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

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mustard Seed Grant - Volunteer Interviews

For the past several summers, the PV Volunteers have been one of the recipients of the Mustard Seed Grant from Sacred Heart parish in Southbury, CT.  The PVs have been able to receive this grant because of the efforts of two Sacred Heart parishioners who are also PVs, Bob and Bernie. The monies we have received from the Mustard Seed Grant of gone a long way in helping to sustain the work we do in West Virginia. We believe one of the reasons that we have received this grant for several years, is because of the wonderful follow up that Bob and Bernie provide to their parish. Each year they post on their parish website pictures with a narrative from their time in West Virginia, as well as interviews that they conduct with willing PVs talking about their experiences. This year we wanted to make sure we shared with all of you their wonderful work.

Thanks Bob and Bernie for all you do!!!

Narrative/Pictures:  http://www.sacredheartchurch.info/scrapbook.html

Volunteer Interviews:


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Future of the PV

We encourage our volunteers to write about their experiences as PVs. The following is a reflection written by a long time PV who, for the first time, brought his young grandsons along for the adventure. The PVs often have many generations represented in any given community, it makes the experience even more meaningful.

“The Future of the PV”   By: John Dean

“The harvest is abundant but the labors are few so ask the master of the harvest to send out labors for his harvest”.   Matthew 9 37-38

I have been a part of the PV family since 2001. In the past I have always gone to West Virginia by myself but this year I brought two of my grandsons with me.  Over the last couple of years my grandkids have shown more interest in what I do with the PV program but until this year I felt that they were too young to participate. Kyle and Garrett both turned 12 in July and I felt that it was time to show them how other people live that are not as fortunate as they are.  I also felt that getting them indoctrinated with only one week in WV would be a good start given that I wasn’t sure they could stand Grandpa for more than one week.

Our trip from Northern Virginia is about 6 hours and the first stop was the demonstration coal mine in Beckley. We took the tour through the mine and saw the houses the miners lived in and the exhibits in the museum. I felt this was a good way to start the trip as it gave them some idea as to the history of the area where we would be working.

Just before we left home we got an email from Jill telling us that we would be staying at the Way so after the mine tour we headed for Mullens. I had worked at the Way a couple of years ago but when we arrived I was surprised that it had actually been completed and was a functioning youth center, complete with a pool table, ping pong table and a full basketball court. I had been a bit anxious as to how the boys would do once they got back to home base at the end of the work day but as soon as I saw the Way facility I was sure the boys would be able to entertain themselves.

My other concern with the boys was how they would do at Reflection but that worry turned out to be groundless as both boys fully participated each evening. They interacted seamlessly with the other PV volunteers and spent time talking to the homeowners that we served during the week- I was really proud of them. We led a Reflection one evening and used the Martha and Mary bible story as the example of how important it is to spend time getting to know not only the volunteers but the people we meet in WV. Both boys did a great job at the job sites and had meaningful conversations with the people we served.

The boys got to work on a number of job sites including St. Vincent de Paul, a drywall site, a porch site and a stairs and flooring site. They learned how to snap drywall and how to operate a cordless drill. It was hot in WV so they learned the importance of taking water breaks and at the end of the day when they felt a chill coming on they learned to head to DQ for a blizzard!

During a Reflections one of the PVs made the very important point that it is vital that the younger generation participate in the program in order for it to continue.  We do have a significant number of young folks involved in the program and it is important that more be included. In retrospect I probably should have gotten my grandsons involved earlier and recognizing that I will invite more of them to come with me next year – I have 6  : ).

The PV Volunteer organization won’t survive unless we the volunteers continue to provide time, treasure and prayers. Also important is a growing volunteer base that can provide the energy to continue building, serving and believing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

If someone listens, or stretches out a hand...

If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happens.   Loretta Girzaitis

Today was our big moving day and thanks to all the volunteers here everything went very smoothly. A little bit after noon all the runs to St. Vincent De Paul were made and all the cleaning was done. Besides the moving and cleaning, some volunteers spent time at the Itmann Food Bank this morning to help with distribution day, and others went to Glen Rogers Manor to play Banana Bingo and paint nails with the residents.

Because all our dishes were packed and the kitchen was cleaned we ate pizza for dinner tonight. No dishes, no clean up!

After dinner we gathered together for the closing prayer service of the summer. Tonight we focused on where we felt that we lit our candle, or someone lit our candle during our time of service. It was a wonderful time to reflect on the summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What you do makes a difference...

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.     Jane Goodall

Today was a day of finishing. We finished up the two ramps we have been working on, we also had a crew that did a four site day doing little things at each house, and a crew that spent the day running around and picking up trash and hauling it up to the dump and picking up leftover lumber to bring back in the morning. A crew was also able to stay back and install a drop ceiling in one of the classrooms here at The Way, a job that the way folks asked if we would be able to do while we were staring here. We are happy to say that we were able to finish up everything we committed to and then some. Tomorrow will be spent packing up the tools and housewares and moving them to St. Vincent DePaul for the season, as well as helping out with distribution day at the Itmann Food Bank and spending time with the people up at Glen Rogers Manor. Another busy day on the horizon!

As this is our last day cooking at The Way, we really had a hodgepodge of a dinner trying to use as much up as we can. Even though it was all leftovers to some degree, it was delicious. We were even treated to blackberry cobbler with fresh blackberries from one of the sites today.

For reflection tonight we reflected on coal and how it can change and be a diamond. Using that metaphor, we were asked to share an experience we have had while being here that is a diamond to us.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Change your opinions, keep to your principles...

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.     Victor Hugo

We were blessed with a dry day today so we could get the projects done that we had committed to complete. The ramp that we were building in Maben was pretty much completed today, we just have to go back to put in a lower railing so that when the home owner is in her wheelchair she doesn't have to reach as far. She was thrilled to not have to scoot down the steps anymore.

The ramp in Matheny made tremendous progress today after getting slowed up bit by the rains yesterday. During the day and couple of PVs ran to Lilydale to finish the job that was started but rained out on Monday.

The final site of the day was a new site on top of Herndon Mountain. The family asked us for a new front door and a new toilet as the old one was no longer connected. We were also able to patch a few holes in the their livingroom to make the floor stronger.

As we are winding down the dinners are more and more eclectic as we are trying to use up items that have accumulated in the kitchen. Also we have been blessed with many vegetables from volunteers gardens that we get to incorporate into dinners. So tonight we had a pasta dish reinvented with hamburgers, hotdogs and zucchini, brown rice, a vegetable lasagne with no pasta, a bean salad and a cucumber salad. All VERY scrumptious.

Reflection tonight focused on the scraps of ourselves to others. Another beautiful song was performed by two PVs to go along with the reflection. All and all another wonderful night.