Faith without works is dead.
Faith, Hope and Love are three virtues St. Augustine trumpeted as foundational for Christian living. We at Villanova College are called to live in faith, in hope and in love through service to one another as Jesus taught and St. Thomas of Villanova modeled. In this spirit, every student is expected to complete individual Christian Service hours and an associated project. The sincerest way of expressing thankfulness for blessings received, and to put into action our call to active Christian discipleship, is to use the gifts and talents we have for the benefit of God's people. It is our hope that a student's service experience will go beyond simple volunteering and provide an opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and the world around them and to aid in the process of making this world a better place.
Adopt-a-Senior is a student-led program that allows students the opportunity to enrich their service experience and develop meaningful relationships with the senior residents of Richview Manor. Every week, student volunteers prepare and guide the residents through activities that respect the needs and interests of the residents including crafts, bingo and games, as well as annual events such as Strides for Stroke and Christmas carolling with VC voices!
In association with Me to We excursions, we are pleased to offer a bi-annual mission trip to Ecuador. On previous trips, students have worked with local indigenous people to help build a school in a remote mountain village in Chimborazo province and participate in a water walk. Students are empowered to see themselves as agents of change in their own lives as well as the lives of others. It is a gift for our students and teachers to travel to new parts of the world and bring a little Villanova love in action to others and bring the experience home as they continue to form themselves in the spirit of Jesus.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me to bring . . . Good News to the Poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and proclaim a year of the Lord’s favor” Luke 4: 18
Villanova is proud of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Each year our grade 12 students have the opportunity to volunteer in a Habitat build. Through this experience, our students put God's love into action as they help in the construction or renovation of a home for a family in need.
Kids2Kids is a student-led initiative that brings together our grade 12 and grade 6 students - kids helping kids in the world. Through classroom workshops and activities, students develop an awareness of children in the developing world and the challenges they face growing up. Together they create fundraising and advocacy activities in support of the children VC sponsors through Chalice, a Catholic sponsorship program founded by Fr. Pat Cosgrove, an archdiocesian priest from Nova Scotia. Chalice sponsors over 48,000 young people, in fifteen countries throughout the world. Kids2Kids activities include writing letters to our sponsored children and a cookie exchange program, through which students in the entire school were encouraged to bring in milk bags. The Kids2Kids students then made milk bag sleeping mats for children in the developing world. Each mat uses approximately 300 bags per production and up to 5 children may sleep on one of these mats a night. Kids2Kids creates leadership opportunities for some of our youngest students working with some Grade 12’s to create change in our world.
At Villanova College, we are blessed with a close relationship with the Augustinian community at MaryLake Shrine of Our Lady of Grace. In addition to celebrating Mass monthly at the Shrine, many of our students choose to earn part or all of their required Christian service hours by spending an hour after school helping with cleaning around the Shrine and monastery.
The Middle School Outreach initiative strives to bring Villanova’s core values of Unitas, Veritas and Caritas to life in our community, while giving Middle Schoolers the opportunity to participate in outreach initiatives. Initiatives include: writing inspirational notes to accompany the Upper School’s sandwiches on Sandwich Patrol; assembling craft kits for patients at Sick Kids Hospital; and the creation of Villanova’s very own Christmas Kindness Calendar which challenged students to complete an act of kindness each day leading up to the Christmas Break. The goal of this club is to help Middle School students learn to give back and lead by example – an act of kindness, no matter how small, can have a big impact!
Sandwich Patrol is an outreach initiative which was started at Villanova 15 years ago. Students are invited to step out of their comfort to zone to help ease the problem of homelessness in downtown Toronto. On patrol dates, students prepare sandwiches and organize clothing and travel to downtown Toronto in search of those in need. Over the past 15 years, over 15700 sandwiches have been shared, along with warm clothes and other resources in an attempt to ease the pain and worry associated with homelessness. Led by Villanova teachers, students on patrol interact with the homeless, sharing conversation and hope with those they meet. Students learn about the issues and stereotypes concerning homelessness and emulate the work of our patron saint St. Thomas of Villanova, demonstrating Caritas, Veritas, and Unitas to those we help. By seeking Christ in others and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through them, students continue to make a modest difference in the lives of those we help.
Working with Arise Ministry, we offer this overnight outreach experience for our senior students. Students participate in an extensive street walk, an evening of discussion and prayer, a morning activity preparing street kits, followed by lunch, a daytime street walk, and then Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral. This is a powerful experience that opens the eyes of our students to a part of Toronto few of us ever see or hear about.
Our annual Terry Fox Run Day is an amazing display of unitas, veritas and caritas. In a moving morning assembly, our community comes together to honour and remember those who have been affected by cancer. We then move outside to participate in a five kilometre run on the beautiful grounds of MaryLake. This is a school-wide event, with all students, faculty and administration taking part.
Since our first run in 2004, Villanova College is proud to have raised more than $400 000 in support of the Terry Fox Foundation. In each of those years, VC has ranked in the top 10 of all schools in Ontario. Our goal every year is to keep Terry's dream alive; we know that every dollar makes a profound difference in the efforts to find a cure for this disease that has affected so many. Read more about our very special 2018 Terry Fox Run here.