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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 gather with others from diverse backgrounds around a common purpose, deepen their commitment to service, learn about the social justice issues that underlie the need for service, and reflect on who they feel called to become in light of this experience.

We would LOVE to have you serve with us! We are still looking for volunteers for the Fall 2023 semester and registration is open now.

Volunteers are placed on a first-come first-served basis, so be sure to register today!

Group of three people smiling
volunteers  reading to children, visiting elderly and serving food

The opportunities listed below are what we expect to offer for Fall 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!

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, 4:45–6:45 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. 

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!

Breaking Bread Community Shelter

Tuesdays, 5-7:30p.m.

Breaking Bread Community Shelter is homeless shelter for singles and is pet-friendly. It is the culmination of the vision and work of the Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP), a student organization birthed out of Villanova that has spread to other campuses throughout greater Philly. Volunteers help build community with the residents by playing games, watching movies, sharing meals together, helping residents with resumes and housing applications, and other fun activities.

Aquinas Parish*

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9pm

Through the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in South Philadelphia, volunteers will serve as tutors and work one-on-one or at a table with adult English learners, whose skills may range from beginner to advanced, in the context of an ESOL class taught by parish volunteers.

St. Laurence School* (RUIBack At It)

Wednesdays and Thursdays, 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!

Fr. Bill Atkinson Service Corps

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.


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.  


One hour a week, worked out with your group and according to a flexible schedule.

The Monastery on campus is home to many Augustinians, particularly those who are elderly and infirm. Volunteers should be able to visit with the residents and form personal relationships with some of the wisest men on campus. For those interested in working in healthcare or chaplaincy, the Monastery and its medical floor provide a unique opportunity to serve the friars while also growing relational and pastoral skills.

*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. 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.


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 take attendance, provide transportation to and from the service experience, and foster community within their volunteer groups.


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.


Follow us on Instagram! @nova_cov

Jamie Auerbach Fall 2019 pic 3


Josh Kammerer

St. Mary's Hall, 109