Chester Community Coalition - A Culture of Service

November is a month to take stock and give thanks. 

We are grateful for the advice and guidance of the Chester community and for the partner organizations we work with. You helped us to grow in a time where we could have failed. We are grateful for our staff who serve families impacted by violence.  You do the essential work of advocacy and holding space for healing. We are grateful for our donors and funders.  You make our work possible.

The tragic toll of violence has been lower this year than last:  45% fewer murders in Chester than in 2020, 37% fewer firearm assaults.  We are grateful for all the community organizations and individuals that are reducing that toll and achieving peace and safety in Chester. We are proud to be part of advancing that work.

Our annual report is linked below. Please take a moment to see some of what we have done this year!
FY 2021 Annual Report Highlights:
  • 54% growth in clients served, through partnerships, individual and group therapy, outreach and case management
  • 97 participants in workshops and presentations on trauma-informed best practices
  • Chester Violence Prevention Coalition started in March 2021, including Chester residents,  representatives from public health, law enforcement, violence prevention, victim support services, and youth development organizations, and advocacy groups
Our work this year centered around individual therapy, case management, and partner groups, in response to community need/demand. Our partners include the Crozer-Chester Medical Center (CCMC), our local hospital and trauma center, the Boys and Girls Club of Chester (BGCC) and the Chester Upland School of the Arts (CUSA).

Partnership with the BGCC and CUSA allowed us to support youth from K-12th grade, creating safe spaces to talk about their experiences with COVID, lockdowns, shootings, and grief. We were also able to provide trauma-informed yoga to teens for the first time this summer, introducing a mindfulness practice as another way to process stressful experiences. 
We launched a hospital-linked violence intervention program this year in partnership with Crozer Chester Medical Center and Chester Peace Initiative. Funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), this partnership funded two full-time staff positions to support gunshot wound survivors after their injury with case management, safety assessments, and therapy to aid healing, prevent reinjury and reduce justice system involvement.

To read more, including messages from Imam Haneef Mahdi (CCC’s Advisory Board Chair), and Sr. Marijane Hresko (Board member and project manager), click here.
Trauma – Informed Yoga at the Boys and Girls Club of Chester

Ahminah Cottman, a recent graduate of Widener University’s Masters in Social Work program, is also an experienced yoga instructor.  Here are a few pictures from her classes at the Boys and Girls Club of Chester, last summer.

Our focus was on educating kids about stress – how it impacts their bodies and identifying ways to cope with it. Using breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, meditation and music, the classes helped participants learn to understand and cope with their feelings. The youth were really engaged and are requesting that the classes return!

We love partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Chester and sincerely appreciate being able to work closely with them this past year. Special thanks go out to Ms. Angie Johnson at BGCC for all she does to bring these and other opportunities to youth in Chester!
As Outreach Worker, Harry James communicates with a wide range of community stakeholders, creating positive and consistent contact with people who have experienced intentional violence. 

He grew up in the Feltonville section of Chester Township and currently lives in Upland.  He graduated from Widener with a major in Political Science.

Harry has more than 20 years of experience guiding young people in southeast PA as probation officer, administrator, program director, counselor, and special education teacher.

“Chester means a lot to me, not just putting band-aids on problems, but looking for effective remedies.  Chester Community Coalition has a vibe that you’re part of a team of people who care the same way you do”.

Harry has a son, Tariq, and daughter Jayda.

Here are some examples of what a donation can do:

  • $50 provides safe, door-to-door transportation to therapy or case management. (Many survivor families don’t own cars, bus runs are not frequent, and some families do not feel safe leaving their own neighborhoods.)
  • $70 provides pre-boxed suppers for a therapy group.
  • $135 covers an individual therapy session for a survivor of violence, including preparation, note taking, and supervision.
  • $500 provides case management services for a family that has experienced bereavement or assault.
  • $1,000 provides supermarket gift cards for program participants (many are food-insecure).
  • $7,200 covers clinical supervision for our staff, to prevent secondary trauma and burnout.


For those who prefer to donate by check, please make check out to “Urban Affairs Coalition, Chester Community Coalition”, and mail to:

Urban Affairs Coalition 
Attn. Dean Morris
Suite 700
1207 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19107

 703 Central Ave. 
Chester, PA 19013
 (610) 368-0714
Copyright © 2020 Chester Community Coalition, All rights reserved.

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