Youth Development Promoter
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(1) Promoting Healthy Foundations (including life skills and leadership; sexual and reproductive health, gender, and arts, sports and recreation)
(2) Strengthening Youth Support (including parent and service providers support for youth).
All assignments have a strong focus on preventative activities, empowering youth through education, community based activities and furthering children’s rights.
Most Volunteers will work with individuals (children, youth and parents), service providers (teachers, guidance counselors, community leaders, health providers, and other professionals in the public system), and organizations (elementary schools, high schools, local development associations, and youth groups, etc.).
Volunteers are assigned to work in communities identified by our host country agencies (the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) and other government institutions) prioritizing underdeveloped and under-served communities and at-risk populations.
All Youth Development Volunteers will perform a participatory community diagnosis to assess community resources and needs during the first months of service. Based on that analysis and partner’s requests each Volunteer will create his/her work plan in collaboration with professionals and community leaders. Youth in Development Volunteers typically support ongoing youth-oriented programs in schools and the community, bringing new ideas, approaches and/or techniques to those spaces. Volunteers also lead the creation of new youth-oriented prevention programs coordinating with and including partners for sustainability. Volunteers must be prepared to be proactive, self-driven and to motivate others about the importance of working with and towards youth development.
Volunteers will coordinate their work with staff members of local elementary and high schools (teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, etc.), and/or leaders who are implementing youth development work in the community. Each Volunteer typically works in two public schools. Volunteers are responsible for coordinating their work schedule with the institutions with whom they are collaborating and according to the projects identified in the Work Plan. Volunteers are expected to work full time to address community’s and partners’ needs; weekly schedules will vary and might include working weekends.
Common projects implemented by Youth in Development Volunteers alongside project partners include but are not limited to: life skills workshops during school hours, leadership camps, sports clubs, art clubs, youth groups, community-wide recreation activities (organizing movie nights, talent shows, sports days), bullying prevention activities, service learning initiatives, supporting the Ministry of Education sexual education program, Restorative Practices and Positive Discipline training for teachers, parents and youth, parent support groups & workshops, etc.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field (social sciences, health, education are preferred)
• 5 years' professional work experience in the youth sector
Strong interpersonal skills and people skills are critical to be successful in the implementation of the Youth Development Project.
Competitive candidates will have will have an academic background and/or professional experience in Social Work/Psychology/Health Education/Youth Development and, at least two years experience working with youth in the following:
• Life Skills (ex: Any significant project experience with children and adolescents to improve their self-esteem, positive identity, communication and listening skills, emotional health, goal setting, decision making, critical thinking, etc.)
• Recreational activities with youth (ex: sports, team coaching, arts and crafts, music, dance, theater, visual arts, art therapy, poetry education etc.)
• Parenting & Family Support/Education (ex: Experience working with teenage mothers, domestic violence, child abuse, parenting skills, teaching positive discipline techniques, improving parent-child relationships, etc.)
• Teaching / Service learning implementation (ex: Teacher training work, classroom teaching experience, teaching through experiential education, after-school program management, tutoring program management, AmeriCorps experience, high school or university level service learning programs, volunteer management etc.)
• Health education (ex: HIV/AIDS prevention and reproductive health, teenage pregnancy prevention, and alcohol and other drug abuse prevention)
• Gender and diversity (ex: any significant project experience with children and adolescents related to gender empowerment/equality, human rights and/or promoting diversity and inclusion).
• At-risk youth outreach (Candidates with personal experience working with vulnerable children and youth in difficult socio-economic environments, and on topics such as school dropout and substance abuse prevention are preferred)
• Community Organizing (ex: Managing or forming youth groups, networking with various organizations, using community assessment tools, leading committees/community projects, project proposal writing, etc.)
Required Language Skills
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).
Costa Rican culture is strongly family-oriented and families often expect Volunteers to integrate into and respect their existing family environments. After the initial six months in the Volunteer’s community of assignment Volunteers are eligible to live independently if they receive approval by Program Managers and can identify a living situation in the community that meets Peace Corps’ housing criteria. Some communities do not have a live-alone option and Volunteers must be open to the possibility of living with a host family during their entire service.
Most Costa Ricans take great pride in being neat, clean, and well-groomed even on informal occasions. Volunteers should follow the example of Costa Ricans at their worksites and in their communities (e.g., clean and ironed clothes, polished shoes, and groomed hair). Frequent coordination with government agencies, schools and other professionals require that Volunteers demonstrate a professional attitude and appearance at all times. Given the fact that Volunteers are assigned to work in the public school system they have to abide by the dress code and policies set by each institution, which tend to be conservative. Volunteers should come prepared to use a business casual dress code while working.
Community Location & Physical Hardship
Volunteers are placed in a variety of communities that vary in size and geographical characteristics, from remote, rural indigenous communities to semi-rural resource-poor and access-limited towns, to small peripheral cities. Most Volunteers will be working in rural communities or small towns with limited resources, where their support is needed the most. Some communities can be physically challenging with mountainous terrain, rocky unpaved roads, extensive mud in the rainy season, and water shortages in the dry season. Communities often have high levels of heat/humidity. Some communities might have limited access to electricity. Most Volunteer communities are accessible to the capital within two to eight hours by public transportation. Some communities will have limited transportation options.
Communications & Telephone
Land line and/or cellphones services cover the majority of the country. Most Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) have access to a landline phone either at an educational institution or in the host family’s house. Internet service is not available in all communities and cellular phone service may be limited. Trainees and Volunteers are required to have a local phone number. Peace Corps does not purchase cell phones for Volunteers and encourages them to bring an "unlocked" cell phones from the U.S., while some Volunteers chose to purchase cell phones in Costa Rica.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Costa Rica: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
• Youth Development Promoter
During the 11.5 weeks of Pre-Serving Training couples that come into the program with different levels of Spanish may be separated during the week for Spanish classes, but will live with the same host family.
After Pre-Serving Training, couples will live together at their permanent site. Couples may work at the same school or work at different schools serving the same community. As with all Volunteers couples are required to live with a host family for the first nine months in country (3 months during pre-service training and 6 months in their community of assignment).
After an initial six months in your assigned community, volunteers are eligible to live independently if they receive approval by Program Managers and can identify a living situation in the community that meets Peace Corps’ housing criteria. Some communities do not have a live-alone option and all Volunteers, including couples, must be open to the possibility to living with a host family during their entire course of service.
Medical Considerations in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: ongoing counseling.
- The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Vyvanse.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten.
- After arrival in Costa Rica, 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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