Oct 08

New Jersey PVs Live with Passion!!!

This past weekend, a wonderful, weekend long, Live with Passion event took place in Clark, NJ. It included a day of service, as well as a fundraising walk and raffle.

On Saturday the volunteers painted the floors and walls of St. John’s Food Pantry in Clark. In just 7 hours, the volunteers achieved a freshly painted pantry. And though the day was spent working, the volunteers said they had so much fun. All you have to do is look at the pictures (and the bonus video) to see they were having fun and working hard. Thank you to everyone who made the day possible.

On Sunday, there was a PV walk and like any other PV event, it was filled with love and laughter. As the organizer of the whole event Julia said on her Facebook, “I’m so happy to be reunited with my fellow PVs, and to get my family and friends involved!”

Thank you so much to everyone who participated during the weekend and to those who couldn’t be there in person but supported by a donation. Close to $800 was raised and it will go directly to our programs, helping those in need!!  Thank you also to those who donated raffle prizes:  Valencia Music School, Ana’s Studio 24 and Mari Melao’s donation of a BeautyCounter basket.  And finally thank you to Julia for organizing this great event! It is such a great idea to bring the PV service experience to our own communities and to include family and friends and support the PVs along the way. This model can be replicated anywhere! Who is next????  : )

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Oct 04

Throwback Thursday

Throwing it back to 2005 and a Community Day hike at Twin Falls State Park. The crazy thing about this picture is that all the young PVs in this are all in college age or beyond. There has been graduations, weddings, babies…. Proud to say also that many of these kids (and adults!) still come to volunteer in West Virginia.


Sep 24

New Jersey PVs Have Exciting Plans for the Live with Passion, Join Them If You Can!!!

PV Julia Melao has organized a weekend of service, community building, reflection and even a walk-a-thon to support the PVs for the annual Live with Passion. All the details are below.  If you are in the NY/NJ/PA/CT area we encourage you to take part. It should be a great weekend!!!

Julia first started coming to West Virginia with her family when she was 11 years old. Now in college, she had returned each summer and has become more involved with the program as a summer long volunteer and has also served on our PV Youth Board and the PV Steering Committee. Another great young PV getting things done!!!

We’re looking for your support in our 11th Annual Live with Passion Weekend for the PV Program!

The PV Program is a non-profit organization that sets out to serve in communities that need it most – whether it be through lending a hand at a food pantry, or setting out to build a new set of stairs or a ramp for a family in West Virginia. To see see sites we have worked on in the past, as well as volunteer testimonies, visit our website at www.pvprogram.org.

On the weekend of October 6th, PVs from all corners of the U.S. will be hosting their own fundraisers for this very special organization. The Melao family has decided to participate in this weekend by starting it off with a day of service, and ending with a Walk for Passion.

Our community service day will include a major paint job for St. John’s Food Pantry in Clark, NJ, followed by dinner and reflection at the Melao household. The next day, all will gather again at my family’s house and we will walk Oak Ridge Park to fundraise for the PV Program. After our walkathon, all can head back to the Melao house for bagels, stories, and giveaways to be raffled off for anyone who participates/donates in this weekend!

If you would like to participate/donate, please reach out to me at (908) 463-7954, or juliamelao@comcast.net. We need helping hands and moving feet!

Sep 20

Young PVs Getting Things Done!

Emily, a 12 year old PV from Fair Lawn, NJ, came to West Virginia for the first time this summer. When she returned home she, along with her two cousins, held a garage sale to benefit the PVs through our Live with Passion campaign. We asked Emily to share with us about her volunteer experience and the garage sale, which ended up raising $1,000 for the PVs.

Recently I spent a week of my summer in West Virginia helping out the less fortunate. I had never done this before so it was a whole new experience for me. I went to volunteer with my two cousins, Tricia who has been volunteering since 1999, and Caitlin who had started volunteering just this year. I didn’t know what to expect when I was there, but I ended up learning a lot and really enjoying my experience. I helped a family of very nice, and generous people. I sanded and painted their kitchen, hammered a threshold into the doorway, and screwed in a door to an electrical box. I also painted a church. Not only have I never volunteered before, but I had never been to West Virginia either. The lifestyle there takes some getting used to, but the people there are so thoughtful and nice. The family whose kitchen I was painting let Caitlin hold their little two month old twins, and gave us goody bags because their son was having a birthday soon, which was just too nice. I learned a lot about the people of West Virginia during my trip.

Considering that it was my first year volunteering, I was worried because the only people that I knew where Tricia and Caitlin. Everyone else that was volunteering with the PV’s were so nice. Right away they introduced themselves and tried to make Caitlin and I feel comfortable. Even though they probably wanted nothing to do with us, they would talk to us, play games with us and more. They made the experience even more fun for the both of us.

I now appreciate everything that I have, and I know that not everyone is going to have an amount of money they can live off of comfortably.  Keeping that in mind, Tricia, Caitlin and I wanted to have a fundraiser for the PV’s so that they could continue the amazing things they do. We began brainstorming ideas, until finally Tricia thought of having a huge garage sale. A couple of years ago, my whole family actually had a big garage sale for a similar reason, of raising money, and it was a huge success, so we thought why not do it again! We quickly spread the word to everyone and settled on a date. We cleaned out closets, the basement, and my room, so we could gather things to sell. My grandma put it in the newspaper, and my aunt put it on Craigslist and Facebook. I made signs explaining where the money was going to and why we wanted to do this fundraiser. All my other cousins, Caitlin, and I had a lemonade stand full of cake, and cookies, and of course lemonade! We were outside in the hot sun for hours, all because we wanted to raise money for the PV’s.

The PV’s are a group of volunteers that volunteer their own time to help people in West Virginia. They aren’t getting paid, hence the word volunteer, and all the supplies and the food used is all paid for from money that was raised. That’s exactly why we felt that we needed to have this garage sale.

Thank you Emily, Tricia and Caitlin for all your hard

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Sep 15

Aurora Friday

Today was anoter great day in Aurora for the PVs. We spent the day at Hesed House doing a variety of tasks. We started the day helping tounload a truck of donations into the warehouse and then moved across the street to help to put up a large tent for tomorrow’s big fundraiser, Hike for Hesed.Once the tent was put up we headed out on the trail that will be used for the Hike to pick up any litter that was near. After lunch we helped to move more donations to the warehouseand then did a litter sweep of the parking lot in prepfor tomorrow.

We celebrated the end of the great week by going out to dinner and was joined by an “old” PV who lives  in the Chicago area.. It was great to catch up and and rehash this past week.