Youth Development Facilitator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

With one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the region, almost half of the population under the age of 25, and youth unemployment rates around 30%, youth development is a critical need in the Dominican Republic. Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic contributes to national priorities by guiding youth to transition into healthy, productive, civically engaged citizens and building the capacity of host country service providers, groups, and communities to prioritize positive youth development. The Youth Development project works in collaboration with local counterparts to reach youth 10 – 24 year olds and adults by co-facilitating life skills, employability skills, and sexual and reproductive health education. Volunteers and their counterparts encourage regular participation in clubs and mentor youth. Volunteers work in secondary schools (U.S. equivalent of 7th – 12th grades), with the Vice Presidency’s Social Cabinet’s Community Technological Centers (CTCs), Municipal Councils, and with the Provincial Offices of the Ministry of Women. Peace Corps Volunteers contribute regular, consistent support for youth in impoverished communities in the poorest provinces, working together with service providers and young people as a trusted friend and mentor. This daily contact and mentoring is Peace Corps’ niche; Volunteers provide much needed regular guidance and presence that teachers and community members are unable to provide. Peace Corps Volunteers enhance existing school or community-based programs by building up local capacity to support youth development activities. In some cases, Volunteers support and coach counterparts to develop new programs that help empower young people and give them the opportunity to reach their full potential. These programs build skills, harness positive energy, encourage ambitions and healthy decision making, and urge youth to further their education, all providing sound bases for young peoples’ transition into healthy, productive, civically engaged adults, capable of intentional life planning.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working with Youth in Development and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates should have experience in at least one of the following areas:
• Facilitation
• Training or teaching in an informal setting
• Working with parents and/or community leaders
• Forming and/or strengthening and motivating youth groups
• Volunteering or working with youth
• Academic background in psychology, anthropology, social work, or counseling

Competitive candidates have proven leadership skills, will act as positive role models for young people, and work in a professional manner.

We encourage applicants with strong Spanish language skills to apply.

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Competitive candidates will have conversational Spanish skills at the time they apply and will commit to continuing their language learning while awaiting departure. Peace Corps provides intensive language training during the 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training. At the end of training, Peace Corps Dominican Republic requires an intermediate level of oral proficiency in order to be sworn in as a Volunteer. Trainees that arrive with conversational Spanish skills are likely to reach this level.

Living Conditions

Volunteers will live with two host families during the 10-week Pre-Service Training: one family in Santo Domingo and the other in a smaller community during community-based training. Volunteers will live with a third host family for the first 4-6 months of service in their assigned community to facilitate language acquisition and community integration. Although most Volunteers are able to move out on their own after an obligatory 4- to 6-month homestay (in addition to the training homestays), there is no guarantee that independent housing will be available.

Volunteers are assigned to both rural communities and towns. Living conditions and transportation limitations can be physically demanding. You will have to use the available transportation in your community. Generally, local transportation includes regular or semi-regular service by pick-up trucks, vans, and/or collective taxis. In some cases, you may have to walk long distances to work engagements. Houses usually have corrugated steel roofs, walls of wood or cement block, and cement floors. They may or may not have amenities such as running water, electricity, or reliable phone service. Most communities have phone service within the community, although there are situations where Volunteers have to travel up to an hour to access service. Although most communities have electricity, power outages are common. Many of these communities are located along the Dominican-Haitian border, with more challenging living conditions.

Personal appearance is important for Volunteers representing the Peace Corps and Dominican partner agencies, particularly the Dominican Ministry of Education. Dominicans consider personal appearance to be an important indicator about a person, and a Volunteer’s appearance will influence his or her relationship with the community. As Youth Development Volunteers work in the schools and other organizations, they are expected to dress to Dominican standards for teachers.

Peace Corps Dominican Republic provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers. Volunteers use their experiences as members of different underrepresented groups to help other Volunteers navigate social, cultural, political, religious, personal, and other challenges. Current support networks include the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Marginalized Voices Support Group, and the Pride LGBTQ Support Group. Please see below for additional considerations.

Sexual Orientation: Intolerant attitudes towards the LGBTQ community are still held by many people. While same-sex relationships are not illegal in the Dominican Republic, most Dominican communities only accept heterosexual relationships. However, LGBTQ Volunteers find safe spaces within the Peace Corps Dominican Republic network and when visiting larger metropolitan areas.

Ethnicity: Different ethnic, racial or national minority US American identities are often not viewed as “American.” Volunteers may thus experience negation of their American identity due to local assumptions of what a US American looks like. While some Black/African-American volunteers may blend in with the local Dominican population, others, including those who wear their hair natural or in braided hairstyles, or have darker skin tones, may be perceived as Haitian. Volunteers find support and representation within active Dominican natural hair movements in large cities. Similarly, with an increased focus on migration issues around the world, Volunteers of Latin American decent may also have their identity questioned and/or mistaken for Central and South American migrants. This may lead to one’s citizenship being questioned and ultimately differential treatment. Despite these challenges, many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences on the diversity of US American culture and successfully complete their services with support from the Peace Corps Dominican Republic network and certain community members.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Dominican Republic: 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

The Dominican Republic is able to accommodate couples serving together within the Youth in Development sector as well as cross-sector couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following:

Spanish Literacy Promoter - Primary School
Youth Development Facilitator

All Trainees are required to live with host families during Pre-Service Training. Couples will live together with a host family during training in Santo Domingo. If requested, staff will try to accommodate separate host family placements; however, this cannot be guaranteed. If you and your partner are assigned to different sectors, you will live apart for the community-based portion of Pre-Service Training. Couples who are in different sectors are usually allowed to visit each other for one weekend during community-based training.

After swearing-in, Volunteers are required to live with a host family in their assigned community for a minimum of 4 months. For couples, this requirement is reduced to 6 weeks.

While serving, couples in different sectors will attend separate In-Service Training workshops.

Medical Considerations in Dominican Republic

  • Dominican Rep. 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: none identified.
  • After arrival in Dominican Republic, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive 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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