News & Event
Project Yoga MOV was founded in 2017 by the owners of Full Circle Yoga, Cheryl and Patrick McHugh with the mission of bringing the therapeutic benefits of yoga to the Parkersburg area for individuals who are underserved. The all-volunteer organization consists of a Board of Directors, Executive Director, Program Manager, and trained yoga instructors.
“Our clients are those who would not traditionally seek-out yoga,” said Cheryl McHugh, Project Yoga MOV’s Board Chair. “There are so many benefits of yoga, both mentally and physically, and we want to expose individuals to those benefits.”
Currently, with the help certified and trained yoga instructors, Project Yoga MOV provides service to citizens in Wood, Pleasants, and Washington counties in the Mid-Ohio Valley region. Through their work, the Mid-Ohio Fellowship Home, Wood County Senior Center, St. Mary’s Correctional Center, Parkersburg Correctional Center, Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg, and area elementary, middle, and high schools have introduced yoga to their clients/students. In addition to these sessions, Project Yoga MOV, with the help of the VET Center, has also introduced yoga to local Vietnam veterans.
“Our yoga instructors have completed 200+ hours of yoga training, in addition to a Trauma Sensitive training,” said Cheryl McHugh. “We are not here to say what level is your trauma – trauma is trauma. We are here to provide the benefits of yoga, to help with thought and emotional processing and to teach individuals to breath consciously and feel. All of these elements together can make a positive difference for an individual.”
Steve Barnhart, Project Yoga MOV’s Veterans Project Manager, can personally speak to the therapeutic benefits of yoga. A U.S. Army veteran, Barnhart said “I started yoga because my wife’s doctors wanted her to try yoga as part of her chronic illness therapy. We started at a small studio where there were never more than three or four people in class. Much to my surprise, yoga was helping me more than it was my wife. Wanting to expand my practice, I found Full Circle Yoga online. At first, I was intimidated because I didn’t look like anyone in the pictures online, but once I finally went to a class at Full Circle Yoga, I discovered the peaceful and non-judgmental people inside. Yoga and Cheryl and Patrick helped me deal with long-standing PTSD/Moral Injury and have truly made a difference in my life. Now I am advocating for others to attend sessions and helping other veterans experience the positive release that comes with yoga.”
Every Monday at 6:00 p.m. Combat Vietnam veterans are invited to the VET Center in Parkersburg for a private group yoga session. Additional veteran group sessions are being arranged. To learn more, contact Project Yoga MOV.
To solidify their commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley region, Project Yoga MOV established an endowment fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation that will forever provide operating support for the organization.
“The Foundation has a respected reputation in our community and this new endowment fund will help ensure that our organization has annual funding to help us continue our mission,” said Patrick McHugh, Project Yoga MOV’s Executive Director. “We encourage individuals who are interested in helping Project Yoga MOV with our mission to contact us to learn how they can get involved and make a difference in someone’s life.”
Individuals who would like to learn more about Project Yoga MOV are encouraged to email Patrick McHugh. Individuals wishing to donate to support the new Project Yoga MOV Endowment Fund can make their donation by sending a check (payable to PACF with the fund name in the memo line) to: PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102 or donate here.
Old Man Rivers Mission is transforming community support into community action through a spirit of volunteerism. Founded in 1991, Old Man Rivers Mission has touched the lives of hundreds of individuals in Wood County.
The main program of the Mission is a weekend feeding program where they deliver hot nutritious meals to the Parkersburg/Vienna community using a mobile kitchen technique each Saturday and Sunday. In fall 2016, the Mission purchased a new delivery truck with a grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation allowing the Mission to delivery more than 200 meals in one trip.
Each Saturday and Sunday, the Mission prepares 400 meals to deliver to the community. In 2018, 41,700 meals were delivered to the elderly, disabled, and homeless. Nearly 80% of Old Man Rivers Mission’s feeding program clients are elderly. For many, the meal that is delivered to them is the only meal they will have for that day. Their clientele is comprised of those with very limited or no income so affording food is a tremendous hardship.
Another program of the Mission is their pantry which provides families with food and personal hygiene items. On average, more than 620 families are served each month (based on July-December 2018 figures).
To solidify their commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley region, Old Man Rivers Mission’s Board of Directors recently established an endowment fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation that will help provide operating support for the organization.
“The Foundation has a respected reputation in our community and this new endowment fund’s annual distribution will help supplement a portion of our annual operating expenses and help us continue to serve the residents of Wood County,” said Jeanette Pursley, President of Old Man Rivers Mission.
Auburn, once a bustling community, is a historic town which was first settled in 1834, before West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the American Civil War. Like many other communities throughout the state, Auburn is experiencing a population decline which has affected the monetary support available to the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee. This Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Auburn’s first settlers including the family names of Sommerville, Tharp, Hall and Watson with the earliest known grave being that of a young child, Robert Collins, who died in August, 1842. The Auburn Community Cemetery Committee provides maintenance and upkeep of the Cemetery located within the town limits.
Concerned and forward-thinking individuals with loved ones interred in the Cemetery recently established a permanent charitable fund, the Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund, with the Ritchie County Community Foundation (RCCF), an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund will forever provide an annual monetary distribution to the Cemetery Committee to support the public maintenance and upkeep of the Cemetery. Current members of the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee include Jim Lowther, Dave Crouch and Robert Lowther.
“It is not our intention for this new fund to hinder annual contributions to the Cemetery Committee,” said Bob Sommerville. “My family and some friends started this fund to encourage others to plan for the future of our Cemetery and to provide a long-term option for other concerned citizens to include a donation to the fund through their estate plans and wills, or to use qualified retirement plans and IRA benefits to make a donation. By doing so, they are ensuring that this Cemetery is taken care of long after we have passed.”
“The fund is permanent in nature so that the fund’s principal, which includes all donations to the fund, is never invaded,” said Julie Boyce, PACF’s Development and Communications Officer. “This means the fund will forever invest and issue an annual distribution for the benefit of the Cemetery. PACF’s prudent spending-policy helps to ensure that the fund continues to grow. Annually, the Cemetery Committee spends between $3,000 and $5,000 on upkeep of the Auburn Community Cemetery. A fund valued at $100,000 could potentially issue about $3,000 each year! The fund is off to a great start to that goal. The early supporters have pledged to help raise at least $100,000 in the next ten years to help grow this fund. They are already a tenth of the way to their goal with $10,000 in gifts to date. If others in the community likewise come forward, I’m sure their goal will be met.”
Persons who wish to make a charitable gift to the Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund can mail a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762 or give online by clicking here. Other forms of donation may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438. The “Friends of Auburn (WV) Community Cemetery” has its own Facebook page; more details may be found on it. Annual gifts to the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee (for ongoing maintenance, rather than investment for the future) can be mailed to PO Box 92, Auburn, WV 26325.
If you’re the parent of a college-bound student or a college-bound student yourself, you are more than likely feeling overwhelmed by the college application process and even more so by the costs that are adding up. To help offset some of these expenses the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) offers several scholarship opportunities for area students.
“Not only are students and parents worried about tuition and fees, but they are also concerned about costs for books, housing, transportation, and much more,” said Rachel Brezler, PACF’s Regional Scholarships Officer. “We’re here to help parents and students easily navigate through the scholarship process and provide meaningful financial assistance to help pay for college.”
Brezler believes that the scholarship funds managed by the PACF are extremely helpful for students working to achieve their academic goals. “Scholarship awards are directed straight to the college/university and are directly applied to the student’s account,” said Brezler. “This approach minimizes administrative details for students and eases financial worries. We’ve had several recipients comment that the scholarships they received truly helped them focus more on their studies.”
The PACF manages more than 160 endowed scholarship funds, established by forward-thinking citizens, to support students in its 11-county service area. An endowed scholarship fund with the PACF is a permanent fund in which the principal always remains intact and invested, forever. Annually, scholarships are awarded from a portion of the income earned on the fund’s principal. Each scholarship fund at the Foundation has different eligibility requirements. Many awards are restricted to students graduating from certain high schools, pursuing select fields of study, or attending specific institutions. While most existing scholarships are limited to students who are graduating high school seniors, there are a few available for students whose undergraduate degree program is already underway, who are pursuing graduate level education, or who are “non-traditional” students.
The average cost of college, both public and private, keeps increasing at a slow and steady pace each year. According to a recent U.S. News and Report article, the average 2018-2019 cost for public, in-state schooling is more than $9,000; public, out-of-state is more than $21,000; and private colleges and universities is more than $35,000.
Last year, the PACF awarded 266 scholarships, totaling more than $331,000, to support area students pursuing post-secondary education. Currently, the PACF is reviewing applications for its spring 2019 awards.
As the cost for post-secondary education continues to rise, the PACF encourages individuals concerned about the academic future of our region’s young people to consider partnering with Foundation. Individuals can volunteer on the PACF’s Scholarship Fund Committee, donate to build a current scholarships fund, or partner with the Foundation to create a new scholarship fund. Together we can make a meaningful difference for our community’s next generation.
Contact the PACF today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-428-4438 for more information.
The family and friends of longtime educator Edna Robinson have established a charitable fund honoring her dedication to furthering early childhood education in Calhoun County.
Growing up on a farm on Pleasant Hill, Mrs. Robinson and her eight siblings learned the value of education from their parents, Ollie and Elias Yoak. Edna Robinson graduated from Glenville State College in 1955, but even before graduation, she had begun assisting her father in his duties as School Master at several one and two-room schoolhouses around the county.
“I remember having to catch the outbound school bus from Grantsville and ride it to the end of White Pine, and then hike over the mountain to substitute teach for Dad at the Oak Hill School,” Robinson said. “Dad was pretty ill at the time and they didn’t want to make all the kids sick. It was quite a hike but I made it in time.”
While at Glenville State College, she taught at both Sand Fork and Glenville schools and upon graduation, she continued her passion for teaching at Cabot Station’s two-room schoolhouse. After successful tenures teaching in North Carolina and Massachusetts, Mrs. Robinson returned to Calhoun County, helping to nurture young minds while teaching at Minnora and finally Pleasant Hill Elementary. During her tenure at Pleasant Hill Elementary, Robinson touched the lives of hundreds of Calhoun County students (now residents) and was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2004. In 2005, Robinson retired from Pleasant Hill Elementary.
"I tried my best to not only teach the curriculum," Robinson said, "but also to help the children develop the qualities necessary for them to become responsible citizens."
Mrs. Robinson's dedication to educating the youth in Calhoun County will continue forever thanks to the Edna Yoak Robinson Fund for Education established by her children with the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation, a regional affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The Fund was created to support early childhood education and youth education programs in Calhoun County, WV, with preference for support to requests and needs from Pleasant Hill Elementary School and surrounding community.
“I have the utmost respect for Mrs. Robinson and what she has accomplished,” said Ron Blankenship, former Gilmer and Calhoun School Superintendent. “She was an outstanding educator and a real task master. She has had a significant impact on the lives of many in our community, and through this fund, will continue to do so.”
Persons who wish to honor Mrs. Robinson can make a charitable gift to the Edna Yoak Robinson Fund for Education by mailing a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 or by donating online here. Other forms of donation may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
George Penn was affectionately known throughout the community for his volunteering and commitment for many local organizations. Born in Alexandria, VA, George moved to the Parkersburg area in 1992 where he worked for UPS and Dover Products. A devout Christian, Penn was a United States Marine, a disabled Army veteran, and a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Menelik Lodge #74 Free and Accepted Masons. In 2010, George Penn and his wife, Josepha “Chris” Penn, opened the doors to Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours.
“Essentially Yours was created to fulfill a basic human need that George and I identified in our community,” said Mrs. Chris Penn. “The need to provide the essential home good items required to improve the quality of life for referred families and individuals transitioning from homelessness into a dwelling. Currently, the referring organizations that provide housing and furniture vouchers to homeless individuals do not provide the basic living essentials necessary for establishing a ‘home’.”
After George Penn died on March 1, 2017, an anonymous donor established the Voices of the Streets Endowment Fund in his memory. This permanent support fund becomes one of more than 350 component funds of Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) and will forever provide monetary support to allow Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours to continue to serve its mission.
“Through Essentially Yours, we raise our clients’ self-esteem and their desire to do better for themselves,” said Penn. “We are so thankful for this anonymous donor who thinks so highly of what we are doing that he or she has established a permanent source of funding for our cause. We are extremely dependent on charitable donations to continue to provide this important service for our community.”
Persons who wish to honor George Penn and to support the long-term efforts of Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours are encouraged to make a donation to the Voices of the Streets Endowment Fund online or to mail a gift by check to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 (made payable to PACF, memo Essentially Yours).
The Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund was recently created at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) to forever honor the late Douglas E. McLain. McLain was a well-loved Parkersburg native, devout Christian, Air Force veteran, and retired police officer. Above all, he was a dedicated husband, father, and Papaw. McLain unexpectedly passed away on June 24, 2017. Hundreds of friends, family members, and local citizens attended his memorial service to say goodbye to a dedicated local citizen and hardworking public servant.
“Doug McLain was well known as a true servant leader and a man of high integrity,” said the PACF’s Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt. “He lived his life as an example for others. Doug's contributions to public safety and the shaping of young lives through his work as the first Prevention Resource Officer in Wood County, assigned to Parkersburg High School, will be forever remembered with gratitude through this new scholarship. We encourage gifts to help build this memorial for Doug.”
McLain retired after forty-one years of honorable service from the Parkersburg Police Department in 2016. For four decades, while serving on the police force, he was also an EMT for the St. Joseph Ambulance Service. The new scholarship fund, established by McLain’s family and friends, is designed to continue his caring legacy and honor his dedicated service to the Parkersburg region.
The Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund will award annually one scholarship to a graduating senior from either Parkersburg Catholic High School, Parkersburg High School, or Parkersburg South High School who plans to pursue a public service field of study. The fund will make its first scholarship award in spring 2018.
Persons who wish to help honor Doug McLain are encouraged to make a charitable gift to the Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund by mailing a check (payable to “PACF” with the fund name on the memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762, or by donating online here. Other forms of donations may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
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