Local Volunteer Opportunities

photo of service break volunteers

Villanova University is a faith community known for its service to the marginalized of our society. In the spirit of St. Thomas of Villanova, our patron saint, who dedicated his life to the service of the poor, Campus Ministry provides numerous service and social justice opportunities for all members of our Villanova community.

There are different types of service opportunities depending on your interests, availability and time commitment.

During the School Week

During the School Week, there are two main service opportunities: Community Outreach of Villanova (COV) and RUIBAL Challenge. Founded on the cornerstones of Simple Hospitality, Relational Service, Friendship & Community, and Personal Growth, COV offers weekly service opportunities ranging from after-school programs to soup kitchens to community gardens. These experiences are open to volunteers at any time. You can sign up whenever and as often as you’re able or you can make a commitment to serve with the same organization all semester as a COV Fellow. RUIBAL Challenge is a semester-long freshmen program that partners with after-school programs to tutor and mentor children in the Philadelphia community. Volunteers are placed in groups with other freshmen, and commit to serving with the same after-school program weekly for the course of the semester. In addition to direct service experiences, both COV and RUIBAL also provide opportunities for social justice education as well as personal and spiritual reflection. In this way, participants can learn more about the social, economic, and political factors which create the need for service in the first place and reflect on them in light of their own personal experience and commitments.

On the Weekends

On weekends the Villanova Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity volunteers to build homes in the local area, and is involved in advocacy and fundraising throughout the year.

Long-Term Committments

Then there are programs with long-term commitments; for example, a semester, a year, or until graduation. These provide relationship building with children in Bigs & Littles/New Directions.  Additionally, there are short and long-term opportunities to serve the community alongside or as a member of The Knights of Columbus at Villanova.

Once a Year

Once a year Campus Ministry sponsors major events such as Hunger Homelessness Awareness Week in the Fall, and in the Spring Act! Speak! Build! Week and Advocacy Week. These are run almost entirely by volunteers.

Check out a program or event and get involved today:

COV is a weekly service program which partners with community-based organizations in the Philadelphia area working around a variety of issues to create lasting social change. Through COV, participants are able to deepen their commitment to service, learn about the social justice issues which necessitate service in the first place, and reflect on who they feel called be to in light of this experience.

Getting Involved

Getting involved with COV is simple! To volunteer, simply visit the Campus Ministry COV Sign-Up Board on the first floor of St. Rita’s Hall. Add your name to the sign-up sheet for the correct date and organization you’d like to serve with. On the day of service, show up to the Tracy Lounge in Campus Ministry 15 minutes before the trip is supposed to depart in order to meet your leaders, sign-in, and have a brief orientation to the experience. Transportation will be provided, and the times listed on the sign-up board include traveling time.

Please feel free to contact Lisa Mehalick with any questions.

Campus Ministry Room 112
610-519-5178
lisa.mehalick@villanova.edu

The RUIBAL Challenge is an All-Freshman service program that allows a group of first-year Villanova students the opportunity build community by volunteering one day a week (3-6p) to serve and support children in inner-city Philadelphia schools and community centers.  

Purpose of RUIBAL Challenge

The RUIBAL Challenge hopes to build strong partnerships and relationships between Villanova students and the students and communities they serve with. During RUIBAL, freshmen serve as tutors, mentors, and activity coordinators, including opportunities for sports, drama, the arts, dance... just about any interest a Villanova freshmen could bring to the grammar school children, including homework help. There are four main goals of the program: to engage first-year students in building community both with their peers and with the students at the schools in which they serve; to invite freshmen in Villanova’s tradition of service and to contextualize an understanding of service which is grounded in partnership; to help freshmen discover their own “God-given gifts and talents” which will help them become life-long agents of social change, and to create long-term partnerships which forward the mission and ministry of the school communities who partner with the program.   

Who will be selected to serve?

In order to honor participants’ interest and commitment to service, we accept applications on a first come, first served basis. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.,

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Ruibal Mission

RUIBAL Challenge, a freshman-only certificate program, allows first year Villanova students the opportunity to use their unique gifts and talents to build relationships with Philadelphia students. Our volunteers also have the chance to build community with other freshmen in a unique environment. The program provides a framework in which students can learn about the justice issues which necessitate this kind of service, and reflect on how the experience of service impacts their own understanding of themselves, their world, and their spirituality.

Students serve in the spirit of St. Thomas of Villanova, who dedicated his life in service to the poor. In the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching which emphasizes a preferential option for the poor, a commitment to the Common Good, and the pursuit of solidarity, RUIBAL calls students to put their faith into action by practicing a love that does justice, building a community which creates change, and discovering a commitment which can transform their lives.

How can I learn more?

For further information see your Hall's Campus Ministry Intern or contact the RUIBAL Program Coordinator, Lisa Mehalick, St. Rita's Hall Room 112,lisa.mehalick@villanova.edu, 610-519-5178.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic family fraternal service organization with 1.6 million members. It provides members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to the Catholic Church, their communities, families and young people.

Membership Benefits

As a member of the Knights of Columbus you and your family enjoy many benefits, including 12 free issues annually of the Columbia magazine, the world's largest Catholic family magazine, eligibility to join the Knights of Columbus top-ranked life insurance program, and many more family and personal benefits.

How to Join

Although our service events are open to the entire community, membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practicing Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who are at least 18 years old. A practicing Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church. Application blanks are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus.

Interested? Contact us via email at villanovaknights@gmail.com to learn more!

Habitat for Humanity Villanova Chapter

 

 

Our Work

  1. Villanova University Habitat for Humanity
  2. Educates Villanova students, faculty and staff about the need for affordable housing locally and globally.
  3. Advocates for affordable housing through letter-writing campaigns, legislative visits and other events.
  4. Informs local high-school, middle-school and elementary-school students about the work of Habitat for Humanity.
  5. Builds simple, decent, affordbale housing with our partner affiliate Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County.
  6. Raises funds to support the mission of Habitat for Humanity

How to Get Involved

Sign-ups for Saturday build trips to work at Montgomery County Habitat are done electronically.  In order to be notified when trips are planned and register, please email Marissa Cucinotta at mcucinot@villanova.edu.