Nov 10

Food For Thought Friday – November 10th

One smile has the power to…
Calm fears.
Soften stone walls.
Warm a cold heart.
Invite a new friend.
Mimic a loving hug.
Beautify the bearer.
Lighten heavy loads.
Promote good deeds.
Brighten a gloomy day.
Comfort a grieving spirit.
Offer hope to the forlorn.
Send a message of caring.
Lift the downtrodden soul.
Patch up invisible wounds.
Weaken the hold of misery.
Act as medicine for suffering.
Attract the companionship of angels.
Fulfill the human need for recognition.
Who knew changing the world would prove so simple?

― Richelle E. Goodrich

Oct 31

A Need and a Community of People Coming Together

Thanks to you, our supporters,  Juanita and Hector will sleep better at night knowing that their son is not trapped inside their house. He won’t be trapped outside of their house during the day, either. This is because Juanita and her family now have a new wheelchair ramp made possible by her family, her church community, her neighbors and her new friends, the PV Volunteers.

Juanita’s son Juan has cerebral palsy, and gets around in a wheelchair. For years, the family has relied on a faulty electric lift to get Juan in and out of the house. If the lift isn’t working, Juan either stays home until it works, or is trapped outside until it works. There was no other way out of the house for him. Of course, the lift malfunctions more often at the most inopportune times, like when it is cold outside, or raining, etc. Inconceivably save for the love of a mother, Juanita – all 4-foot-10 of her – has had to physically pull her fully grown son up the stairs before to get him into the house, after waiting hours for the repair person to come on a freezing winter day.

Juanita’s husband Hector is not able to help as much as he once did, since becoming blind from diabetes. Along with middle school daughter Sally, the family itself proves St. Paul of the Cross mantra that “Love is Ingenious” every day, finding ways to survive and thrive with all of the challenges they face.

Juanita is blessed with a loving family and good friends in her community. But due to the fear of dealing with city permits, not to mention the upfront cost, starting construction of a 30-40 foot wheelchair ramp was always a non-starter for the family.

This is where the PV Volunteers were able to step in and give Juanita’s family the boost and blessing of a start. During their week-long stay in Aurora, the PV’s were able to secure a city permit, dig all of the post holes (fall four feet deep!), complete the framing of the ramp and guard rail, and start to install a new door at the top of the ramp that will be Juan’s new fail-safe entry into and out of his own house.

The PV Volunteers guided the ramp project through two of the out of the three city inspections it needs to pass. Upon leaving, they handed the baton off to Juanita’s family an community, who are finishing and helping to fund and build the guard rail, the door, the thresholds and the handrails.

In all, over 30 people will have made this ramp possible. It is a perfect example of PV Volunteer work at its best, working with families and communities to give the boost they need to meet needs that would otherwise not be met. And letting God evangelize the volunteers in the process, through service and relationship.

Written by PV and our Aurora, IL host, Bruce Bachmeier

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Oct 06

Food for Thought Friday – October 6th

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.


Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, poet and author

Sep 25

Aurora Wrap-Up

Last week, 11 PVs converged on Aurora, IL for a week of service and a very special project. During the week volunteers worked with Hesed House, first helping with their annual “Hike for Hesed” and then by providing, preparing and serving lunch for more than 100 people. Ahead of the week, volunteers planned the meal and purchased the food so they would be ready to go when it was time to prepare and serve. While there, they got a tour of Hesed House and met a lot of wonderful and inspiring people. Hesed House has been a part of the PV Aurora Week since we started it 5 years ago.

The big project of the week was building a wheelchair ramp for a family in Aurora. The family includes an 18 year son who is in a wheelchair and a father who is blind. They have an electric wheelchair lift to get into the house, but the lift does not always work and the family often has to wait for hours in their car until help can come. We witnessed the failure of the lift while we were there and the son returned home from school and wanted to get into the house. The process which should take a couple of minutes ended up taking a longer as the lift did not want to work. The ramp that the volunteers were building during the week will give the son a lot more freedom and his mom a lot less worry. While we have done ramps many times in West Virginia, this ramp was a whole new challenge as we were working in a city with codes, permits and inspections, not to mention a limited amount of time. With a lot of prep work planning and organizing and volunteers willing to work longer hours than our usual PV day, we were able to get through the second of three inspections and get all but the last stretch of deck boards down and the railing tops installed. The ramp is in great hands for finishing touches, as the family and their friends were working alongside the PVs the whole time and will be able to finish the project. A big thank you to the family and friends for not only working alongside us, but for providing us with lunch each day and well as cold water on the hot days!

We will post more pictures as we get them, but enjoy a few from the last few days.