Chester Community Coalition Awarded $431,531 in Grants to Provide Trauma-Informed Support Services in Chester, PA

Chester, PA- June 28, 2018 – The Chester Community Coalition has received a $421,731 grant from Catholic Health Initiatives’ Mission and Ministry Fund through the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia to provide trauma-informed support services to survivors of gun violence and $9,800 from Congregation Ohev Shalom’s Outreach Grant to provide art therapy for young children from families bereaved by violence in Chester, PA.

The goal of the Coalition is to deliver programs to heal the psychological and emotional impact of homicides and reduce trauma-related reactive violence in the City of Chester. Homicide bereavement in disadvantaged communities of color takes a heavy toll:  depression and PTSD that extend many years after the loss.[i]  Families exhaust their savings and borrow to cover funeral costs[ii].  Mothers who have lost sons to gun violence feel stigmatized and isolated.[iii]  Children suffer intrusive re-imaginings and angry outbursts.[iv]

Money will be allocated to provide group therapy for families who have lost someone to homicide or experienced injury by gun violence, and coordinate peer-based violence education and volunteer trauma response teams.  The programs will be led by the coordinating committee of Fran Stier, Sister Jean Rupertus, Sister Virginia Spiegel, and Alexia Clarke.

The Chester Community Coalition sincerely thanks Catholic Health Initiatives, Congregation Ohev Shalom, and the Sisters of St. Francis for their support.

As has been shown in other settings, we anticipate that these early interventions will reduce reactive violence, empower the community dealing with toxic stress and build a safer city in which to live.

Our programs can only be accomplished in partnership with City of Chester residents, social and business organizations and political entities. Over the 2017-2018 planning year, the Chester Community Coalition (CCC)s has developed a board reflecting Chester’s diversity.  The Coalition has also actively participated in community meetings, events and outreach. Transparency, respect, commitment and service are the fundamental values from which we have begun this work and with which we will continue.

For more information, please contact Alexia Clarke at, 610-368-0714.  Also visit us at,, or


[i] McDevitt-Murphy, et al. “The Toll of Traumatic Loss in African Americans Bereaved by Homicide”.  Psychological Trauma:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 4(3) pp 303-311.  2012


[iii] Hannays-King, C et al  “Social support and Black mothers’ bereavement experience of losing a child to gun homicide”.  Bereavement Care 34(1) 10-16.  2015.

[iv] Mannarino, A, and Cohen, J.  “Traumatic Loss in Children and Adolescents”.  Trauma 4(1) pp 22-33.  2011.