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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 first-year-only service program in which volunteers serve K-8 students in Philadelphia schools and community centers on a weekly basis. 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.   

There are still a few spots open for our Fall 2020 groups!  We encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering for or joining the RUIBAL Community to check out the video and fill out the application.

Fall 2020 Ruibal Overview

Here's what you can expect as a volunteer:

Two or three sophomore leaders drive a RUIBAL group to and from a school, serve alongside you, and lead the group in reflection and conversation during the van rides.  

Volunteers are assigned to serve at one of five 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 gs 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.

RUIBAL Challenge invites first-year Villanova students to use their gifts and talents to build relationships with students in Philadelphia. Our volunteers also have the chance to build community with other each other in a unique environment. 

The program provides a framework in which students can learn about the justice issues that necessitate this kind of service and reflect on how the experience of service affects how they understand 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. They build a community that creates change and discover a commitment that can transform their lives.

The RUIBAL Challenge hopes to build strong partnerships and relationships between Villanova students and the students and communities they serve with. First-year students tutor, mentor and coordinate activities such as sports, drama, the arts, dance ... just about any interest they could bring to grammar school children, including homework help. 

The program has four main goals: 

Invite first-year students tp build community with their peers and the students at the schools where they serve

Engage first-year students in Villanova’s tradition of service and to present an understanding of service grounded in partnership 

Help first-year students discover their God-given gifts and talents and use them ” 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.

Here are the schools we volunteer at each week:

St. Ignatius of Loyola / Our Mother of Sorrows: Tuesday-Friday

North Light Community Center: Monday-Friday

St. Rose of Lima: Monday, Thursday and Friday

LaSalle Academy: Monday and Thursday

St. Frances Cabrini: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

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!

A Message to Our Partner Schools

In this video, Villanova students tell 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.

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 for specific instructions on how to complete clearances.  Volunteers will also receive instructions upon completion of the RUIBAL application.