Deacon Slaven to be honored by Camden County


GIBBSBORO – Deacon William Slaven of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish will be honored with the Camden County Martin Luther King Freedom Medal at ceremonies on Jan. 24 at the Camden County Boathouse in Pennsauken.
The Voorhees resident is being cited for his community service working with the homeless. After becoming a deacon, he said, he was “trying to see what direction to head. I chose working with the homeless.”
He pointed out that in 2009 he and several others met to discuss homelessness in Camden, and Joseph’s House in Camden was born. “My objective is to show the homeless plight here and nationwide,” he said.
“This is an organization whose mission is ‘to work collaboratively with others to aid the least of our brothers and sisters’ by offering services that include emergency shelter, a range of supportive housing, and access to comprehensive social services,” the deacon said. “My community service is spurred on by the desire to help others get along and cope with the struggles of life.”
A café was soon opened during the evening winter months, which took in an average of 45 people off the streets.
“The first year or so we were open I was there Friday nights for two hours helping with serving food” the deacon said. “Over the last few years I have helped coordinate the collection of some basic food items needed to run the café during the winter. By the end of the month Joseph’s House hopes to be open at its new location at 555 Atlantic Ave. in Camden.”
Deacon Slaven and his family lived in New Hampshire for awhile but “once we moved back to New Jersey I knew I needed to help or give back in some way,” he said. “I looked to help coach youth baseball and soccer for several of my children’s teams in Sturbridge Lakes, coaching from 1989 till about 2005. The intent was always to help the children learn the game and learn how to live life, compete and compete fairly.”
Deacon Slaven is a manager in operations for a division of a large engineering and construction firm, URS.
Since 2002, the MLK medal has been awarded to Camden County residents who contribute to the betterment of the community through their dedication of time and talent, beyond their normal professional activities, in the continuation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to create a more just and loving community.