Mission Statement: The PV Volunteers are an ecumenical community of diverse individuals. By providing a service experience in a variety of settings, we respond to human need, form relationships and encourage change and growth both in ourselves and with those we serve.

Visit our website to find out more: www.pvprogram.org

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Aurora, IL Summary and More Pics

We are back after a little technical glitch with our website and wanted to provide a summary of all the wonderful work the volunteers did during the week, as well as share a few more pictures.

It was a great week with a wide variety of experiences and opportunities:

  • Hesed House – Volunteers prepared and served a meal, cleaned out a storage room that was effecting the heath of residents, painted an office used for pro-bono legal work, helped to retrieve a donated vehicle
  • Hesed House/Lighthouse – Volunteers removed an old carpet in two rooms of an apartment that was causing respiratory issues for it’s resident and replaced with a new carpet. The resident was a former guest at Hesed House and is still part of their Light House Program, following up with needed service.
  • St. Rita’s Catholic Church – Volunteers helped to lay a floor in two rooms for a family who recently purchased a house that needed some work. The family provided the flooring and some of the equipment needed, (and lunch!) we just provided the labor.
  • World Relief (Refuge Services) – Volunteers helped to move items from a neighboring town, drive the large U-Haul truck and set up for their annual fundraising dinner. Once all the items were at the venue, volunteers set up a mock refuge camp and a mock first apartment when refuges arrive. The coordinator of the event was on crutches and appreciated all the extra hands.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Aurora - Friday, September 18

Our last work day in Aurora.... Today we decided to divide and conquer. We had one group go and finish up the flooring that we started on Wednesday. Everything went smoothly and we were done pretty much by lunch time. Once again the home owners provided a wonderful lunch for us. About an hour after lunch we had finished up all the little touches and were on our way. The floor turned out great and we look forward to coming back next year to share a meal with the family, at their request.

The other group went to remove an old carpet in two rooms and reinstall a new one for a woman in Aurora. She was having some health issues due to the dirty carpet in the apartment and it was the hope that a new carpet would improve her health and well being. By early afternoon a beautiful carpet was laid and the homeowner couldn't have been happier. We will post pictures when we get them next week.

All week we had been hearing about the Cosmopolitan Grocery Store. This is a grocery store/restaurant/bar. We decided to take a group trip to check out the store and ended up eating dinner there. It was a lot of fun and a great community time.

We wrapped up the week with a closing reflection. We took the time to look back at the week and share the stories and the people that touched us and changed us. A huge thank you to the volunteers who took the time out to join us this week and to our hosts, Susan and Bruce for opening up their house to us and setting up the service opportunities that we were able to experience.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Aurora - Thursday, September 17

Today was a unique and fulfilling day for the PVs in Aurora. Today we worked with World Relief - Aurora/Dupage, which includes 104 staff joining with 75 churches and 750 volunteers to serve 5,500 refugees and immigrants each year. World Relief began offering services in DuPage County in 1979 and then opened an additional office in Aurora in 1999. Their strategy is to create, lead and continually improve services in partnership with local churches and the community to help the most vulnerable be transformed economically, socially and spiritually. A large part of their funding comes from donations and their biggest fundraiser of the year is tomorrow. This is where the PV volunteers comes in... We were asked to help move items to the banquet hall, drive a large truck and set up for the big dinner. We helped to set up the tables and also to set up two displays in the back of the room depicting a refuge tent and then the apartment that a new refuge would move into once they come to the states. It was great to lend a hand to such a great organization!

 Since we have some folks that wouldn't be able to join us for an end of the week dinner out, we decided to have a dinner out tonight, in Aurora. We shared a great meal and great fellowship, after which we returned home for the night's reflection and jobsites for the last day.

Aurora - Wednesday, September 16

We were blessed with another beautiful day in Aurora. The sun was shining all day, the temperatures were warm, but not too hot, all around this week's weather was extremely pleasant. On the work end of things today, we spent the day laying a new floor for a family here in Aurora. The family had come on some tough times a couple of years back and have been able to save enough to move there family of six out of an apartment and into a newly purchased house. The house was in need of some sprucing up and they were running out of time before then needed to move in. Luckily we were connected with them this week and were able to offer the man/woman power for the task. The home owner was very gracious to provide us a homemade lunch that was delicious. We weren't quite able to finish the project, but we will be back on Friday to finish the task!

We had quite a smorgasbord of a dinner tonight with leftovers from dinners and lunches, as well as some ham and home grown veggies from volunteer's gardens. I have to say we have been eating quite well these days, especially in the dessert department!

For reflection tonight the group was presented with healing energies and healing touch. A volunteer that has studied the area explained and demonstrated the whole idea to us. Reflection is always a great time to rest, relax, reflect and learn new things.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Aurora - Tuesday, September 15

Another fabulous day in the PV history of the Aurora program. Today the group was charged with planning, purchasing and preparing a meal for lunch service at Hesed House. Plans for this meal began well before the week began as volunteers coming starting baking and cooking for the meal. The meal the PVs prepared included sloppy joes, baked beans, a hearty salad, chips and a variety of homemade cookies. The preparation went off without a hitch so we were ready for service at noon. Each guest that came through the line was greeted by the smiling faces of PVs. There was more than enough food to go around and even have some for another meal later in the week. One of the highlights of the meal was when one of the guests brought out his guitar and played a few songs for everyone before he came through the line to eat.

With a bit of an earlier day, we decided to take in some of the natural beauty of the area, so we headed to Starving Rock State Park, southwest of Aurora. There were beautiful views and hiking trails and we learned a bit of the history of area.

Instead of preparing more food for dinner, we decided to eat some of the leftovers from the lunch meal we served at Hesed House. I mean, who doesn't like a sloppy joe or two???? We topped off the meal with a delicious Snickers cake.

As we close out every evening, we gathered for the night's reflection. Tonight's reflection and sharing focused on joy and happiness and someone that we see as a happy person. We were joined in reflection tonight by one of our host's mother who is staying with them (and us this week!) from Peru. After reflection we took some time to learn about each other's culture and life. A great evening of fellowship!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Aurora - September 14, 2015

Yesterday evening all the volunteers arrived to begin their week of service in Aurora, IL. After everyone got settled in, we shared a meal together and then had an orientation to the work we would be doing for during the week. We wrapped up the evening with the PV Commissioning Service. One of our long time PVs recently moved close to the area, so she will be joining us for most of the week and she brought her husband and 18 month old daughter with her for dinner and commissioning. Starting them young!

Today we headed out for our first day of service. We went to Hesed House, the second largest shelter in the State of Illinois, and the largest shelter outside of the city of Chicago. Shelter doesn't do this organization justice, it also provides many, many other services to those in need. Check out their website if you get a chance, www.hesedhouse.org. Today we divided into two groups for different projects around the building. One group painted an office that is used for legal assistance for those that need it. The other group cleaned out a storage area, and scraped and cleaned the walls to improve the air quality of the women's shelter that is adjacent to it. After we finished up our projects, we were given a comprehensive tour of the facility as well as all that Hesed House does, it was quite impressive.

Dinner tonight was a wonderful chicken and/or shrimp fried rice with a raspberry pudding dessert. It was all scrumptious. We had a guest for dinner from World Relief and organization that we will be working with later in the week. He shared with us a bit about the organization and explained what we would be helping with on Thursday.

We wrapped up the evening with a reflection on the meaning of hesed and shared an experience from our day at Hesed House that stuck with us.

Friday, September 11, 2015

PVs in Aurora, IL

Starting this weekend, the PVs will be Aurora, IL doing a service week for the third year. We look forward to the many projects that have been set up for us (thanks Bruce!) and to the wonderful community that we will share.

Even if you aren't there is person, we hope you will follow along with our adventures during the week, here on the blog and on PV website, www.pvprogram.org.

The 2014 Aurora PVs during an outing into Chicago