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.

Sep 14

Aurora Thursday

Today was another great day in Aurora and working at Hesed House. Apologies for the late and short post from yesterday, your poster had a splitting headache and had togo to bed : )  But back to today…..

The days are getting warmer as the week has gone on, but it has been beautifully sunny week. Today at Hesed Hose we started out the day with a great information and tour session to learn even more about Hesed House. Since we have been there each day this week, it was great to learn all the ins and outs.  After the session we broke into small groups and began working on projects including: painting lines in the parking  lot, painting walls, cleaning EVERYTHING in the kitchen, assembling computer desks, sorting clothes and so much more! We wrapped up a little early and made a trip to the local ice cream place and a little hike along the fox river.

Dinner tonight  was a leftover extravaganza!! We got to enjoy all the great food we all ate all week!

We decided to do our closing reflection tonight since a couple of volunteers need to leave in the morning. We reflected on the idea of giving and how it goes both ways. We give, but we also are given so much. I was nice to reflect back on the week and all the great experiences we had. Much was given both from the volunteers and to us from the people we encountered.

Sep 12

Aurora Tuesday

It was another great day for the PVs in Aurora. Today in the morning we prepared and served a meal at Hesed House for around 100 people and then spent the afternoon at the ramp site from last year doing a few finishing touches on the ramp as well as helped to paint the front porch. It was great to see the family and work alomgside them again.

We were treated to Chicago-style deep dish pizza for dinner tonight along with homemade apple crisp. Needless to say we are full and satisfied.

Reflection tonight was centered around the idea of change. We shared both big and small changes in our lives, specifically related to our time as PVs.

Enjoy some pictures from the day.

Sep 11

First Aurora Day

Yesterday evening PVs descended up Aurora to begin the the 6th annual PV week. After our community meal and commissioning we planned for the week ahead and then curled up on our air mattresses and had a good night’s sleep.

Today the volunteers spent the day helping with odds and ends jobs at Hesed House. Hesed House is in the middle of a huge transistion in part of the facility. They are turning their transistional housing area into a family shelter and a permanent supportive housing facility.  The PV crew cleaned, scraped, painted, assembled furniture and any other thing asked. It wa a great day!

Dinner tonight was delicious. We had tuna noodle casserole, mashed potatoes, corn and for dessert, peach cobbler. Yum yum! After dinner we gathered for reflection. We reflected on the idea of flexibility and its importance, especially in service.

The assembly directions for the Ikea furniture were a perfect symbol of us as PVs. The first guy is grumpy because he has to work alone, but well he has a buddy everyone is happy. PVs never do anything alone!

Sep 06

PVs in Aurora, IL

Sunday, we will kick off the 6th PV Week in Aurora, IL. We are looking forward to a great week and will post daily our activities. We hope you follow along with us!!!  If you want to support the volunteers financially during the week, you can through our special campaign at

In celebration of the week beginning, here is a throwback to the first week in 2013 outside of a building that we were helping to rehab that now house the offices of World Relief, a refuge support organization.