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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Power of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwhich

I read this yesterday and thought of the summer and the countless PB and J sandwiches that are consumed by PVs.


Saturday is Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich day.  Let's all raise a PB and J on Saturday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kansas...there's no place like a Hoe Down

It has taken us a few days to recover (hence the delay in writing this), but we had a wonderful time in Kansas over the weekend for the annual Midwest PV Evaluation and Reunion Weekend.

Although it had just been in the 80's a few days before, we were met with a more wintry feel as we arrived for the weekend. Friday night, volunteers arrived throughout the evening and enjoyed a relaxing time of catching up, play ping pong, pool and board games.  And oh yeah, in true PV fashion, lots of food!

By Saturday morning all 22 PVs had arrived.  We spent the morning reviewing the past summer, talking about changes that could be made and then updating everyone on the events of the program. After a yummy lunch (thanks Lucy!) we piled into the cars and headed out to Weston, MO. Weston is a town that has a cute downtown area with a lot of shops and a lot of history.

Before we knew it, it was time to head over to the shed to make final preparations for the hoe down. The biggest challenge for the night would be to keep everyone somewhat warm for the night. The lows were suppose to go down into the mid-20's and with the shed being a rather large metal structure it was a bit chilly at first.  But after Dan and Phil fired up the rather large wood stove, the chill was taken out of the air.

The hoe down itself was a lot of fun.  When all was said and done, there were over 90 people in attendance, an amazing array of food was brought to share, lots of square dancing was done, an all around great time was had by all.  Between selling cookbooks and Lucy raffling off an afghan, over $250 was made for the PVs.  The event also gave a nice introduction to the local Live with Passion effort, Plant with Passion. (see the spotlight on the LWP blog.)

Words cannot express our gratitude to Dan and Lucy and the whole Schletzbaum family for their hospitality, kindness and unwavering support of the PVs.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another wonderful week with NIU has draw to close with a busy day of activities. Today was distribution day at the Itmann Food Bank so many volunteers stayed back to help. Whether pushing carts to the cars, creating boxes to give away, helping clients pick out clothes or checking people in, there was plenty to do.

Another group went back up to Hanover to finish up the weather sealant around the house.  We can't wait for all those that worked up there this past summer to see all the work that has been done since your departure.

The third and final group went to Head Start. We wanted to say a special thank you to the students for their enthusiasm for Head Start this spring.  Students from both Holy Cross and from NIU really took to Head Start and really enjoy their experience.  We hope the teachers and the kids enjoyed as much as they did.

The afternoon was absolutely beautiful with plenty of sunshine and highs in the mid-seventies.  It definitely felt like spring has sprung (see picture below.) It really is amazing that we have gone from 30 degrees and snowing to 75 and sunny in a matter of a week. The students took advantage of the nice weather and went for a hike in Mullens.  After their hike they headed to the PV house in Pineville for dinner and a closing reflection.

It was another wonderful week with NIU. It still continues to amaze us the quality of students that come down and spend their spring break with us.  THANK YOU!!!

We will be away from the blog for a couple of days of R&R, but check back as we head to Kansas next, for the annual PV Midwest Reunion....

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Today the whole group of NIU students spent the day with UGWA picking up trash along the the Guyandotte River between Mullens and Pineville. It was almost like a treasure hunt with the items they found discarded.  Rugs, sinks, stoves, table saws, not to mention the more typical trash of soda bottles, food wrappers, etc. The stretch of river that they worked on looks a whole lot better than before.

After they finished with the clean up, the group decided to explore the county a bit and headed to Oceana to walk around a bit and then stopped in Pineville and climbed up Castle Rock before heading back to the food bank.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The rain finally let up today, so we went back to the house in Hanover where last week, we had started to waterproof the new foundation.  Unfortunately even though there wasn't any rain to speak of, it was a rather cold day.  With a large group of students armed with brushes we were able to second coat most of the foundation.  This is the house that this summer we replaced the floors in.  It is now 5 feet off the ground so it should remain safe and dry even with another flood.

The remaining students spent their day being entertained by the kids at the Maben Head Start. It is always fun to hear the stories from the day.  Kid's say the darnedest things...

In preparation for tomorrows work with the Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association, Val from UGWA came to speak with the students about the environmental issues that affect the area, what organizations such as UGWA do and prep them for tomorrow's work.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another great day with the NIU students. We finished up at the house in Hanover we have been working on for two weeks and Dusquene University the week before. We've included pictures so you can see the beautifully painted rooms.

Another group of students went to the St.Vincent DePaul warehouse to  help organize after the truck delivery from last week.  When we went in at the end of the day to drop off some doors, we where amazed at how great the warehouse looked.

The final group of students when to Head Start and had another great day. Besides the students enjoying themselves and the kids getting one on one attention, the Head Start will benefit from having a steady flow of volunteers, as they will get extra funding from the volunteer hours.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day one of NIU's service week began just as Holy Cross' did with rain and cool temperatures. Luckily we again had all indoor activities so that the day was able to go just as planned.

One group headed back out to Hanover to continue the work from last week.  The group today got the first coat of paint on all the newly drywalled rooms.  Tomorrow we are all set to finish it off.

Another group went to Head Start to work with the children. There seems to be a cold going through the Head Starts these days so attendance is low. All that means for the kids though is more one on one attention.

The last group stayed back at the food bank to help unload commodities and start to get the food bank ready for Friday's distribution day.

The weather for tomorrow looks like more of the same, but the rest of the week is looking like spring, finally!

Weekend Catch-Up

Since we haven't posted in a few days we thought we would update since they have been eventful.

Holy Cross headed out on Friday after a full week of activities. It was a wonderful week and a lot of great work was done. It was truly a pleasure to meet the students and to be with them.

On Friday we, along with Kathy, headed out to Hanover to meet with the principal of the grade school that we will be living in this summer. We figured it would be a good opportunity to talk with her, let her know about the program and begin to make plans for the summer. We will update more on this later.

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 60's. One of our former YL PVs Erica, who now works and lives in Charleston, came down for a visit.  We thought we would take advantage of the sunshine so we took a hike at Twin Falls on the moonshiner's trail.  We only got a little lost twice, but thanks to Erica's orienteering expertise we never got truly lost.  After spending the day outside, we were lucky enough to enjoy vegetarian chili with Arnie and Kathy at their house. We finished up the day by meeting the group of 13 students from Northern Illinois University (NIU) out in Mullens.  They arrived around 10pm and quickly got settled into their new home for the week.

On Sunday we all met up at Holy Cross for Mass.  After Mass the students went on their annual community bonding expedition and we made a quick trip to Twin Falls to again enjoy the sunshine.  We met up in the evening for their orientation and commissioning service.

The past three days went by very quickly, but they were full of a lot of wonderful memories.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today was our planned day with UGWA, with all the Holy Cross students working together to clean up the dam at Horse Creek Lake near Baileysville. Although it wasn't rainy much when we started the drive to the lake, when we arrived it was pouring rain.  After sitting in the cars for awhile trying to wait out the rain, we noticed the Holy Cross vans slowly emptying as the students had decided to brave the rain and take a look at the lake.  After being outside for awhile, and already being soaking wet, the students asked if they could still do the planned litter pick up though the conditions were pretty awful.  So needless to say, we followed their lead and really made a wonderful impact and made the dam look beautiful.

Since the students will be leaving in the afternoon tomorrow, we had them all over for dinner and a closing reflection. After reflection, we were treated to a yummy carrot cake that the students brought with them and we were introduced to the game of mafia.  Lots of laughter and many stories later, the students headed back to Mullens for their last night in Wyoming County.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The rains came down pretty much all day, but thankfully all of our sites planned were indoor sites.  A crew headed back out to Hanover to sand off the mud that had been applied the previous two days and were able to get a coat of primer on so it is all ready to paint next week when Northern Illinios University arrives.

A second group headed up to Head Start to spend the day with the kids in Maben.  And the third and final group spent the day at the Food Bank unpacking and organizing all the boxes that were unloaded yesterday in preparation of distribution day.  We also made a trip to pick up a hospital bed that was being donated and ran it down to St. Vincent DePaul  for distribution.

In the evening, the students had another guest speaker as Val from UGWA came and talked about her organization as well as environmental problems in the area in preparation for HC's work the next day.

The evening concluded as we all headed up to St. John the Evangelists Church in Mullens for an Ash Wednesday Mass.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Happy International Womens Day!

The sun was shining bright today... the crew headed back up to Hanover and put on a third coat of mud on the house they were working on.  Another smaller crew worked to replace floors in trailer also up in Hanover.  For those of you that were with us this past summer, the trailer belongs to  the gentleman who entertained us while working at his sister-in-laws house by singing old gospel tunes. Another new development up in that same area since this summer, the house we replaced floors in has now been raised 5 feet up in the air to prevent any future flooding.

Another group today started up at St. Vincent DePaul organizing the warehouse until a large truck arrived with donations. Many couches, chairs, sinks, doors, etc. where unloaded and placed in the warehouse.  We all then jumped into the car and followed the truck to the Itmann Foodbank where all the housewares, bedding and other goods were unloaded.  There will be a lot of good stuff going out on distribution day next Friday.

The third group of students went to the Maben Head Start where they had a wonderful time playing with the children.

This evening the students were given the opportunity to sit and talk with Debbie from St. Vincent DePaul. Debbie gave the group tremendous insight into life in Wyoming County.

Weather-wise tomorrow is suppose to be rather nasty with rain and thunder. The county is under a flood watch, so people are a little nervous.  Send lots of good, dry thoughts and prayers our way.

New School Approved

Yesterday we stopped into the Wyoming County Board of Ed and spoke with the assistant superintendent and are happy to announce that the board has approved our move to Huff Consolidated Grade School in Hanover.  We are very excited about the new opportunities that this new location will open up.  We are scheduling a meeting with the principal so we can see the school and discuss ways we can connect with the community.  We will continue to keep you posted on any  news.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The week kicked off with a chilly, but sunny morning.  The mountains were absolutely gorgeous with the snow and ice on the leafless trees and the blue sky as the backdrop.  I have to say, not a bad way to wake up.

For the service activities for today, we broke the HC students into three groups. One group went up to the Maben Head Start and helped in two different classrooms. From all reports everyone had a great time interacting with the kids.

A second group spent the day at the St. Vincent DePaul warehouse helping to sort and organize. At the end of the day when you walked into "Ned's Place" it looked so nice you would have thought you were walking into a department store.

The third group took the long drive out to Hanover to apply mud to newly installed drywall.  The home owner had been flooded a couple of times and recently was able to raise his house on cinder blocks to prevent future flooding.  The flood damage that had occurred had ruined his drywall up to about 4 1/2 feet.  A group from Duquesne University tore out the drywall up to 4 1/2 feel and put in new drywall.  After a few coats of mud, it will be sanded and painted and be ready for the homeowner to move back in.

All in all it was a very good first day out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let the week begin!

Fourteen Holy Cross students arrived this afternoon as well as three wonderful PVs from Kansas (Dan, Mary and our newest PV Rebecca) amidst a downpour of all things, snow!  It snowed from about 8am this morning until 8pm, but luckily accumulations where not on the street so driving was easy.

After settling in, we headed to the Itmann Food Bank (where the HC students are staying) for an orientation.  We were lucky to have Arnie come and join us and give his perspective of life and culture in southern West Virginia. After orientation we commissioned for the students for the work that lies ahead for them.

Below is a glimpse of Mullens today from the Food Bank parking lot while we were waiting for the students arrival.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mountain Mamas

After a drive in non-stop rain, we arrived safe and sound today to our house in Pineville. We are now anxiously awaiting the arrival of the students from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, set to arrive tomorrow morning.

Please check back as we update daily with all the happenings of the week's activities.