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Zion Community Services

Emerson Cottrell Founder
Rev Emerson Cottrell
- St Paul AME Church
of Coatesville

Our founder

Emerson began his career as a Journeyman Electrician in 1995. For over 30 years, including his service hours as an apprentice, he has been employed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 743. "Journeyman" seems to be an appropriate title for Reverend Cottrell because it was while traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in the Million Man March that he had the vision of Zion Community Services. Emerson journeyed back to Pennsylvania and immediately began to set things in motion.

At the time, Minister Cottrell took on a job for Barnes Hall Juvenile Facility's Mentoring Program. He also volunteered in an Early Education facility yet still partnered with community leaders and activists, creating a Summer Basketball League that thrived for years. All of this was the foundation of Zion Community Services (ZCS), being laid. Emerson was getting his feet wet and rolling his sleeves up as he prepared to put in the sweat equity it would take to make a difference in these communities truly.

The Young Lion Mentoring Program, created at Emerson's alma mater, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, is where Emerson began to see that going the extra mile was worthwhile. The Young Lions were established to guide and support the young students because he saw a need. Spending time, providing an outlet to young people, and just being an available resource is what he focused on, and it invigorated him. To this day, Emerson draws from the mentoring group, and he gives back to them double what he receives, a mutually beneficial relationship.

Reverend Cottrell also saw a disparity in the number of minorities and women in his chosen field as a Journeyman Electrician. So he sat down with his amazingly resourceful wife, Mary, and together they birthed Zion Community Services (ZCS), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families in need. While initially, Emerson wanted to address mentoring and apprenticeships along with some other vital components, ZCS has blossomed into so much more.

Now offering many services, ZCS is expanding its borders to serve the communities better. Now in lockstep with Mary, Emerson felt a strong sense of purpose and a renewed commitment to making a positive difference in these communities. Whether you are a young person entering the Building Trade Apprentice Program or the Building Trade Summer Camp. For someone looking for a second chance by entering the Returning Citizens Re-entry Program, ZCS has programs in place to serve. Any student attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology can join the Young Lions Mentoring Program, and anyone looking to learn skills or apply the skills that they already possess can participate in the collaboration that ZCS has with Cornerstone Construction Company.

Behind the leadership of Reverend Emerson Cottrell, ZCS has committed to making a difference in various communities by creating partnerships with local contractors and construction companies, always striving to have a positive impact to better serve our communities.


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