Youth Development Volunteer
You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process
Volunteers work with community members to create and implement youth groups, sports teams, and parent groups. These groups focus on leadership, life skills, personal development, informed decision-making, positive relationships, positive family communication, and incorporate a gender perspective. Fun and engaging activities through groups such as “Superman” boys groups and “Chicas Brillantes” girls groups have had a life changing impact on many of the youth who have participated in these activities. All activities in the youth project have an emphasis on empowerment, positive identity, self-esteem, values, commitment to learning, and constructive use of time.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience
• 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
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).
Volunteers are assigned to both rural communities and small towns. Living conditions and transportation problems can be physically demanding. You will have to use the available transportation existing in your community (in most cases this 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 some communities have electricity, a great many do not, and in all cases, 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. Dominicans consider personal appearance to be a key indicator about a person, and a Volunteer’s appearance will influence his/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 (PCDR) 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. Some considerations are:
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 PCDR network and when visiting larger metropolitan areas.
Ethnicity: Different ethnic, racial or national minority American identities are often not viewed as “American.” Volunteers may thus experience negation of their American identity due to local assumptions of what an American looks like. While some Black/African American Volunteers may blend in with the local Dominican population, others including those who choose to wear their hair in its natural state or braided hairstyles, or have darker skin tones, may be perceived as Haitian. While this may lead to one’s citizenship being questioned and ultimately differential treatment, Volunteers find support and representation within active Dominican natural hair movements in large cities. Despite these challenges, many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences on the diversity of American culture and successfully complete their services with support from the PCDR 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.
Spanish Literacy Promoter- Primary School
Youth Development Volunteer
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 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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