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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Week 2 Pictures

Please enjoy a few pictures from our week:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

"Be good to yourself, be excellent to others and do everything with love."  John Wolf

We awoke to another beautiful West Virginia mountain morning. Yesterday's rain cleared and left behind wonderful fresh air.  Today we went back to work on the two sites in Oceana. All the underpinning was fixed at the one site and the porch was pretty much completed.  We will be coming back to the house later in the summer to put on a porch roof and fix some electrical issues in the house.

The other crew worked on the ramp and were almost able to complete it. There are only a few boards left on the railing and then it is just the finishing touches. We're sure the home owner will be happy when the ramp is complete so he can bring his wheelchair bound daughter to live with him.

Both groups joined up at St. Vincent DePaul in the early afternoon to go up to Glen Rogers Manor for Banana Bingo, pool, nail painting and singing. There were lots of residents involved and by all accounts everyone had a great time.

On the menu tonight for dinner was a hearty spaghetti and meatballs, broccoli (there were a lot of groans about the broccoli), and garlic cheese bread. A simple, yet satisfying meal.

Since it is the end of the week, reflection time was a time to look back on the week and process the experiences from  it. We were a small, but mighty group. We accomplished a lot and had a great time doing it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday June 27, 2013

"Work is love made visible."  Kahlil Gibran

Overnight the rains came in and pretty much settle over Wyoming County for the day. Knowing this was possibly the case, we had made a "plan b" for today. Usually on Fridays we don't do home repair and focus on the agencies in the area. Because of the weather we switched Thursday and Friday around and spent today working with agencies. A couple of volunteers spent the day at the Itmann Food Bank sorting toiletries and folding clothes that were brought in over the last couple of days. The other group of volunteers spent the day at St. Vincent DePaul. A couple of volunteers finished building shelves for paint storage, while others organized the warehouse. It ended up looking beautiful, just like a furniture store. With the new organization SVDP will be able to open its doors for furniture distribution next week. Thanks again to the flexibility of the PVs, today went very smoothly.

For dinner we were treated to a scrumptious breakfast casserole, fried potatoes and blueberry muffins. A very tasty and satifying dinner. For dessert we had ice cream with several topping choices.

The evenings reflection centered on one of the daily quotes from this week, Bernard DeFontenelle's "People almost always do great things without knowing how to do them, and are quite surprised to have done them." We each shared a time when we or someone we witnessed did a great thing that they did not know they had the power to do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"People almost always do great things without knowing how to do them, and are quite surprised to have done them."  Bernard DeFontenelle

Today was one of those days when it seemed like it could rain at any moment, or have abundant sunshine. As we left the school to go to sites it was sunny and raining...there must have been a rainbow somewhere. We continued at the same two sites from yesterday. At the ramp site, the whole ramp frame has been built and a large majority of the deck boards have been attached. It is exciting to the progress each day. Before you know it, it will be fully functional.

The other site was able to finish scraping and paint most of the porch. The floor still needs to be done. Progress was also made with the underpinning. We are working with existing vinyl underpinning, trying to get it back into the tracks, as well as trying to replace damaged or missing pieces. Needless to say it is like a big puzzle and takes a lot of patience, but luckily we had the perfect group of PVs to do the job.

We were very excited for dinner tonight, not only for the food, but also because we were having several visitors join us. It is always special to share a meal with friends, and this was quite the meal to do this with. There was meatloaf, baked potatoes, 3 bean salad, soda bread and to top it off a scrumptious fruit salad. Needless to say we ate well.

Reflection tonight centered on the idea of community, what it means to be part of a community such as the PVs. We shared examples of when we saw community. As a community we are invincible.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"The great end of life is not knowledge but action."  Thomas Henry Huxley

The PVs spent their day at two different sites in the Oceana area. One group continued working on the ramp that was started yesterday. While the project is a big one, they made quite a bit of progress today. The other site in the area was working for a couple. There are several projects to be done at their trailer, but today the crew focused on fixing a leaky porch roof and scraping said porch roof in preparation for painting it tomorrow. Both sites had to endure hot temperatures with little breeze and lots of gnats.

Dinner this evening was a Mexican feast. There was a taco bar with meat, beans and all the fixings as well as Spanish rice on the side. For desert we has a special treat utilizing the home made biscuits that our cook made us, serving berries and whip cream on top. It was absolutely fabulous and refreshing!

Reflection tonight focused on work and how our work is sacred. Several readings were shared around this idea and many reflections were shared.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his or her own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful."
Marie Curie

A new group of volunteers and new sites to start off the week. The group split into two went two totally different directions in the county today.  We had one group go to meet a Second Harvest food delivery truck to help transport items to the Itmann Food Bank. Each month the food bank is able to get food from the Mountineer Food Bank at a reduced cost for distribution to the people who come into the Itmann Food Bank each month. Not only did volunteers help transport the food from the drop off location, but they also helped unload the trucks and cars at the other end.

The second group of volunteers begun work on a ramp at a house in Oceana. The ramp is being built for a gentleman who will soon be taking car of his wheelchair bound daughter. Right now there is no way in or out of the house for the wheel chair. The PVs made great progress today framing out the platform part of the ramp. Perhaps the hardest part of the day was moving a set of cement steps that were in place where the ramp is going to go. With the home owners help and ingenuity, the were moved to the side so the ramp work could begin.

Everyone worked up quite an appetite today, so we were very thankful when dinner time rolled around. Because we had so many leftovers from last week and we didn't want to waste the delicious creations, we will be enjoying the dinners again! It is also a nice way to connect last weeks volunteers with this weeks. Thank you to all that had a hand in creating our meal tonight.

For reflection we reflected on John the Baptist going out into the desert and how we at times have to go into the desert to find God.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another beautiful sunny day in Wyoming County...Today after Mass and a wonderful lunch of leftovers, the community set off for community. We decided to go and visit the town of Matewan, which is about a 45 minute drive from the school. We had gone to Matewan about 12 years ago for community day and decided it was time for a return trip. The drive was absolutely gorgeous. A new road had been put in since the last time we visited that had spectacular views of the West Virginia mountains, as the road ran along the ridge line. Once we got to Matewan we spent quite a bit of time in the museum. Matewan is has a very interesting history as a railroad and coal town. There was an infamous shootout at the train station in 1920 between coal miners who were trying to unionize and the security guards hired by the coal company. This story was told in the John Sayles movie Matewan, which we highly recommend watching if you get a chance. While in Matewan we also walked along the flood wall which was built to keep the Tug River at bay.

After our day of sightseeing, we came back to the school for a cookout, reorientation and finally commissioning for all those came in this weekend. We look forward to another fruitful week ahead.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week 1 Pictures

Enjoy a sampling of pictures from the first week...

Friday, June 21, 2013

"We ourselves must be full of life if we are going to make life fuller for others."
David Sawyer

Summer is officially upon us, although with the warm temperatures of late you would never know we weren't already in the throws of summer. Today as it being Friday, was a day for volunteers to connect with local agencies throughout the county that provide much needed services year round, as well as visit residents whom they have worked with in the past.

This group was lucky in that it was Distribution Day at the Itmann Food Bank, so they were able to help with the monthly distribution. Over 500 residents were served during the day getting food boxes, clothing, diapers and household items. The PVs helped alongside local volunteers to put the boxes together, run them out to the cars and assist with the clothing and other household items.

Part of the group left mid-day to go help at the future home of UGWA (Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association) but pulling up the Japanese Knotweed that has grown and overtook the area in front of the building.

Volunteers also spent part of the day stopping in and saying hello to many residents in the county. Building relationships have always been an integral part of the PVs and these visits help to cement those relationships.

Lasagne was on the menu tonight and it was absolutely fabulous. The meat lovers and vegetarians alike were thrilled with their respective lasagnes. Along with the lasagne we ate salad and garlic bread. For dessert we were treated to chocolate raspberry bars.  In this bloggers opinion, no finer combination has ever existed.

Tonight was the closing prayer service for the week. The Friday reflections are always a chance to look back on the week that has finished and reflect on those experiences that have been most significant for each volunteer for the week. This week we shared how God has called us to serve this week.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."  Michelangleo

Another beautiful day in wild, wonderful West Virginia. And speaking of West Virginia, today is West Virginia's 150th birthday. Happy Birthday West Virginia! Keep your eye out for a commemorative forever stamp to mark the occasion, coming to a post office near you, nationwide. You can share a little of the beautiful mountains with your loved ones (and bill collectors : ) )

Today the volunteers worked in two separate groups. One group went up to Baileysville and finished up with all the work that we set out to do. Thanks to the hard work of the PVs the family should have a drier and safer place to live. Luckily we finished up an hour our so early, just as it was starting to heat up.

The other group of PVs got a little relief from the heat, as they were working with water all day. They had the task of power-washing, and then when the power-washer quit on them hand washing, the St. Vincent DePaul building, Holy Cross Church and the Pineville Children's Clinic. All three of these organizations have been and continue to be wonderful supporters of the PVs and we were happy to lend a hand. Now, all three buildings are glowing white and clean!

Dinner tonight was a treat, chicken parm and eggplant parm along with a salad.  And for dessert, chocolate and vanilla ice cream with butterscotch and chocolate toppings. It was delicious and satisfying.

Tonight we had another wonderful reflection, capped with the first "new and good" of the season.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Emotion is the chief source of all becoming conscious. There can be no transforming of darkness in to light and of apathy into movement without emotion."  Eric Jung

Today started off a lot drier than yesterday. It wasn't sunny first thing, but as we drove to the sites in the morning there was fog nestled in the mountains. If you haven't seen that sight before, you are missing something of beauty.

Today we had several different crews heading out for the day. One group went back up to Long Branch to work on the porch that was started yesterday. With the drier weather and a hard working crew, the porch was finished by the end of the day. By all accounts, it looks wonderful and will be much enjoyed by the four generations of family we have met over the days.

A second group returned to the site outside of Baileysville. Today the group focused on the roof and on the front porch railings. The roof had been leaking in several places. It took a little tar, a little caulk and a lot of creativity, but we think the roof should be much better at keeping its occupants dry. The work we did on the porch was to replace the railings and make it a lot safer. It looks like one more day of work and we should be done at this site as well.

A third crew took on the role of furniture movers in the morning. A local couple from the parish are moving and wanted to donate some furniture to St. Vincent DePaul for distribution. A couple truckloads and some PV muscle later and the task was complete. We will miss you Wilburn and Kathy!

With all the furniture moving, porch building and roof repairing done today, it is no wonder why everyone had a bit of an appetite tonight. Tonight is the traditional "Breakfast for Dinner" night where several men cook the dinner. This is also the night where we take pity on our cook has to cleanup after them : ) All kidding aside, breakfast for dinner is always a nice treat. You can't really go wrong with pancakes, bacon and eggs.

Tonight's reflection asked us to think of a time while in West Virginia that we had a moment, or moments when we knew we were right where God wanted us to be.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"From a mighty spark may burst a mighty flame."  Dante

We awoke this morning to sound of rain bouncing off the metal roof of the school. It was a cool rainy morning in Hanover. We spent the first half of the day waiting for the rain stop, if not to at least slow down a bit. The creek behind the school started to sound a bit like an ocean, but because of recent dry weather, still had room before it reached a level that would be worrisome.

After eating lunch at the school, the brave volunteers headed out into the sprinkling rain with the promise of clearing skies in the near future. Both sites were able to accomplish quite a bit in their abbreviated day. One group worked in Long Branch repairing a porch. Today the volunteers were able to tear off all the deck boards that were going to be replaced, as well as the railings and stairs. Now that the group removed all the old, damaged wood, we will be replacing the deck boards with new boards and putting on new railings and building new stairs.

The other group worked over near Baileysville. There are several small projects that need to be done at this house, but because of the weather, today the group focused on some of the flooring that needed to be replaced in various areas of the trailer.

We worked a little later than normal today because we had such an abbreviated day, but that didn't make anyone less hungry for the meal that awaited us. Really it was two meals, one the was special for the vegetarians and one for those that prefer a little meat in their meals. The vegetarians were treated to a wonderful Mediterranean dish, while the meat eaters enjoyed a cheeseburger pie.  The wonderful meal was topped of with a magnificent recreation of a s'mores/cheesecake combo.

The unexpected was the theme for reflection.It started with part of a Run DMC song as a way to introduce the idea of the unexpected. We were ask to share something from our day or time in WV that was unexpected.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Love cannot remain by itself-it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action and that action is service."
Mother Teresa

Today the volunteers had the task of helping to organize the worksite hallway and the school to help the run to run more smoothly. The beginning of the program this year bumped right into the end of the school year for Wyoming County Schools so we weren't able to get much of a head start setting up the school. Everything looks wonderful and ensures a very smooth summer. If you are coming later in the summer, you have this group of volunteers to thank for their organizational skills.

Our community dinner tonight consisted of baked ziti (from the PV Cookbook, thanks Rocco!), garlic bread and salad. A very simple meal, yet very satisfying.

In the evening we reflected on what the experience of coming to volunteer means to us. We had a nice sharing amongst the community. After reflection we talked about the day ahead, which jobsites we are doing and volunteers signed up for their sites.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2013 Summer Program Kicks Off

We are off and running in West Virginia! The 2013 PV Summer Program began this weekend. Volunteers started arriving on Saturday for another summer of service, community and reflection. After Mass on Sunday the PV community headed up to RD Bailey Lake Dam for a little community time and to take in the wonderful view.

We shared our first community meal together and followed that with a re-orientation. The night closed with the traditional PV Commissioning Service. Before beginning the week it is always nice to have the service as a way of connecting with our past and preparing ourselves for whatever lies ahead in the week to come.

We are ready for all the adventures that lie ahead and we hope you will journey with us. Each day we will be posting about our activities and on the weekends, pictures from the week.

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 Days Until the Summer Program in West Virginia Begins!

It is almost here! We will kick off our 16th summer in Wyoming County, WV, (and 41 years as a program!) this Saturday. Volunteers from all over the country will be descending upon the coalfields of southern West Virginia to lend a hand and take in all the beauty that is found in this gorgeous mountain land. We invite you to come along for the journey by following us on the blog. We will be posting daily, our activities and adventures as the summer progresses, first in West Virginia and then as we move up north for Peace Camp in Bedford Stuyvesant, NY.

Whether or not you will be joining us in person, or following along on the blog, we appreciate your presence and interest and ask for your prayers for a safe and successful summer.