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Community Outreach of Villanova (COV)

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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.

We would LOVE to have you serve with us! While service is underway for the Fall Semester, COV Registration for Spring 2023 is now open and will close on Friday, December 9th. Volunteers are placed on a first-come first-served basis, so be sure to register today!

For any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to email the COV Team

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volunteers  reading to children, visiting elderly and serving food

The opportunities listed below are what we expect to offer for Spring 2023. However, we will be updating this section periodically if any changes or additions arise.

Financial Literacy Outreach at St. I's

Mondays, 9:30-11:30 a.m. 

The Villanova Financial Literacy Outreach program is a weekly program that partners with OMS/St. Ignatius School in West Philadelphia, and teaches middle schoolers about basic financial concepts. Through the program, students will bond with the students and other volunteers, deepen the student understanding of financial concepts and their importance, and ignite lasting positive change in the community. For the Fall semester, the program will take place on Monday mornings. All are welcome!

Fr. Bill Atkinson Service Corps

Mondays and Fridays, 2–4:15 p.m. 

The Fr. Bill Atkinson Service Corps serves individuals with disabilities and meets for fun and fellowship while engaging in exercise, cooking, arts, music, and life skills. A key component of the Service Corps is service projects such as natural environment clean-up, fundraising for cancer research, gathering canned goods for Thanksgiving, and recycling at the Haverford Community Recreation Center (CREC). Volunteers will partner with adults with disabilities to enhance confidence, independence, and health through community opportunities consistent with Catholic values.

La Salle Academy*

Mondays, 2:45-6 p.m. and Fridays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (These exact timings are not yet solidified- we are currently working on plans with LaSalle for the Spring)

Open to students of all faiths and backgrounds; La Salle Academy educates students who are uniquely diverse and offers its students an academically rigorous education designed to prepare them for future success in high school and beyond. Based upon a unique, transformative, and successful model for elementary and middle schools dedicated to serving poor and at-risk students, known as the San Miguel Model, La Salle operates an 11-month school calendar, extended school day from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and class sizes not exceeding 15. Villanova volunteers will work one on one or within a classroom setting supporting students who may need a bit of extra help with reading, math, or other subjects. 

St. Francis Inn Soup Kitchen

Mondays, 3–7 p.m.  

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*

Flexible timing for service. Bi-weekly reflection on Mondays at 8 p.m.

This is a virtual service opportunity offered through St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in South Philadelphia. Through Aquinas, volunteers will serve as tutors and work one-on-one with adult English learners, whose skills may range from beginner to advanced. Volunteers will find one hour a week in their schedule that works best for them and their partner to work together. Additionally, volunteers must participate in bi-weekly reflection with their fellow volunteers on Mondays at 8 pm.

North Light Community Center(RUIBack At It)

Tuesdays, 3–6 p.m.

At North Light, volunteers serve as tutors and/or mentors for students enrolled in the school's aftercare program. Volunteers can expect to help with homework, snack, play outside, and organize crafts or other fun activities!

St. Laurence School* (RUIBack At It)

Wednesdays, 2:30–5:45 p.m.

At St. Laurence volunteers serve as tutors and/or mentors for students enrolled in the school's aftercare program. Volunteers can expect to help with homework, snack, play outside, and organize crafts or other fun activities!

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.

Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (ADROP)

Wednesdays, 6–9 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. 

St. Ignatius/Our Mother of Sorrows School* (RUIBack At It)

Thursdays, 3–6 p.m.

At St. I's / OMS, volunteers serve as tutors and/or mentors for students enrolled in the school's aftercare program. Volunteers can expect to help with homework, snack, play outside, and organize crafts or other fun activities!

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.

SciTime* 

Fridays, 12:45-3 p.m. at St. Laurence School

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.

Holy Family Nursing Home

Saturdays, 11:15 a.m.-2:15 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 by serving lunch, visiting with them as they eat, and assisting as needed.  

Caritas

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. 

*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.

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Volunteers

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. There are, however, opportunities for volunteers to serve once or twice a semester at our service sites that do not work with kids or adult English language learners.

Volunteers build relationships with those they serve. Through this, they are expected to make efforts to learn about the individuals, experiences and social forces that shape the communities in which they serve. Volunteers also commit to fostering community within their volunteer group by participating in conversations during their van rides to and from service and attending COV events. We hope that this kind of intentional service experience fosters transformation in volunteers such that they not only continue to value service in their lives, but also work toward social change for those living on the margins of society.

Leaders

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. 

Logistics

Leaders maintain close relationships with the community partners throughout the year, and are the primary contact with the organization on service days. Leaders take attendance, provide transportation to and from the service experience, and foster community within their volunteer groups.

Formation

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. 

COV Core

The Core is comprised of a small group of dedicated students 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.

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 component of service. COV volunteers engage in reflective conversations on their van rides back from service each week. Reflections encourage COV volunteers to learn about the justice issues and systemic factors that condition the need for service.

These reflections allow us to create a space in which to come together and process our experiences. The goal of reflections 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 hope is to redefine understandings of neighbor, to call volunteers to examine all that they are learning about themselves and those they serve, and to shape future activists.

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