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Community Outreach of Villanova (COV)

Students in Villanova attire with arms around each other, smiling

About COV  

Community Outreach of Villanova (COV) is a weekly volunteer service program that partners with community-based organizations in the Philadelphia area working to create lasting social change. Participants are able to deepen their commitment to service, learn about the social justice issues that underlie the need for service and reflect on who they feel called be to in light of this experience.

Fall 2021 Information

The application deadline for COV has been extended to Wednesday, 9/22 at 12 pm! After this time, applications will remain open, but we will only be able to place volunteers into groups where availability allows. If you are interested in serving this semester, please fill out the COV Application as soon as you can! COV orientation will take place in the Villanova Room Sunday, September 26 from 2–3:30 p.m. It is our hope that service will start that same week.

Please email the COV Team with any questions!

volunteers  reading to children, visiting elderly and serving food

St. Francis Inn Soup Kitchen

Mondays, 3–7 p.m. (specific dates; not weekly) 

SFI 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. 

Northern Children's Services*

Mondays, 5:45–8 p.m.

NCS believes that every child has the potential to transform him- or herself—no matter their background or life situations. Volunteers spend an hour one-on-one with students, tutoring them in basic math, science and reading. The day often ends with free time/play. 

Aquinas Parish*

Virtual. Flexible service times with volunteer group reflection on Tuesdays or Thursdays, 7–8 p.m., in person on campus

Through St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, volunteers will serve as remote tutors (via WhatsApp or Google Meet) and work one-on-one with adult English learners, whose skills may range from beginner to advanced. 

The tutoring commitment is up to one hour weekly. It can be scheduled for any time that works best for the COV volunteer and tutoring partner. Volunteers must commit to an in-person, on-campus reflection group and attend throughout the semester.

Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (ADROP)

Wednesdays, 6–8:30 p.m.

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 as tutors with adult English learners. They also will have the opportunity to learn Spanish from their tutoring partners. The classes takes place 6:45–7:45. 

UCHC Soup Kitchen

Wednesdays, 5–7:30 p.m.  

University City Hospitality Coalition offers a hot meal to anyone who may need it. Volunteers are responsible for serving the food, carrying trays, pouring tea, cleaning up and visiting with guests. The soup kitchen is housed in Episcopal Cathedral.

Math Motivators*

Days and times TBD

The goal of Math Motivators is to close the opportunity gap and thus the achievement gap. It pairs underserved middle and high school students with professionals and college students with strong mathematics backgrounds.

Philly Reading Coaches*

Date and time TBD

PRC combines early reading support, access to books and community volunteers to boost children's reading skills. The program pairs trained volunteers with students from kindergarten through third grade, and provides fun, child-guided reading experiences that help build reading skills and motivation. 


Day, location and time TBD 

This science learning program is designed to engage elementary-age students with science. Volunteers prepare fun experiments and then work with students as they complete them, helping students to learn about different science topics.

Food Moxie

Days and times TBD

 Food Moxie envisions a world where all people have access to the skills and resources to grow, cook and It educates and inspires people to grow, prepare and eat healthy food, and builds healthy communities by connecting people to the earth, their food, themselves and one another. While we are still learning what COV will do each week, volunteers will likely help with gardening, seed packing and possibly working with youth at school community gardens.

Back on My Feet  

Fridays, 4:55–7:30 a.m.

BoMF supports people experiencing homelessness by fostering confidence and goal-setting through running, and combats stigmas surrounding homelessness. Volunteers run/walk with BoMF members, who also receive assistance with housing, employment and education through the program. Many Villanovans have spent their early Friday mornings with BoMF and have loved every minute.

Holy Family Nursing Home

Saturdays, 1–3 p.m.

Run by 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 as needed.  


One hour a week, according to your schedule

The Monastery on campus is home to many Augustinians, particularly those who are elderly and infirm. Although plans are still being solidified, volunteers should be able to visit with the residents and form personal relationships, as well as be paired with a friar to write letters back and forth. 

RUIBack at It*

Days and times listed below

Hoping to continue your RUIBAL experience?  Did you hear about RUIBAL too late and want to see what it’s all about? Volunteer with other sophomores, juniors and seniors at afterschool programs at North Light (Tuesdays), St. I (Wednesdays) and St. Rose (Fridays). Children range from kindergarten to sixth grade. Volunteers serve as mentors, playmates and role models, assisting with homework, clubs, snacks and games.

St. Ignatius–Our Mother of Sorrows

Wednesdays, 3–6 p.m.

St. Rose of Lima

Thursdays, 3–6 p.m.

North Light Community Center*

Tuesdays, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

*Sites are open ONLY to volunteers who have completed or plan to complete all required clearances to work with minors. Please contact us for information regarding the clearance process.



Any Villanova student is welcome to volunteer with COV. We encourage volunteers to commit to a full semester of weekly service at one site so as to offer consistency and reliability to our partner organizations.   

Volunteers build relationships, learning more about the individuals, experiences and social forces that shape the communities in which they serve. Volunteers also commit to attending two COV Conversations during the semester to better process their experience and to learn more about the social, economic and political factors that create a need for service.

If you are unable to commit to a full semester of service but would like to volunteer once (or a few times), please email us your name, phone number and the service sites you'd be interested in joining for a day. 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! 


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. 


Leaders maintain close relationships with the community partners throughout the year, and are the primary contact with the organization on service days. Leaders provide transportation to and from the service experience. 


Leaders provide a brief orientation on the community partner’s history and mission before every service experience. They lead volunteers through the service experience and facilitate reflection, helping groups process the experience on the way back to campus. Leaders also 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 develop the future direction of the programs and partnerships of COV. The Core consists of three roles that work interdependently: logistics, formation, and advocacy and 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 that condition the need for service.

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 tied to the work of our community partners and to examine the impact these issues have on the experience and social outcomes of the community members.

The COV participants build close relationships with the people they meet through service. This social justice education emphasizes that these personal relationships demand of the participants larger justice commitments. The hope is to redefine understandings of neighbor, collapse the globe and shape future activists.


Reflection is a critical component of service. COV volunteers engage in reflective conversations on their van rides back from service.

These reflections allow us to create a space in which to come together and process our experiences once we’ve had time to sit with them in light of a particular dimension of service. 

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. 

Service leads us to ask, "Who do I become in light of these stories? What must I do to make these voices heard?" Thus, reflection is a critical way to begin this exploration.

For any students interested in volunteering in the Fall 2021 semester, please fill out our application below by Sunday, 9/19 at 8 pm!

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