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The RUIBAL Challenge: Reaching Urban Individuals By Action and Love

College male drawing with sidewalk chalk alongside a young boy

The RUIBAL Challenge is a weekly program in which first-year students serve K-8 students in Philadelphia schools and community centers. In addition, volunteers bond with the other members of their service group, take part in events that talk about social injustices present at the schools where we serve and advocate for positive change.   

If you are interested in serving with us in the 2022-2023 school year, please fill out our RUIBAL interest form to add yourself to our email list and receive important announcements such as the application release and orientation dates. Please email us at with questions or concerns. We would love to have you join for the semester!

Please email the RUIBAL Team with any questions.

Promo Video: What do you love about RUIBAL?

Here's what you can expect as a volunteer:

RUIBAL offers weekly opportunities for volunteers to travel to Philadelphia schools and community centers to serve at their after-school programs as tutors and mentors.  Each group is led by 2-3 sophomore leaders who coordinate all the logistics of service: they drive the RUIBAL group to and from a school, serve alongside you, and lead the group in reflection and conversation during the van rides.  While your group is not at service, RUIBAL Leaders facilitate a strong sense of community within the group, lead the group in reflection opportunities, and facilitate group bonding.

Volunteers are assigned to serve at one of schools. Each site is unique in terms of how volunteers spend their time serving. At one school, we serve through one-on-one tutoring with homework or whatever subject the teacher assigns. In others, it is a mix of homework help, helping with snack/crafts/clubs, and playing with the students during free time. As a whole, all of sites are based in creating real, life-giving relationships with the students.

Volunteers go once a week to their site. They leave campus in vans driven by RUIBAL student leaders at 3 PM and return to campus by 6 PM. In the application process, you tell us your schedule, and we will assign you to a site accordingly, if a slot is open. Placements are first come, first served.

Here are the schools / partners we serve each week:

St. Ignatius of Loyola / Our Mother of Sorrows

North Light Community Center

St. Laurence School

Richard Wright Elementary


Here are our long-time partners that we hope to continue to serve in the future!

St. Rose of Lima

La Salle Academy

St. Frances Cabrini

Group of students looking up at a basketball net in amazement as one student pretends to be making a slam dunk.

In addition to serving weekly, our groups spend time hanging out together and building community. This is our epic Fall North Light Monday group submission that was featured on our RUIBAL Instagram!

We love our students!

During the Spring of 2020, Villanova students told the students at their partner schools how much they miss them during the coronavirus pandemic. They speak words of encouragement and gratitude, and they look forward to when they can be with their RUIBAL partners again. We hope it give you a sense of the spirit of RUIBAL!

Applications for Fall 2022 are open! Email us at if you have any questions about serving with us.

Due to the PA Act 153, all volunteers working with minors are required to complete their background clearances prior to the beginning of service. Please email us at for specific instructions on how to complete clearances.