I. About Mikva Challenge:


Mikva Challenge is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop youth to be informed, empowered, and active citizens and community leaders who will promote a just and equitable society. Mikva Challenge has chapters in California, Washington, DC and Chicago. We engage youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and expertise. We are a dynamic youth empowerment agency that provides adolescents with unique civic learning opportunities and “hands-on” experiences in political campaigns, public policy advocacy, government internships, and youth activism programs. Our approaches include direct youth work, teacher support, and liaising with civic leaders and institutions. We have a strong belief in the potential of youth and a commitment to youth power and voice.

Mikva’s Vision

At Mikva Challenge, we envision a stronger, inclusive democracy that values youth voice.

Mikva’s approach to Youth Work

We believe in a holistic, youth-centered approach to our work, utilizing the frameworks of Action Civics and Positive Youth Development – which creates a beautiful marriage between civics, youth development and social-emotional learning. This “marriage” creates a space where youth are respected, where their lived experience is viewed as their expertise, where youth can uncover their civic voice, feel ownership over their community and city and feel empowered to take action. We also believe in creating partnerships between youth and adults. Our CYCs are integral in creating partnerships between civic institutions and young people.

Citywide Youth Councils

The purpose of the Citywide Youth Councils (CYCs) is to strengthen youth participation in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy in city government through the creation of issue-based youth councils, and to create partnerships between youth and civic institutions. Our five youth councils serve as youth policy experts and advocates, helping the Mayor, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, the Cook County Board President, City Commissioners, and other city leaders make public policy decisions that significantly impact youth. The councils also serve as a mechanism for a broader base of Chicago youth to have input on key city policy decisions that affect them. For more information visit our Website and Facebook page.

II. Areas of responsibility:

The Senior Program Director of the CYC Team will lead and monitor Mikva’s Citywide youth council programming. This position will report to the Chief Program Officer. We are looking for:

1. Coach (care, motivation, setting goals for staff, evaluation, 1:1 communication, check-ins, work review, etc)

a. Directly supervise & coach 5-6 youth council managers i. Facilitate weekly 1:1 coaching session to develop CYC staff’s capacity, development & growth in their profession

  • Develop SMART goals for CYC staff
  • Provide continuous feedback to CYC staff to assist in their growth and improvement through observation of council facilitation
  • Perform mid-year and annual Performance Reviews of all reports

b. Utilize data to inform continuous improvement of program and staff

2. Manager (work management, setting goals for program, budget, strategic planning, org policies, etc)

a. Develop short and long-term strategies for the successful implementation of youth councils that work within systems to drive change in Chicago

b. Lead the vision and strategy of youth council and youth-based work in Chicago i. Set annual programmatic goals for CYCs

  • Ensure that the CYC program is meeting all annual outcomes
  • Monitor data entry and compliance with grant reporting, program outputs and outcomes
  • Continuous evaluation and data collection of program outputs/outcomes to ensure quality improvement

c. Understanding of program funding sources and any city/state contracts (funding requirements)

d. Develop and manage CYC annual program budget

  • Manage programmatic expenses

Trainer (learning sessions, debriefs, professional development/training)

a. Onboard and train all new CYC staff

b. Recruit, hire and train summer, temporary staff

c. Assist CYC staff with curriculum, annual lesson planning, planning for sessions, recruitment of youth to serve on councils

d. Develop and lead as needed training PDs/workshops for CYC staff

Leader (represent the organization internally and externally)

a. Internalize and exemplify Mikva’s culture of coaching staff and servant leadership.

b. Develop and maintain partnerships that can enhance/elevate the work of the CYCs

c. Develop relationships with external stakeholders and decision makers, representing Mikva leadership as needed

d. Attend monthly Supervisors’ meetings

Liaison (with Decision-makers, stakeholders & civic institutions)

a. Supervise communication with partner schools, institutional partners, and any other stakeholders

b. Support staff to regularly communicate with and include institutional partners/civic institutions into Mikva’s youth development process.

c. Assist CYC Managers with the management of their external stakeholders

Admin/Logistics (administrative, summer programming, events)

a. Create and lead planning for implementation of annual Summer CYC programming

b. Support, envision, implement any public facing events focusing on the CYC program

c. Attend weekly Staff meetings

d. Attend, participate in other org meetings where leadership and staff input are needed

e. Develop reports for Mikva board meetings and attend by invitation

III. Who we are looking for:

At Mikva, not only do we want to have a transformative impact on youth voice, and a government structure that values youth, but we also want to build an organization we can be proud of. In the social sector and in the civics landscape, we already have a reputation for being one of the best civic youth development agencies in the country.

The Citywide Youth Council Senior Program Director will have the opportunity to build on all the work we have done over the last 20 years and set up the organization for even greater success – and potentially a national expansion of our youth council model.

The ideal candidate will:

  • Be a master at Managing & Coaching people: They should be able to build a great team where every individual feels supported, experiences success and grows continuously. The role will involve managing five individuals (and potentially more if the program grows).
  • Have in-depth knowledge of what works in Positive Youth Development: A deep knowledge of excellent youth development principles & practices is essential. They should know historical best practices as well as understand where the world is going in the future.
  •  A strong belief & commitment in youth voice & power: The ideal candidate will have experience in the area of positive youth development and potentially – advocacy experience. They should be highly organized and motivated to empower young adults, as well as understand that being non-partisan is important to create a safe space for youth voice and youth reflection (it’s not about us, it’s about them!).
  • Have excellent Training & Planning skills: The candidate should have a successful track record of managing youth workers. They should be a strong planner and an excellent facilitator.
  • How government works in Chicago: Solid knowledge of Chicago schools, government, and the youth development eco-system is a major asset. Understanding policy, and having strong research skills are a must.

IV. What’s in it for you:

  • Contribute to the growth of an exceptional team: Closely work with and empower the Mikva team as they work towards making a transformative impact on the youth development eco-system.
  • Stellar team: Be part of a diverse, high caliber and high performing collaborative team.
  • Industry Leader in Youth Development
  • Compensation range: This is a Level 3 in our org chart and has a salary band of $55k-$73k.


  • A bachelor’s degree or commensurate experience
  • 4+ years experience in advocacy or youth programming
  • 3+ years experience managing people, teams and programs
  • Experienced user of Microsoft Office products (Excel and Word) and social media
  • Must be able to pass a background check

Application Instructions:

This is a full-time position and it includes a competitive salary and generous benefits package. Candidates should be prepared to offer three professional references upon request. Candidates will be required to complete a background check in order prior to hire. Review of applications will begin immediately. Email your resume and cover letter to: humanresources@mikvachallenge.org

No phone calls will be accepted!

Equity Statement:

At Mikva Challenge, we celebrate difference and are committed to providing equitable opportunities, addressing the effects of power and privilege. Mikva Challenge is proud to be an equal employment opportunity workplace. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other factor covered by federal, state, or local statutes. We want to create an empowering space to change lives!