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
For the past several summers, the PV Volunteers have been one of the recipients of the Mustard Seed Grant from Sacred Heart parish in Southbury, CT. The PVs have been able to receive this grant because of the efforts of two Sacred Heart parishioners who are also PVs, Bob and Bernie. The monies we have received from the Mustard Seed Grant of gone a long way in helping to sustain the work we do in West Virginia. We believe one of the reasons that we have received this grant for several years, is because of the wonderful follow up that Bob and Bernie provide to their parish. Each year they post on their parish website pictures with a narrative from their time in West Virginia, as well as interviews that they conduct with willing PVs talking about their experiences. This year we wanted to make sure we shared with all of you their wonderful work.
We encourage our volunteers to write about their experiences as PVs. The following is a reflection written by a long time PV who, for the first time, brought his young grandsons along for the adventure. The PVs often have many generations represented in any given community, it makes the experience even more meaningful.
“The Future of the PV” By: John Dean
“The harvest is abundant but the labors are few so ask the
master of the harvest to send out labors for his harvest”. Matthew 9 37-38
I have been a part of the PV family since 2001. In the past
I have always gone to West Virginia by myself but this year I brought two of my
grandsons with me. Over the last couple
of years my grandkids have shown more interest in what I do with the PV program
but until this year I felt that they were too young to participate. Kyle and
Garrett both turned 12 in July and I felt that it was time to show them how
other people live that are not as fortunate as they are. I also felt that getting them indoctrinated
with only one week in WV would be a good start given that I wasn’t sure they
could stand Grandpa for more than one week.
Our trip from Northern Virginia is about 6 hours and the
first stop was the demonstration coal mine in Beckley. We took the tour through
the mine and saw the houses the miners lived in and the exhibits in the museum.
I felt this was a good way to start the trip as it gave them some idea as to
the history of the area where we would be working.
Just before we left home we got an email from Jill telling
us that we would be staying at the Way so after the mine tour we headed for
Mullens. I had worked at the Way a couple of years ago but when we arrived I
was surprised that it had actually been completed and was a functioning youth
center, complete with a pool table, ping pong table and a full basketball
court. I had been a bit anxious as to how the boys would do once they got back
to home base at the end of the work day but as soon as I saw the Way facility I
was sure the boys would be able to entertain themselves.
My other concern with the boys was how they would do at
Reflection but that worry turned out to be groundless as both boys fully
participated each evening. They interacted seamlessly with the other PV
volunteers and spent time talking to the homeowners that we served during the
week- I was really proud of them. We led a Reflection one evening and used the
Martha and Mary bible story as the example of how important it is to spend time
getting to know not only the volunteers but the people we meet in WV. Both boys
did a great job at the job sites and had meaningful conversations with the
people we served.
The boys got to work on a number of job sites including St.
Vincent de Paul, a drywall site, a porch site and a stairs and flooring site.
They learned how to snap drywall and how to operate a cordless drill. It was
hot in WV so they learned the importance of taking water breaks and at the end
of the day when they felt a chill coming on they learned to head to DQ for a
During a Reflections one of the PVs made the very important
point that it is vital that the younger generation participate in the program
in order for it to continue. We do have
a significant number of young folks involved in the program and it is important
that more be included. In retrospect I probably should have gotten my grandsons
involved earlier and recognizing that I will invite more of them to come with
me next year – I have 6 : ).
The PV Volunteer
organization won’t survive unless we the volunteers continue to provide time,
treasure and prayers. Also important is a growing volunteer base that can
provide the energy to continue building, serving and believing.