Better Days is looking for a School Counselor for Gekko Kids Athens.
* Extended deadline till 9/02/2023
Better Days Greece was founded in Greece in 2016 in response to the influx of refugees arriving in Lesvos, Greece. It is the Greek implementing partner of Together for Better Days, a Swiss NGO. Together we have supported many projects in Greece, Lebanon, Serbia, and Syria. We want to see a world where refugees and asylum seekers are guaranteed access to their rights and are treated with dignity and humanity. A world where no child under any circumstances is forced to endure the physical and psychological trauma currently faced by millions of children across the world. Some of our most successful projects to date include: The Olive Grove/Better Days for Moria, Elpida Refugee Centre, TAPUAT Child & Family Hub, EcoHub, Socrates Sports & Development, MIRE (Mapping, Identification & Registration Exercise for UASC), Central Triage Pharmacy, Themida Greece and of course our flagship Gekko Kids. Better Days’ primary missions are based in Athens and on Lesvos.
Better Days Greece has worked within the refugee community and as part of the grassroots and formal sector to support those seeking a safer future, with a specific focus on holistic support for unaccompanied and separated children and youth. Since inception, we have successfully implemented several interventions in Moria camp on Lesvos and designed and managed globally awarded and recognised humanitarian programs in Athens, Lesvos, and Thessaloniki. Our flagship project Gekko Kids (2017-2022), was an alternative educational centre for UASC (unaccompanied and separated children) implemented in Lesvos. Gekko is focused on providing high-quality, individualised education and support and was recently shortlisted by the 5th Global Entreps Awards Committee as one of the 100 Best Practices in the world on Sustainability (UN SDGs), Innovation and/ or Good Governance in education programming.
At Gekko, we strive to create a curriculum that expands outside the traditional academic structures and allows our students to explore different facets of education that inspire creativity and personal development. Our non-traditional and innovative teaching methods, the experience of our staff, and the individualised approach characterising our work have allowed our students to improve their educational and employment prospects, obtain accreditation and assume agency in their lives. The provision of a dignified, safe and child-friendly space is foundational for the effective implementation of our programs.
This is a position that requires compassion, commitment and excellent programmatic skills. The role will ensure that ‘Gekko Kids’ fulfills its main function as a non-formal, non-traditional educational center: to offer quality education to its students and enhance their prospects for personal growth and career/academic development. Specifically, the role requires confidence with the provision of one-on-one counseling and group work, curriculum D&D, HR management, and MEAL, since it will oversee Gekko’s MHPSS activities to ensure that students receive personalised care and support to overcome or deal with difficulties, and manage trauma.
Children and young adults who have been exposed to trauma or multiple traumatic experiences have less capacity to process things; which makes them less permeable to knowledge. Our MHPSS goals are to restore human dignity and a sense of hope in the lives of the people we work with. Our objectives have humble and realistic intentions: we do not aspire to treat all of the students we work with, but to alleviate their suffering and reduce the number of students paralysed by hopelessness, anxiety, stress and depression. If we help our students identify their emotions, we can train them to deal with them. We believe that we have the utmost responsibility of facilitating a healing process for those who enter our classrooms whilst acknowledging the barriers their living circumstances pose to education as well as to treatment. Only then can we unleash their true potential and support them in meeting their academic goals.
This is a field-based position, located in Athens. The right candidate must be experienced with the provision of MHPSS services in Greece. They will manage a small team of MHPSS staff and volunteers who will be responsible for implementing the MHPSS curriculum. They will be confident with teaching and training their team and others as required on Child Protection, Safeguarding, Trauma Support, SEL methodology. They will also be responsible for promoting a trauma-aware environment and creating a safe space in which staff, volunteers and students can seek advice about difficult matters in privacy.
The School Counselor will work closely with the Head of Academics, the social worker and special education teachers, other educational staff, the volunteer coordinator and the management of Better Days.
Main functions include
- Conduct a first assessment with all new students (integrated component of our admissions protocol)
- Diagnose students’ individual needs to access, attend and meet their learning objectives/ submit report to HoA
- Provide one-on-one counseling as required and monitor student progress
- Refer students to external partners or procure services as required to allow our students to access adequate care in areas such as basic aid, mental health, medical care, social support and so forth
- Design and develop Gekko’s MHPSS curriculum
- Oversee the implementation of the MHPSS curriculum
- Be aware of emerging approaches in education for disadvantaged groups and propose innovations that lead to improving our services
- Promote an inclusive environment through the implementation of teachers’ training, investment in physical spaces and equipment, appropriate use of verbal and written language and the adoption of inclusive educational practices
- Create robust safeguarding strategies (preventive measures and coping mechanism) to promote a positive experience of education for all and prevent harm within the premises of Gekko Kids. For example, in order to promote an inclusive culture in our classrooms we can celebrate diversity, encourage integration amongst people from different backgrounds, educate students on the serious consequences bullying can have on people’s mental health, hold regular antibullying campaigns, address gender and other disparities at school by intentionally targeting marginalised groups and so forth
- Contribute to the design of a Learning and Development (L&D) plan for all staff to ensure that Gekko Kids’ services meet quality standards. Train the team in areas of expertise: SEL, Child/Youth Protection, Self-Care, Inclusive Education, Humanitarian Standards, and Safeguarding to mention but some
- Ensure compliance with the QMS as required by the Management
- Create or develop Better Days’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and relevant documentation to ensure the effective implementation of counseling and MHPSS services
- Identify development opportunities and establish external pathways/partnerships that enhance student development and wellbeing
- Support with HR recruitment and performance management of both staff and volunteers involved with MHPSS activities
- Monitor compliance with BD’s Child Safeguarding and Protection standards by all staff, volunteers and partners
- Produce Senior-level reports
- Represent BD in national or international advocacy forums (as required) and lead advocacy efforts in their area of expertise
Educational Requirements and Experience:
- Excellent level of English and Greek language
- Familiarity with the operations of the Greek mental health public system
- University degree in Psychology, Counselling, or Social work. Candidates with accreditation in teaching, school or child psychology, social education, special education, business administration, and/or refugee education will be prioritised
- 3+ yrs professional experience as a psychologist/ school counselor/ social worker or similar post. Candidates with previous experience working with displaced populations will be prioritised
- Previous humanitarian experience is required
- Advanced IT skills
- Experience with management is a requirement
- Key characteristics: experienced, determined, self-driven, versatile, resourceful, positive, excellent communicator with project management skills and passionate about the cause
- Previous experience working with youth will be an advantage
Please note that candidates who do not meet the requirements will not be considered.
- The role is based in Athens, Greece
- Status: Full-time position
- Starting date: TBD
- Duration: 3-month probationary period / with 6-month long extension(s)
Better Days is a small and dynamic organisation looking to hire people who are passionate about humanitarian work, understand its risks and complexities, and are interested in investing in their role long-term. We are a quality-driven organisation determined to provide grassroots, holistic and effective solutions to support the integration and de-victimization of displaced communities in Europe, focusing on refugee education and empowerment of youth. Our colleagues come from all over the world, and our official business language is English. The ideal candidate will be inducted for two weeks and trained during the probation period. At the end of a third month’s contract, the candidate is expected to participate in Better Days’ Employee Survey and Self-Assessment, which is part of their employee evaluation.
How to apply:
To apply, all applicants should please send their CV and a cover letter in English to: [email protected] with the subject “School Counselor application”. Candidates who attach their CVs in any other language will not be considered.
Due to excessive workload, only successful candidates who meet the minimum criteria will be contacted. Note that BD has a thorough 3-step interview process, and our average processing time is 30-days depending on our workload.
Interviews will take place in February. Closing date: 09/02/2023 or until the position is filled