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Community Outreach of Villanova (COV)

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What is COV?  

Community Outreach of Villanova (COV) is a weekly volunteer 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.

How Can YOU Get Involved?

Apply to be a semester-long COV Volunteer and commit to serve at a particular site weekly OR volunteer when you're able at sites that don't require a weekly commitment!  Our hope is to provide as many weekly, committed volunteers as possible to our partner sites so that we can build relationships and support the site and those we serve as best as we can. Click on the blue "COV Application" button to get started.

Fall 2020 applications are now open!

Click on the blue "COV Volunteer Application" button to get started. We have a priority deadline of June 24th @11:59 PM, but will continue to accept applications after this time.  Please note, if we are unable to serve in person in the Fall due to Covid-19, we hope that you will still join us to support our community partners remotely!


Please contact the COV Team with any questions.  [610] 519–5178 | St. Rita Hall, Room B-04.


St. Francis Inn Soup Kitchen


Mondays 3–7 PM (specific dates; not weekly) St. Francis Inn Soup Kitchen is a welcoming community grounded in care and respect for every person’s human dignity. SFI offers volunteers an opportunity to interact with guests in a restaurant-style setting. Volunteers may be asked to participate by serving guests, busing tables, cleaning dishes, or organizing the pantry. SFI is located in the neighborhood of Kensington in Philadelphia.


Northern Children's Services*


Mondays 5:45–8 PM, NCS believes that every child has the potential to transform him or herself—no matter their background or life situations. Volunteers spend an hour of one on one time with students; tutoring them in basic math, science, and reading and we often end the day with free time/play. NCS is located in the neighborhood of Roxborough.


Aquinas Center (English as a Second Language Tutor)*


Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:45–9:10 PM Aquinas Center is located on the campus of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, and it offers a wealth of programs, including community organizing, immigration legal services, and English classes. The Center is a safe and welcoming place where visitors experience radical hospitality through the many services offered. Volunteers will assist adults with English language tutoring. The ability to speak Spanish (or any other language) is not required. 


Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor


Tuesdays 6–8:45 PM Located in the heart of South Philadelphia, ADROP’s mission is to is to build bridges between providers, recipients and community leaders across economic, political and religious spectra. COV Volunteers will serve Spanish-speaking adults learning basic computer skills by assisting the lead teacher and working with individual students.  Spanish speaking ability is ideal for computer class volunteers. Classes are very interactive and conversation-based, empowering both students and teachers to share and learn each other’s languages. Basic Spanish knowledge is ideal but not required of Intercambio volunteers. Volunteers may also be asked to also work with the children of those in attendance from time to time throughout the semester. 


UCHC Soup Kitchen


Wednesdays 4:45–7:30 PM, Formally known as St. Agatha's soup kitchen, this soup kitchen is run through the University City Hospitality Coalition.  Volunteers are responsible for serving the food, clean-up, and visiting with guests. To serve, volunteers can carry trays, serve food or pour juice.  The soup kitchen is housed in Episcopal Cathedral, located in University City.


Families Forward and St. Barnabas Shelters*


Wednesdays 6–8:45 PM | Thursdays 6–8:30 PM  St. Barnabas Mission and Families Forward are emergency shelters for families, providing stability through supportive services. Volunteers serve as role models and friends for children during the weekly SPARK exercise program (Safe Physical Activity and Recreation for Kids), run through Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. St. Barnabas is located in the Carroll Park section of West Philadelphia and Families Forward is located right next to CHOP.


SciTime at St. Frances Cabrini*


Wednedays 1:15–3:15 PM  SciTime is a new science learning program designed to engage elementary age students with science.  Volunteers work directly with students as they complete experiments, helping students to learn about and explore different science topics. SciTime takes place at one of our RUIBAL Sites: St. Frances Cabrini Regional Catholic School. Day and time not yet solidified for Fall 2020.


Back on My Feet  


Fridays 5 AM– 7:30 AM   BoMF is a program that supports people experiencing homelessness by fostering confidence and goal-setting through running. It simultaneously combats stigmas surrounding homelessness. Volunteers run/walk with people experiencing homelessness, the BoMF members. Members also receive assistance with housing, employment, and education through the program.


Hub of Hope: Project Home


Fridays 9:15 AM–1:45 PM  Located in Suburban Station, the Hub of Hope offers a safe place where people experiencing homelessness can enjoy a warm cup of coffee, take a shower and wash laundry, seek medical care, or speak to case managers to begin the process of finding a permanent home. Volunteers spend time providing hospitality to participants by serving coffee and assisting with basic services the Hub offers.


Holy Family Nursing Home


Saturdays 10:30 AM–2:30 PM Run through the Little Sisters of the Poor, HFNH offers the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity.  Volunteers serve through forming relationships with residents, leading activities, serving lunch, and assisting with whatever the sisters might need each week.  




One hour/week minimum, according to your schedule. The Monastery on campus is home to many Augustinians, particularly those who are elderly and infirm. Through Caritas, volunteers visit with the residents and form personal relationships with them. Volunteers commit to spending at least 1 hour each week at the monastery, depending on when volunteers are available and available to serve.  

RUIBack at It*

Hoping to continue your RUIBAL experience?  Did you hear about RUIBAL too late and want to finally see what it’s all about?  Join us at St. I’s, St. Rose, or North Light on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays respectively with fellow upperclassmen to volunteer at their afterschool programs for children ranging from kindergarten to grade 6. Volunteers serve as mentors, playmates, and role models for the students, while providing homework help in addition to assisting with clubs, snacks, and games.  Join us to become a role model...and have a lot of fun!

St. Ignatius / Our Mother of Sorrows*

Mondays 3-6 PM


St. Rose of Lima*

Tuesdays 3–6 PM


St. Frances Cabrini*  

Thursdays 3–6 PM 


North Light Community Center*

Fridays 3–6 PM

*These sites are ONLY open to volunteers who have completed or plan to complete all required clearances to work with minors.  Please email for information regarding the clearance process!



Any Villanova student is welcome to join us as a COV Volunteer.  We encourage anyone that is interested in volunteering through COV to commit to a full semester of service at a particular service site so as to offer consistency and reliability to our partner organizations.   

Volunteers commit to serving with the same partner organization on a weekly basis for an entire semester, thereby making an important commitment to those they are serving. Through this experience, volunteers build relationships over time, learning more about the individuals, experiences, and social forces that shape the communities in which they serve.  In addition to weekly service, volunteers also commit to attending two "COV Conversations" throughout the semester in order to better process their experience and to learn more about the social, economic, and political factors which create a need for service in the first place.

If you are unable to commit to a full semester of service but would like to volunteer once (or a few times) throughout the semester, we encourage you to email us at  We cannot guarantee space at any of our sites, but if there is a free seat in the van one week, we would love to have you join us! Email us with your name, phone number, and what service sites you'd be interested in joining for a day if we find there is an available seat!


COV Leaders are volunteers who have worked with a particular community partner, and want to guide other volunteers in becoming a part of that community as well. Leader responsibilities include both logistical and formational aspects. Leaders maintain close relationships with the community partners throughout the year, and are the primary contact with the organization on service days. In addition to heading the groups, leaders are also responsible for providing transportation to and from the service experience. However, leaders also take a more formational role as well. Leaders are responsible for providing a brief orientation to the community partner’s history and mission before every service experience, for leading volunteers through the service experience, and for facilitating reflection and helping groups process the experience on the way home from service in the van. Additionally, leaders serve as mentors and resources for their groups during the Social Justice Forum and monthly COV Community Reflections.

COV Core

The Core is comprised of a small group of dedicated participants, fellows, and leaders who work to strategically develop the future direction of the programs and partnerships of COV. The Core consists of three roles that work interdependently: Logistics, Formation, and Advocacy & Education.


In a commitment to social justice, COV hosts "COV Conversations" and advocacy opportunities for COV participants to gather as a group and learn about the justice issues and systemic factors which condition the need for service in the first place.

The goal of these activities is to create a justice-based framework through which students can process their service experience in an effort to bridge the gap between charity and solidarity. The Conversations are designed to raise awareness about issues which are directly tied to the work of our different community partners, and to examine the larger impact these issues have on the experience and social outcomes of the community members who face them.

The COV participants have the opportunity to build close relationships with the people they meet through service over the course of the semester, and the thrust of this social justice education is to emphasize that these personal relationships also demand of the participants larger justice commitments. In this, the hope is to redefine understandings of neighbor, collapse the globe, and shape future activists.


In line with its cornerstones, COV sees reflection as a critical component of service. Therefore, COV hosts monthly reflection opportunities facilitated by Campus Ministry Interns, each focusing on a theme relating to our understanding of service. These reflections allow us to create an important space to come together as a community to process our experiences once we’ve had time to sit with them in light of a particular dimension of service. Mother Teresa states, “so you say you love the poor … name them”.

The idea behind this is that service isn’t just about the doing of work, but about encountering people, learning their names and their stories, and dignifying them by sharing their names and stories with others … in so becoming a voice for the voiceless. Service is not just an activity, but is also a critical question of who do I become in light of these stories and what must I do to make these voices heard? And so COV believes that reflection is a critical way to begin this exploration.