Hometown Hero: Volunteer reaches outside the church to impact kids

Joanna Slater started West Hill Ministries

Some kids, unfortunately, don't have a ton of guidance at home as to what's wrong and right.  Instead, they either fall into society’s hands or if they're lucky, someone will step up to show them the ropes. That person for some kids in Sharon is Joanna Slater.

SHARON, Pa. (WYTV) – Some kids, unfortunately, don’t have a ton of guidance at home as to what’s wrong and right.  Instead, they either fall into society’s hands or if they’re lucky, someone will step up to show them the ropes. That person for some kids in Sharon is Joanna Slater.

Joanna started West Hill Ministries 27 years ago. She worked in the church and felt that they needed to expand beyond the walls of the building.

“We were only servicing our church, and there are all these kids in the community that weren’t being reached,” Joanna said.

Joanna wanted to give kids in Sharon a safe place to be after school where they could learn more about the world around them.

“They rotate from one class to another. We have a computer room, game room, crafts, music and games,” Joanna said.

Some of the kids in the program have parents that work and the after-school program serves as an addition to the instruction they are getting at home, but for others, it’s the only guidance and structure they have.

“A good example is we had a 23-year-old boy come back and ask if he could help with the program, and I asked him why he wanted to do this and he said because this is where I got my guidance,” Joanna said.

It’s for that dedication to the children that members of the Sharon community and Joanna’s own kids, including her son Kevin Slater, nominated her to be a hometown hero.

“She does a lot of work nonstop and doesn’t ever really get credit for anything,” Slater said.