher/parent workshops, 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, those living with HIV, veterans and 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 using Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA) and 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 and projects. Volunteers will also increase the capacity of youth service providers (school psychologists, student counselors, after-school event organizers, social and youth workers, parents/caregivers, etc.) to increase community support for youth programs. Volunteers have a hands-on opportunity to change the direction of Ukraine through its youngest members.

Youth Development Volunteers are expected to be present. There are no remote or teleworking opportunities for youth work.

Required Skills

• BA/BS in any field and/or 5 years of youth oriented volunteer experience; and
• 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.
• A passion for youth and education, willingness to work with groups of children and youth on a daily basis as mentor and facilitator.
• An entrepreneurial spirit and go-getter attitude, self-starter, willingness to learn about your host community through assessments

Desired Skills

• Organizational skills and practical work experience in designing and managing youth-oriented community projects that help increase youth activism and promote volunteerism;
• 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

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, 10-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.

Living Conditions

• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 9 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 3 months of service. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities.
You will eat with your Ukrainian family. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based diet with lots of wheat and grain breads, pork and dairy prepared daily. It is also very rich in fruits and vegetables during the summer, but mostly root vegetables during the winter months. Nearly 50% of Ukrainian households have indoor pets, and cats or dogs can be expected in many homes. Host family accommodation provides a safe private room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
After the first three months of service, Volunteers may move into separate housing. Other options for housing may include a room in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house.
• Diversity Challenges
We encourage you to access our website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion at:
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s PST will address these types of issues to prepare you for service.
• Transportation
Volunteers will use public transportation just as most Ukrainians do. The country is well-served by trains. On shorter routes, Volunteers use mini-buses 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 to 45 minutes In most small villages walking is the main way of getting around or getting to the main road. High car accident rate and pickpocketing are main Safety and Security threats for travelers. PCVs are provided with the respective training on how to mitigate the risks during Pre-Service Training.
• Climate
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons and is similar to the upper Midwest or upstate New York. Winter lasts from November to March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice.
• Dress
Men and women should bring business casual clothing for work and casual settings. When it comes to packing, less is more. Also, Volunteers tend to overpack for winter and forget that Ukraine can be very warm in the summer, and air conditioning is uncommon. There are abundant second hand shops in Ukraine and Volunteers and staff make good use of them.
• 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 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. There also will be times at which 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 may find that some of your colleagues do not firmly observe business hours, but 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 to what you are accustomed. 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, most of towns and a part of small communities.

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

Peace Corps Ukraine has volunteer placements for couples.

Medical Considerations

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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