Community Youth Worker
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.
The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.
Ukraine is one of the oldest nations in Europe, yet it’s one of the youngest democracies. Located in the heart of Europe, Ukraine is famous for its rich and diverse culture, stunning landscapes, fertile soil, flavorful cuisine, yet tragic history. Most importantly, it is famous for its proud people who value freedom above everything. It is because of their love for freedom that Ukrainians continue to resist Russian hybrid aggression, much like they have been for the past 400 years. “Resilient” is the adjective used frequently by Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to describe Ukrainians. Despite the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and active conflict instigated and fueled by the Russian government in the eastern part of the country, Ukraine remains one of the safest Peace Corps countries with the largest number of serving Peace Corps Volunteers who can’t help but eventually fall in love with the country and its people. Based on the 2019 Security Incident Questionnaire Crime Data Report, overall crime level against PCVs in Ukraine is 45% (global average is 53%) and serious crime level is 10% (global average is 17%), which makes PC/Ukraine one of the safest Peace Corps Posts globally.
Peace Corps Ukraine’s Youth Development Project was started 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. Volunteers will work in institutions of formal secondary, vocational, and inclusive education and conduct extracurricular activities. Volunteers also cooperate in non-formal education activities with local centers for social services, youth centers, and youth non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The project objectives are:
1. Strengthen the life skills of youth;
2. Develop youth community engagement skills;
3. Increase youth capacity for employment by developing employability skills (resume writing, job interview, setting career goals and networking), financial literacy and teaching conversational English; and
4. Increase the skills of youth service providers to effectively implement positive youth development programs.
Community Youth Workers engage large groups of youth, mostly ages 10 to 25, in formal and non-formal education activities, such as classes, clubs, school camps, trainings, community youth events, youth-led projects, and workshops for service providers, in order to transfer a range of life skills related to health, vocational competencies, and civics. These Volunteers are primarily assigned to Secondary and Vocational Schools, Youth Centers, and youth NGOs to serve mixed groups of mainstream and vulnerable populations (including socially disadvantaged, special needs, those living with HIV, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)).
Youth Development Volunteers must also expect to conduct English clubs and help English teachers during lessons and language camps (for a maximum of four classes per week). This is an important aspect of Ukraine’s Youth Development program, as English-speaking skills development is compliant with Objective 3 of the 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, 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, 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.
While Youth Development Volunteers are expected to be present at the location of their permanent sites, some remote facilitation opportunities may occur.
An entrepreneurial spirit and go-getter attitude, being a self-starter, willingness to learn about your host community through assessments will be essential for the successful service.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field; OR
• 5 years' professional work experience
Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working directly with adolescents (10-14) and youth (15-24) and one or more of the following:
• Master’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Education, Youth Development, Applied Behavioral Science or related field;
• Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Social Studies, Psychology, Education, Youth;
• Development, Applied Behavioral Science or other related field and at least 3 months of experience working with youth and/or families;
• 3 years’ of professional experience working with youth and/or families from under-resourced communities.
• 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.
• Organizational skills and practical work experience in designing and managing youth-oriented community activities/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.
• A passion for youth and non-formal education, willingness to work with groups of children and youth on a daily basis as mentor and facilitator.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Ukrainian is the native language of the Ukrainians and the official state language. According to most recent polls, some 48.4% of Ukrainians speak Ukrainian at home, while 23.9% speak both Ukrainian and Russian, and 27.3% of respondents speak only Russian in their households. Ukrainian is obligatory for use within government and education system, customer service, medical and social services.
All Volunteers are required to learn Ukrainian during pre-service training. Peace Corps Ukraine offers a strong 10-week pre-service language learning program to get Volunteers started on their language learning journey. In addition, online resources and trainings, developed by Peace Corps Language Staff, will be available during service. The key to success in learning Ukrainian is a positive attitude, practice and systematic work. Trainees must demonstrate, at a minimum, an oral proficiency of novice-mid in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.
Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.
• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST). PST host family accommodations provide Volunteers with a safe, private room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Options for housing at a Volunteer’s permanent site may include an apartment in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house with separate bathing facilities and kitchen. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities, subject to changing circumstances due to COVID-19.
The Ukrainian diet is bread-based with lots of wheat and grains; pork and dairy products are typically 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.
• 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 Volunteers will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s Pre-Service Training will address these types of issues in preparation for service, and strive to provide appropriate and timely support utilizing experience and recommendations of former Volunteers and current support and affinity groups.
Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation, and this could take between 10 to 45 minutes. The country is well-served by trains. On shorter routes, Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. New policies, procedures and restrictions are in place to help limit the potential for exposure and transmission of COVID-19. Volunteers will need to adhere to Peace Corps Ukraine’s transportation policy.
The climate in Ukraine consists of four distinct seasons. Volunteers may experience long and snowy winters and hot or rainy summers. Global climate change affects Ukraine as well, making the weather less predictable.
Men and women should bring business casual clothing for work and casual settings. There are abundant second hand shops in Ukraine and Volunteers make good use of them.
• Physical requirements
Communities where Volunteers are assigned 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 squat toilet. Volunteers must be able to walk on uneven terrain/pavement and carry their groceries (~20 pounds).
• Service in “clusters”
Peace Corps Ukraine staff will make the best effort to place Volunteers strategically during service so that Youth Development, Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, and Community Development Volunteers will be able to work together on their community projects.
• President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
Peace Corps Ukraine is a member of the PEPFAR team and aspires to do our part to end the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. During service, Volunteers will have opportunities to take part in PEPFAR clubs and camps.
• Succession Placements
Most Volunteers in Ukraine are placed in succession at an organization or school to conduct different activities over time. Volunteers may be the first Volunteer at their site or they may the second or third in a sequence.
• Internet Access
Internet is available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can often be lower than to what you are accustomed. 3G internet via cellular network is available in all big cities, most towns, and in parts of small communities.
Policies, procedures, and restrictions are in place to help limit the potential for exposure and transmission of COVID-19 and Volunteers will learn more about these safety recommendations.
Serving in Ukraine
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Peace Corps Ukraine can accommodate couples that serve together in the same or different sector. During pre-service training, couples will live together. In cases when spouses are assigned to different sectors, they may be placed in different nearby communities. In this case, a couple can meet during weekends in one of the communities.
Couples will live together at their permanent site. Spouses have separate work assignments within the same community.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
Does this sound like the position for you?
Get started on your journey.