If you have a desire to work with at-risk youth in a residential setting, consider one of the many positions that go into maintaining an orphanage. From management to housekeeping, this industry offers rewarding but challenging career choices.
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The manager provides the leadership of the orphanage. Since the organization's funding is a major concern for the manager, you may have to work on fundraising events to raise capital. The manager also has to make sure the organization appropriates these funds in a responsible manner. You handle the budgeting of the orphanage and make sure the orphanage meets all its financial responsibilities. Ensuring proper staffing and completion of all essential duties are also part of the job.
Education Is Key
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Orphanages employ teachers to educate the students who reside there. In the United States, the teachers must have the same level of education and licensing as they would in traditional schools. International orphanages hire teachers according to the laws in their countries. Teaching in an orphanage requires you to develop lesson plans, provide instruction and assess achievement. Orphanages need teachers who can instruct various grade levels, due to their students' diversity. To teach at an orphanage, you should also be comfortable working with children who have emotional and mental challenges.
Counselors and Therapists
Due to the unique circumstances and backgrounds of orphans, the presence of social workers and counselors is vital. Social workers use their resources to find long-term housing for the children. As a social worker in an orphanage, you locate people willing to adopt or act as foster parents. Your duties also include screening potential parents and making decisions about their appropriateness for adoption of a child. Orphanage social workers monitor placements after they're made and may have the authority to remove children from a home if they suspect that the placement was't in the child's best interest.
Counselors and therapists help orphanages handle the mental and emotional challenges of the children and their families. These employees have one-on-one interactions with the children to create individualized service plans and provide appropriate treatment. As a counselor, you may also moderate group sessions, where you provide services to a number of children at the same time. You must document all work done in this capacity, so written communication skills are important.
Orphanages are residential and require staff members to provide daily services for the children who live there. As a cook in an orphanage, you schedule the daily menus. You have to stay informed about the children's dietary limitations and incorporate them into the menus. The cook also assists in creating the food service budget.
Janitors are also essential to an orphanage. To maintain compliance with regulations, the facilities must be clean and in acceptable condition. Janitors work on a daily basis, performing general cleaning duties in all areas of the orphanage.
Erika Winston is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, with more than 15 years of writing experience. Her articles have appeared in such magazines as Imara, Corporate Colors E-zine and Enterprise Virginia. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University and a Masters in public policy from New England College.