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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." John Wooden

Today we had five home repair sites going on, close to a record I think. We continued work on three from the previous day, went back to Lilydale to work on finishing the roof we started last week when the weather was better, and added a fifth, but familiar site. For those of you who were here last summer you undoubtedly worked if not heard stories working at the two houses that were flooded side by side in Hanover. Well today we went back up there to help to attach a ramp to one of the houses. More than the work that was down up there, the part that was most exciting was for volunteers to see there finished product as well as to visit and catch up.

We had a special treat for dinner as we had homemade calzones with such a variety of vegetables and meats. I think the round of applause and whistles when the cooks came out said it all. There were many happy, full and content PVs after the meal.

The Martha and Mary story were the focus of tonight's reflection as we were asked to share a time when the Martha and Mary in each of us were conflicted. The Martha/Mary story is such a perfect example of how we try to be as PVs.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"All is a gift. When one can see the gift of each person, then our view of the world is completely transformed." Kimberly A. Clouse

Today we had four home repair sites running a the same time, lots of PV hammering! We continued working at the flooring site and the painting and siding site in Hanover. The latter being rained out right after lunch. We also continued our work at The Way youth center, helping to hopefully get the place up and running as soon as possible. The fourth site of the day was a new site, but one that we will be working on for quite awhile. We worked for a couple in Hanover would had been flooded out several times, but who have recently had their home raised eight feet to prevent further damage.

Tonight for dinner we had breakfast for dinner, pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon. With the wonderful assistance of the cook, the dinner was done early! Nothing like breakfast in the evening.

Reflection centered on the image of the bufflehead duck, submerging under water for long periods of time and then popping up again in unexpected places, similar to God in many ways. We went around the room and shared where we saw God today and this week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Give without remembering and receive without forgetting." Author Unknown

Mondays, new group, new adventures... As our group has got bigger, we have quite a few sites going on at the same time. Today we had five different sites. We had one group that had a lot of driving as they went to Pineville to meet a truck of food for the Itmann Food Bank, then drove the food to Mullens unload the food, load up some boxes for St.Vincent DePaul, back in Pineville and then back to the school.

We also had a group who finished up the plumbing work at the house in Pineville. They refilled the massive holes that were dug, mixed and laid new concrete, refastened the shelves that had been removed and reorganized and straightened up the basement. It looks great! Afterward the group went next door to visit a little while with our neighbor and landlord.

A group also headed out to Mullens to work on the inside of "The Way", a youth center that will be opening up in the old Big Lots building. This site will be an ongoing site throughout the summer. When finished, "The Way", will be a tremendous resource for the youth in the county,

Back closer to "home" were our two more traditional home repair sites. At one site the work consisted of taking up floors were damaged in recent flooding and replacing the flooring with new plywood. At the other site the crew replaced some soffits and fascia boards, along with scraping and painting the trailer.

Back at home in the evening we were treated to a Mediterranean feast. A vegetable mix with meat over rice, served with homemade pitas. For dessert we were treated to a delicious fruit pizza.

Later in the evening we gathered to reflect on gratitude. We have so much to be grateful and we were reminded that sometimes even things that are difficult end up being things we are grateful for.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Just as we started out to Pineville for Mass in the morning, the skies opened up and we drove in a torrential downpour the half an hour to church. But it seems while we were in Mass the rain passed and it turned into a beautiful day.

For Community Day we decided to make the short drive up to RD Bailey Lake/Damn Visitor Center. Our two summer longs led the group in some rather hilarious and entertaining icebreaker games. All I can say is bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny...

We had our traditional Sunday night cookout of hamburgers and veggie burgers, yummy. After dinner was finished, we took some time with the newly arrived volunteers to go over some of policies and to catch them up to speed on some of the new changes with the new school.

The evening wrapped up with a nice Commissioning service and the volunteers signing up for job sites for tomorrow. We are looking forward to another great week.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 1 Pictures

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy

The first week came to end today. Today was a beautiful day, sunny, very little humidity and a little bit of a breeze. Fridays in PVland are home repair free days so volunteers engage in all sorts of activities throughout the county.

I guess I should mention that we woke up this morning and did not have water at the school. It seems the pump had kicked off during a short power outage we had had a couple of nights before and we had been using the reserves of the water supply. The maintenance department came from Pineville by mid morning and all was well. On to the sites for the day...

A group went up to horse creek lake near Baileysville to clean up around the lake. The spot was absolutely gorgeous with all sorts of butterflies, birds, frogs, you name it, it was at the lake. By the end of the time, 11 bags of garbage were picked up and ready to be hauled out.

Friday was also the last day of the Mullens Soccer Camp. This year saw record numbers at the camp with 21 kids in the morning session and 7 in the afternoon session. A huge thanks once again to Zach for putting on the camp. A good time was had by all.

Another group went to St. Vincent DePaul for the home repair workshop we are offering to the people in the county. After that they moved on to the house in Pineville to finish up fixing the broken pipe.

After soccer many volunteers headed over to Mullens Manor for an afternoon recreation program. Again we saw record numbers as 18 residents took part in Banana Bingo, visiting and nail painting.

After everyone returned to the school we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner of sausage and bean soup, corn break and cheesy potato casserole. For dessert we were treated to home made ice cream. Yummy!

The evenings reflection centered around looking at the challenges we faced during the week. It was a very heartfelt sharing of challenges and for many overcoming those challenges.

It was a wonderful first week of the program and we look forward to the rest of the summer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." Benjamin Disraeli

Today we were awakened to rainfall hitting the metal rooftop of the school. While nice to listen to, the rain is not too nice for all our home repair sites since they were all outside. One site was canceled for the day, but the site out in Lilydale went on as there was some indoor work and plenty of opportunity for visiting.

Soccer also went on in the rain. Luckily for the kids and the volunteers it only rained for the first hour out in Mullens, but really, soccer is kind of fun to play in the rain.

We did have an impromptu site in the afternoon, the mail water line going into our rental house in Pineville sprung a leak. After a lot of digging and a little jack-hammering to get to the pipe, the pipe was replaced and water was restored. Yay!

We all feasted on a wonderful and filling meal of spaghetti and meatballs, salad and garlic bread. How could you go wrong with spaghetti, right? It was delicious.

In the evening we gathered for our nightly reflection, this time the reflection focused on what it was that brought us here to WV and why we keep coming back. It is always wonderful to hear what it is that brought people to the PVs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" Martin Luther King,Jr.

The weather today was just about perfect, warm but with a nice cool breeze. The afternoon got a little warmer, but the breeze seemed to always be around.

Today we finished up our home repair site out in Indian Creek, the first of the summer. Not only were the volunteers that were there treated to fresh biscuits (and the directors as we happened to stop by at just the right time :) ) but a whole batch was prepared by the home owner and one of our younger volunteers to bring back to the school for everyone to enjoy. Wonderful work was done by everyone at the site throughout the week, we couldn't have asked for a better first site of the summer program.

Two home repair crews also headed out to Lilydale to do a little work on the homes of some old friends of the PVs. All the volunteers new and old, were greeted with a welcoming hug and huge smiles. A lot of terrific work was done, but more importantly a lot of great time was spent together.

The third group headed out to soccer camp for another great day with the kids. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to play soccer. I'm not sure who had more fun, the kids or the volunteers.

After a busy day, hungry PVs feasted on a hearty meal of meatloaf, baked potatoes, bean salad and delicious home made rolls made by our cook. To top if off, for dessert the biscuits made earlier were served with peaches and ice cream. Yum yum.

All the PVs gathered in the evening for reflection were greeted by our youngest PV with a beautiful reflection on finding God in the moments of the day. We went around the room and shared where we each saw God that day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Our prayers for others flow more easily than those for ourselves. This shows we are made to live by charity." C.S. Lewis

After yesterdays nice cool day, today the temperature soared into the 90's, making it little more hot and humid. Once again, three crews headed out for the day.

Soccer camp continued going strong, as 6 new kids were added to the list of those enjoying learning the basics of soccer. Not only are they learning soccer, they are having a lot of fun. And I think the volunteers are as well : )

Another group was sent to the Itmann Food Bank to continue with the organization that the group the day before them did.

The third group continued the repairs of the flood damaged house in Indian Creek. And yes, if you were wondering, they did have home made biscuits again....

For dinner last night we enjoyed rigatoni, salad and garlic bread. A simple, but delicious meal.

The evening came to a close with a nice reflection on how we put our faith into action each day, with the help of two wonderful and thought provoking songs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest to you.”Mother Teresa

The first day of the summer program…..by all accounts was a success. We had three work crews out, spread across the county. Two groups made the long trek to Mullens, one for soccer camp and one to work at the Itmann Food Bank. The Mullens Soccer Camp, in its eighth year, is once again being led by Zach. The first day turnout was tremendous for both the morning and afternoon sessions, and the weather was nice a cool. A great first day was had by all the volunteers.

The group at the Itmann Food Bank helped to unpack, sort and organize over 50 bags of clothes and other household items brought down by a couple of PVs from Washington DC over the weekend. By all accounts the amount of work done in just one day was amazing and very appreciated.

The third group headed out to the first home repair site of the summer. The site, about 20 minutes from the school was a house that was damaged by floods last year. Volunteers took on a number of tasks including; repairing a floor, fixing plumbing, repairing a roof and building a small ramp. A lot of work got done, but the highlight of the day was by far the food that was prepared for the volunteers by the home owner. They were greeted in the morning with homemade biscuits and gravy and homemade blackberry jam and then in the afternoon they were given homemade soup. Needless to say when the volunteers shared about their day during reflection, everyone wanted to go to that site.

It was taco night for the first night of dinner. Not only did we eat delicious tacos, but had homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Yummy!

Reflection centered around the scripture passage about the first being last and the last being inspired by the caboose that sits out in front of the school. After a beautiful reflection, we were each asked to share our new and goods from the day.

All in all the first work day of the summer program went extremely smooth. We hope this is a sign of things to come.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Program Has Begun!!!

This weekend we kicked off what we hope will be another exciting summer. We are in a new school in Wyoming County, Huff Consolidated in Hanover, in a new part of the county. We are still ironing out some of the kinks like how to direct incoming volunteers to a specific door upon arrival (there has to be at least 7 doors into the school!) but so far our new home seems to be suiting us well. Volunteers will certainly get their exercise since the school is rather sprawling. But with all the PVs now arrived for the week, it already feels like home.

We spent yesterday, Community Day, first taking the long drive to Mass in Pineville and then playing some fun community get to know you games. After a little break we gathered with our newest PVs for an orientation to the area and the program. The whole group then feasted on a wonderful meal of burgers, veggie burgers and all the fixings. After dinner the whole group gathered once again for a reorientation.  We closed the evening with our traditional Commissioning Service, connecting us all as we begin our service.

I will be posting each day, with pictures on Saturdays, so everyone at home can follow along each week. We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our computers so some of the posts might be a little late, but just hold tight and it will be updated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June Volunteer Reflection

In our June PV Newsletter we included a reflection written by one our volunteers and board member, Joanne Camas.  In case you miss it, here is her reflection on her experiences as a PV.

Watching the TV news, it’s easy to curse the darkness. We see the worst in people, magnified, and the sensational trumps the hidden heartfelt stories of personal kindness.
For me, working with the PVs is a way to light candles. We let in a little hope, a little kindness, a little dignity where it’s been absent. In return, we receive light back: Sometimes that makes us feel happy that we’ve helped, but other times the light shines on the parts of us that tend to judge or label. And there’s a place for both kinds of light.

I read a powerful quote today about the force of poverty, written by someone who has lived it:

“Poverty breeds stress. Stress destroys one’s body, and sickness is expensive. More expenses, more doctor bills, more poverty. Poverty sucks, but what it sucks is the very life out of one’s soul. Poverty steals our expectations. Poverty pushes us to desperation.”
—Gayle B. Tate

Each summer we offer hope and a sign that people do care. We patch walls and replace roofs, but we listen too. I find these conversations often stay with me throughout the year. When I get frustrated with the challenges of life, I remember strangers who quickly became friends, opening up to me in their homes and sharing the sadness and struggles they’ve faced.

Our sons have grown up as PVs, and for me that’s been the best part of the experience. They look at the world differently, and they’ve seen that we can change the world, even if it’s by lighting one candle at a time.