Elmore County woman making a difference in the lives of children

ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - At the old Sandtown school, more than 70 children are taking a journey and Pam Johnson is leading the way.

"We started this 3 years ago," said Johnson.

3 years ago Johnson started Kids Journey and it has just one goal.

"Once school is out you don't want the kids to just sit idle for 3 months," said Johnson.

Bessie Jones is the program coordinator.

"The community needed something for the children to do," Jones said.

Kids Journey provides a mixture of academics and sports; basketball, softball, soccer but not today because of the rain.

Sporting a toothy grin, Javarris Ashley is a 12-year old of a few words but he left no doubt how he feels about Kids Journey.

"It's a good place to be," he said.

14-year old Adam Manuel is a bit more talkative. He calls Pam Johnson an 'icon' and says there's no question this is the place to be instead of being at home and watching television. This Manuel's first tour of duty with Kids Journey.

"It helps me get back on my reading," Manuel said.

Pam Johnson's background is youth development and has always felt the call to work with his children. The children here are between the ages of 6 and 16. Call it a summer camp that challenges not only the body but the mind as well. Scores of volunteers help Johnson teach the kids math, English and reading.

'That's the journey for you to be successful. They have to have a strong academic background as well as athletics," Johnson said.

"The success story is the majority of our kids keep coming back," said Jones.

With her husband retired from the military, Pam Johnson could easily sit at home or travel but she chose not to.

"I haven't given up anything to do this. I love this job and I'll keep doing it as long as I can," said Johnson.

Pam Johnson hopes Kids Journey will provide the foundation for a lifetime of learning, a journey to remember.

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