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

Monday, March 26, 2012

PV Hoedown a Success!!!

For the 10th year, the PVs descended upon the Schletzbaum's farm in Atchison, KS for a weekend of fun. This year 32 PVs came from far and wide to breathe in the fresh Kansas air. We could not have had a more beautiful weekend as temperatures reached 80. Needless to say, there were a few sunburned faces after the hay ride. On Saturday morning the PVs were updated on the program and it's going on's. In the afternoon we were treated to a 2 hour hay ride around the farms in the area and given some interesting trivia to boot! After the hayride we headed to the shed for the hoedown. The weather was so beautiful that both doors were left open all night and no fire was needed to warm everyone up. This was the biggest hoedown ever with more than 120 people in attendance. There were so many people that the square dance floor was full! Lots of dancing and lots of laughing (at the PVs dancing no doubt) all night long. A HUGE thank you to Dan and Lucy for putting on another wonderful weekend!!!!

We've included a few pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday I'm in Love

To continue the weather report, today started out misty and cool, but turned into a beautiful sunny day by mid-afternoon.

Since it is the third Friday of the month, the students were able to help out with distribution day at the Itmann Food Bank. The students worked alongside the wonderful food bank volunteers packing boxes, bringing those boxes out to people's cars, helping clients pick out clothes and housewares and most importantly listening to stories.

After the food bank was over the NIU crew headed over to the house to help us move furniture to the St. Vincent DePaul warehouse. So much was accomplished in a very short time. After a quick climb up castle rock and a stop for ice cream at Dairy Queen, they headed back to Baileysville to rest up.

As is tradition, we had the group over to the PV house for a final meal and a closing reflection.

Thank you to NIU Newman Center for sending us another wonderful group of volunteers! We all had a wonderful week... on to Kansas and the PV Hoedown!

PS: To keep things interesting this week, each blog post title incorporated the day of the week in a song title.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sweet Thursday

Today, the weather forecasters got it wrong (sorry, Nick.) We were suppose to have another sunny, warm day with scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon, but instead had cool and rainy weather, with thunder and lightening.

Our site for today was a whole group affair, all the NIU students, Dan and us. We all met at the old school building in Itmann where UGWA and Groundworks West Virginia are working together to rehab the building to turn it into their offices as well as a museum and visitor center for the area. Last summer a couple of PVs who are also architects, met with UGWA to discuss what needed to be done to get the building move-in-able. Today we went to help to clean and to knock down a couple of walls to expose windows to bring light into the area. When we got there we had an initial challenge of there being no electricity to the building. The NIU students didn't let the lack of light stop them from cleaning though. With the light from a cell phone, they swept and cleaned the dark room. Not too long later the electricity was on at the building and we were able to begin the demolition. The group worked together seamlessly with the contractor and both walls were down, nails removed from the lumber, lumber stacked and the rooms swept within a matter of hours. It was quite impressive. Today we were able to get a good start on a project that the PVs will be helping with throughout the whole summer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Sunny Day...

Another beautiful day in West Virginia. Today was almost summer like with temperatures in the low 80's. The mountains looked beautiful with the blue skies.

Today the students continued with their projects that they have been working on the first two days. A group worked hard organizing at St. Vincents DePaul and also helped with furniture distribution at the warehouse. Another group went back to help at Head Start. This week the Head Start has been short teachers, so the timing could not be any better.

The home repair group broke up into two groups. One went to finish up the projects from the two days earlier. The underpinning was finished and the two rooms painted, pink and purple. We will be returning to work with this family so we only said goodbye temporarily. The other site we had today was also a site we will be working on this summer. Today we just started off with replacing two windows and a door. We are looking forward to seeing them soon again.

After we left the site we decided to stop in and say hello at Huff Consolidated, our summer home. We met with the principal and started talking plans for the summer. It is just around the corner....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ruby Tuesday

It was a beautiful day in the mountains of West Virginia today. On our drive home from the site today the temperature in the truck read 76 degrees. Is it summer yet?

Today was much like yesterday as we had three groups head out to three different areas of the county. One group returned to Head Start in Baileysville to help out with the children. Another group went back to the St. Vincent DePaul warehouse to help clean it out and get ready for distribution. A tremendous amount has been done over the last two days. Today they were able to make several trips to the Itmann Food Bank to move stuff between the warehouse to the Food Bank.

The third group went back to the home repair site in Hanover. Today we were able to finish up the pink room and begin painting the purple room. We also had a crew on the outside of the house replacing the underpinning on one section of the house. Toward the end of the day, the two girls that live in the house came home from school and pitched in to help paint the rooms and entertain the volunteers.

The plans for the evening included an excursion up Castle Rock in Pineville, a visit to our neighbor and a chance to relax and reflect on the day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays...

After our beautiful day yesterday, we started the week with clouds, rain and cooler temperatures. But despite the weather we were able to have a great first day of the week. The group split up into three groups. One group went to the Baileysville Head Start where they were able to provide some much needed assistance as one of their teachers was out sick for the day. The volunteer enjoyed playing with all the kids and helping out wherever they were needed.

A second group headed to Pineville to help out in the warehouse of St. Vincent DePaul. Last week they received a semi truck full of clothes and furniture that pretty much filled the entire warehouse. Volunteers worked alongside Debbie to begin the process of organizing the clothes so that the furniture could be available for a distribution later in the week, both at the warehouse and at the monthly distribution at the Food Bank.

The third group went to a home repair site up in Hanover, near the school where we stay in the summer. There were several tasks to be done, so a small group worked with Dan replacing a couple of floors. By quitting time all the floors were replaced and sturdier than ever. Another project that was started and completed was replacing a small hole in a bedroom wall. Tomorrow that room will be painted lavender, as requested by the 10 year old who calls the room home. A third small group painted the 8 year old sister's room pink. Later in the day, both sisters worked side by side with the volunteers to put the fresh coat of paint on the walls.
All in all we had a wonderful first day of the week. We look forward to sunny skies and warmer weather for the rest of the week, but we really couldn't have asked for a better first day.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

NIU Spring Break

For the 13th year, Northern Illinois University has joined forces with the PVs for their spring break service. We met the students last night as they arrived in Pineville at the new Arby's. (Yes, you read that right there is now an Arbys in the heart of Pineville.) After a quick set of hellos they piled back into their cars and we took them out to Baileysville Community Center, the place they will call home for the next week.

We are happy to report that all clocks were moved ahead correctly and all arrived at Holy Cross on time for Mass this morning. Once again the Holy Cross community welcomed in the PVs with welcome arms. We are always greeted so warmly by the parish and feel right at home, they are a special group of people. After Mass the students headed over to the Pineville Biscuit World for lunch. (Yes, you read that correctly too, there is now a Biscuit World in Pineville. The number of restaurants in Pineville seemed to have doubled over night!) After a quick grocery shop, the group headed up to Twin Falls for a little community bonding. While they were up exploring the beauty of Twin Falls, We (Jenny, Dan and Jill) went out to check out sites that they students will be working on this week, as well as the volunteers this summer.

The evening came to a conclusion with an orientation for the NIU students and the PV Commissioning Service. Each student was anointed and given the PV cross connecting them to greater PV community.

Please keep checking back for daily updates and keep the students in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Volunteer Reflection

In our March PV Newsletter, we included a reflection written by Jenny Wiley about the role that PV reflection has played in her life in the last 20 years.

Reflection, just that word was enough for me to dread the evening hours during my first year as a PV Volunteer. Who would have ever thought that twenty years later I would be singing its praises? I joined the PV Volunteers to do service, to help others, to change the world; little did I know that the greatest change would occur in me. Oh sure, as a PV Volunteer I can proudly say that I have had a positive impact on the lives of many, but as usual Katie LaCurrubba was right. “We don’t come to evangelize,” Katie often said, “what we find is the experience evangelizes us.” When I think of my feelings about reflection, I once again go back to Katie’s words and think how true they are.

Nothing has had a bigger effect on my life than PV reflection. Every night we gather, summer after summer, to reflect on our day and experiences. Every night we share our stories with each other and every night I hear something that moves me. It is in the sharing that we are changed. Sharing is difficult. Allowing oneself to become vulnerable is not an easy thing. It takes a great deal of trust to open oneself up and pour out one’s innermost feelings. I am not good at it. I am a private person; I say that all the time. I don’t always want to share want I am thinking, seeing, feeling. I resisted reflection for a very long time. I don’t even remember when my defenses began to slowly break down. All I know is somewhere along the way it happened and I am most grateful.

Why am I grateful? That answer is easy. It is what I learned in reflection that I have carried with me all these years. We all experience pain, suffering, loss. It is part of our life. Like everyone, I have had my share of sorrow. Years ago, I used to think I had to keep all the pain inside. I didn’t trust others enough to share. But after twenty years of sharing, twenty years of listening to others, twenty years of nightly reflection, I see what a change has happened in me. The PV Volunteers have brought so many wonderful, caring people into my life. I have long known that. But what I think I have finally learned is the true beauty of reflection, in my PV life as well as my daily life. When a PV calls and ask how I am doing, I can answer honestly. I can share my grief because I know that I can trust that friend to listen and not judge. I used to be so afraid of opening myself up to others, but reflection has taught me that it is in the sharing with others that we begin to heal and to grow.