Engagement Specialist, General

  • Location
    Multiple locations, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    May 19

Position description

buildOn is a not-for-profit organization working to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. We’re not a charity, we’re a movement. In the United States, we run intensive service-learning programs in under-resourced, urban high schools in six major cities. Through these programs, buildOn empowers youth to transform their communities through high-impact service. Over the last 29 years, buildOn has empowered more than 100,000 urban youth to contribute more than 2.6 million hours of service that have touched the lives of more than one million people living below the U.S. poverty line.

Globally, teams of students from buildOn programs fan out across the world to help build schools in the economically poorest countries on the planet. We have now built over 1600 schools in Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Malawi and Nepal. More than 220,827 children, parents and grandparents attend these schools every day and at least 50% of these buildOn students are girls or women. Community members have organized leadership committees and contributed more than 2.9 million volunteer workdays to building their schools.

 Who We Want

buildOn seeks an experienced and committed professional with a demonstrated passion for engaging youth in breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through participation in service-learning both in school and out in the community. A successful Engagement Specialist believes in the capacity of all young people and builds on their Constructive Leadership skills so they can grow as individuals and mobilize their peers to join the movement. Constructive Leadership inspires solidarity and unleashes inner courage, grit, empathy and passion for the possible and it can only be ignited through service!

At the same time, He/she embraces the opportunity to bring people together to serve in solidarity to effect positive social change. They are optimistic about the potential of connecting those who might not otherwise have the chance to serve and learn together. This occurs through Immersion programs where donors and students come together to learn about each other, grow their Constructive Leadership skills, and serve the local community side by side. Similarly, this is achieved in the Trek program where students have the opportunity to travel to a buildOn partner country, live with a host family, and serve in solidarity to build a school. 

The Engagement Specialist is motivated by achieving student engagement goals as measured by Key Performance Indicators which ensure both the quality and reach of the program. These indicators are essential to ensuring program reach and the ability of the program to have a positive impact on students. The specialist is passionate about engaging youth in service!


What You’ll Do 

You will work in partnership with teachers, administrators, guidance and students to implement buildOn’s IPARD service-learning curriculum.  Utilizing universal methodology and resources, you will develop students as leaders by engaging them in each step of IPARD. You will use an array of strategies ranging from digital to in-person in order to extend your reach. You will regularly partner with teachers to do classroom service-learning projects as well as get students out in the community to serve after school, on weekends, and during other days off from school. Students will<i> investigate</i> issues in their communities, digging deep into the systemic causes which perpetuate homelessness, poverty, blight, etc. Students will <i>Prepare</i> to address either the root causes or to help alleviate the immediate human suffering and then take <i>action </i>by serving those who need it most. After service, careful r<i>eflection </i>helps the students understand the power of their service - understanding the effect it has on themselves and on the community they serve. Finally, students <i>demonstrate</i> what they have learned along with the effects of their service to their community. <i>Demonstration </i>also offers an opportunity to advocate for system change.


Core Job Functions

Student Engagement in Service Learning

In partnership with a local high school, facilitate buildOn IPARD Service Learning for 150 students monthly through classroom IPARD instruction alongside teachers, after school, on Saturdays and during time off from school.

  • Work closely with teachers to engage students in IPARD service learning which is curriculum aligned, increasing academic engagement and connection to school, and/or leading to social and emotional learning.
  • Engage students in virtual service, socially/physically distant service, and direct service depending on CDC and local guidelines. (Proper training and PPE will be provided)
  • Utilize a mix of in-person interactions and digital tools which will include but are not limited to social media (such as Instagram), virtual meeting platforms (such as Google Meet or Zoom), and learning platforms such as Google classroom.
  • Recruit and support students for Immersions to serve in solidarity with donors (36 Hours, Partnership Program, and Digital Immersions) and Trek (an opportunity for students to travel to the developing world to help build a school).
  • Partner with the Digital Community Organizer to grow student participation using peer-to-peer recruitment and by using a suite of online and digital tools.
  • In coordination with the Digital Community Organizer, help manage the school-based social media channels such as a school-based Instagram account.

Achievement of KPI Focuses & Data-Driven Decisions

  • Use the Salesforce platform to enter engagement data in a timely fashion and use tools and analytics to drive tactics for expanding the reach and engaging more students in service.
  • Meet student recruitment goals for participation in Immersions with buildOn stakeholders. 

Constructive Leadership

  • Serve as the adult facilitator for the school-based Leadership Committee which will inform school-based events and service-learning projects. 
  • Incorporate opportunities for young people to lead in each part of IPARD
  • Work with regional team to run the Summer Leadership Institute.

Relationship Building

  • Establish, develop, and maintain strategic partnerships with school advisors and counselors, administrators, faculty, support staff, parents and local community partners. Work in partnership with the teachers to engages students in the classroom.
  • Provide outreach to parents/guardians and gain their support for engaging students in service-learning.
  • Establish relationships with partner organizations to connect students to needed services that are outside of buildOn’s scope.

One buildOn

  • Support collaboration with other departments, such as Development, Marketing, Global, Finance, and HR to meet organizational goals, such as fund development and elevating student voice, to work as ONE buildOn.
  • Work collaboratively with Marketing to elevate student's voice and identify students who can demonstrate the transformational impact of service-learning.
  • Support the planning and execution of all regional events, including Service Kick Off, Citywide Service, Celebrate buildOn! and other large-scale events.
  • Manage school budget and personal expense report.


What You Bring 

  • Personal commitment to buildOn’s mission – the power of service to change lives, communities, and the world
  • buildOn Alumni preferred (indicate buildOn Alumni status in the application, if applicable). Extensive experience living and/or working in underserved communities. Commitment to creating programs for youth that are empowering and antiracist.
  • 2+ years of engaging youth in service out in the community or in the classroom through service-learning.
  • Ability to work cooperatively and responsibly as a member of a team with colleagues extending into the school community. Willingness to take initiative in co-developing and implementing new service-learning initiatives in partnership with the school. Demonstrated skills as a teacher/facilitator or experience working side-by-side teachers/facilitators particularly implementing service-learning projects.
  • Demonstrated use of a mix of in-person interactions and digital tools which will include but are not limited to social media (such as Instagram), virtual meeting platforms (such as Google Meet or Zoom), and learning platforms such as Google classroom. Ability and or willingness to learn the use of new technology to implement programs.
  • Experience harnessing the power of students to address systemic issues and make meaningful and lasting change in their own lives, the community, and the world through service-learning. Knowledge of the systemic issues that inhibit the growth of communities and a strong desire to develop youth so they can be the drivers of positive social change through service.
  • Experience and commitment to data-driven or evidence-based practices to increase student engagement and achieve goals.
  • Organized and disciplined with time to effectively accomplish multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Functional knowledge of regional school district(s) and educational and nonprofit landscape.
  • Relevant educational background (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience)

buildOn offers a competitive and comprehensive benefits package to its employees. That includes insurance plans that support your health and well-being, and a retirement plan for added financial security. New employees are offered immediate participation in all buildOn benefits.

Application instructions

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