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, February 28, 2012

Monthly Donation Option Now Available

You can now help support the PVs by donating a set amount each month, via PayPal. Just click the subscribe button on the right side of the blog and choose which level of monthly support you would like to offer. Plans start at just $5 a month. Every little bit helps!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

February Volunteer Reflection, Part 2

In our February PV Newsletter, we also included a reflection written by another of our volunteers,Maureen Maroney. Maureen thoughtfully compared her experience volunteering her first summer in 1994 and this past summer.

Flashback: July, 1994
Kate Maroney, 12, and I, her mother, slightly older, leave New Jersey for Wild and Wonderful West Virginia to be Passionist Volunteers for the first time ever. Attracted by the family- welcoming structure, and completely seduced by the incredibly charismatic Katie LaCarrubba, we plan to spend two weeks in Preston County, living in community and helping out where needed. Lacking a car capable of making the trip, we take a train, ending up in Cumberland, Maryland where we are met by the first PV’s we will come to know and love: the pre-Luke Mechmanns, who had graciously offered to fetch the novices and bring us’ Home.’

As the following ten days unfold, we learn Peggy and Ed, Michael and Clare, are representative of the other PV’s we will meet: the Schletzbaum family, as well as Trish and her two nieces from Massachusetts and the group we call the ‘teenagers’- Jill Wallace and Jenny Wiley (more about them later!) Jen’s brother John, Bill and Fabio- all living together in the big old parish house and going to work everyday- to run camps, to do house repair, to tutor. At night we pray and reflect on our day ( we especially like the ‘new and the good’ and will use it often in the following months.) We also have fun- who would have thought that Demolition Derbies were real? Remember Chubby Bunny?

When it is time to leave, Kate is in tears, so I figure our trip has been a success. Only when I promise we will return the following summer does she stop crying and start to plan for the following year.

Flash-forward: July, 2012
Kate Maroney, 29, and I, her mother, still only a teeny bit older, are leaving once again for West Virginia. Although we have been to WV many times since 1994, this is the first time in a dozen years we are able to drive down together. Much has changed: Kate, a professional singer, no longer lives at home; I have retired from teaching, and we have a car which will make the trip! The Passionist Volunteers are now the PV Volunteers, and Jenny and Jill, once apprentices to Katie, are the Co-Directors of the program. We are no longer working in Preston County, but in Wyoming County, and this year in a completely new location. We are not as nervous as we were that first year, but spend a lot of time saying, “I hope so and so is there with us this year” and “I wonder what jobs we will be doing, and how many kids will come to camp” reflecting our veteran rather than newcomer status. Of course, we still criticize one another’s driving and argue about the music we will listen to, but after all, we have been mother and daughter for a long time, and some things will never change.

More important things have not changed, either. The welcome we receive from Jill and Jenny and the other volunteers, some whom we know and some we do not. The strong sense of being in the right place at the right time, doing worthwhile work in sync with incredible human beings, the volunteers as well as the people we serve. Our new Directors, Jill and Jenny, along with the unfailingly imperturbable Dan, follow Katie’s lead in running a program which allows dozens of different people to come together to work and live in an atmosphere of peace, tolerance and justice. In short, our PV experience is a microcosm of the world we wish to inhabit; we get a glimpse of that world whenever we serve.

No tears when we leave this time, because Kate and I know we will be back- and we don’t even argue until we hit New Jersey!

February Volunteer Reflection, Part 1

In our February PV Newsletter, we included a reflection written by one of our volunteers,Lucy Schletzbaum. Lucy talks about using her experience as a PV in a new and different volunteer experience.

A PV Experience in St. Lucia

This January four PV’s ventured to a different country to serve others for two weeks. It was through Bernice Toepfer that we decided to go to St. Lucia Island. In Bernice’s parish she knew Sister Diane and this Sister suggested we go to St. Lucia because of a hurricane had went through there in October. Some repairs needed to be done at the Pastoral Centre and Sister Frances could use some help. On January 10 Nick Bjelica, Bernice Toepfer, Dan and myself flew to St. Lucia, only knowing that we would be painting and varnishing.

In PV style, Sister Frances was there at the airport to greet us. I felt the warm welcome as I do when in WV.

During my stay there I felt the PV presence all the time: the sharing of bathroom/showers, the occasional coldness of the water at shower time (or sometimes no water), the laughter and sharing memories of past summers, the gathering after dinner with card games and snacking, the new foods at meal time and in general the whole sharing of the group. Many conversations were connected with the PV Volunteers. The thought that was always in the back of my mind was the encouraging comment Jenny and Jill share with the PV’s every summer: the PV’s do the things for the people that aren’t always the most noticeable and glamorous. We did not build any houses while in St. Lucia. Instead we did the simple and sometimes tedious jobs that made a difference in someone else’s life. The other volunteer group that was staying there stated many times they couldn’t believe we were just going to paint. They would brag on the number of small homes they were able to build and all the good they would be doing for the people. Sometimes they would invite us to join them on their sites, but we would turn them down because we were there to help Sister and the Pastoral Centre with their needs. The staff at the Pastoral Centre were very appreciative of what we were doing and the Monsignor couldn’t believe what we had accomplished in the two weeks we were there. Altogether we varnished the outdoor Stations of the Cross and the doors, and painted hand-rails, benches, the entrance gate, four large rooms, a hallway, two bathrooms and two doors!

I felt connected with the PV’s the entire time I was in St. Lucia. We started off as four people going to volunteer but during our stay I felt that we spread the PV charisma, realizing that we will always have the mission of the PVs in our hearts, and came back with a better understanding of what being a PV Volunteer truly means.