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Chester County Press

Cope Construction & Renovation owners receive Community Impact Award

02/28/2024 01:04PM ● By Richard Gaw

Drew and Tracy Cope of Cope Construction & Renovation in Cochranville were the recipients of the 2024 Community Impact Award, presented at the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce’s (SCCCC) annual breakfast meeting on Feb. 22.

Accepting the award on the Cope’s behalf was Priscilla Peters, a client success specialist with the company and one of the Cope’s four adopted children, who delivered a powerful address to the more than 100 business leaders who attended the event at the Hartefeld Country Club. 

“Their commitment to community impact is unparalleled,” said SCCC President and CEO Cheryl Kuhn of the Copes. “In 2011, they founded Cope Home Repairs – a for-profit venture supporting their ministry work with at-risk teenagers. Fast forward to 2018; the company re-branded as Cope Construction & Renovation, reflecting their expansive vision. Having fostered four teenagers into successful adulthood, Drew and Tracey set their sites on launching their own non-profit endeavor – the Salvus Foundation.”

Launched by the Copes several years ago, the foundation is currently raising funding to construct a group home for teenagers who are trapped in the foster care system, while providing assistance in helping them recover from pain, trauma, emotional and sexual abuse. Once constructed, the home will provide bedrooms and second-floor transitional apartments for young people who age out of the foster care system. 

Currently, an online fundraising effort to provide funding for the home’s construction has received nearly $5,000 toward a $50,000 goal.

“Ultimately, we’d like to raise five times our goal.... and use the excess to fully realize our Architect's design, furnish the facility, upgrade a lot of hand-me-down furniture and bedding we are using right now,” the Copes wrote on the fundraising page. “Moreover, we want to provide our kids with the types of trips and experiences they never had, growing up.   We want to open their eyes to the possibilities outside of this little farm town we live in.”

‘They Never Left’

“Over the past 14 years, Drew and Tracey have fostered four teenagers and young adults on a long-term basis and 20 to 30 more on the weekends,” Peters told the audience. “I am one of these kids, and back then, I used to feel that as I grew up, I would lose them in my life. They never left.”

Peters said that she had the privilege of making their house her home for three years while the Copes guided her through college. She shared her experience of being abandoned by her biological parents in a church parking lot when she was 17, with Drew there to meet her. On her first night with the Copes, Peters said that Drew tutored her about bills, money and getting a job.

“I want you to imagine that you are 17 years old, and your parents just walked out, and you don’t have anywhere to live, no money and no job, and you do not know what the future is going to hold for you,” she said. “I cried. I felt the world was unfair and everything was falling apart, but it didn’t stop who I was.

“I have always been a fierce competitor. As a long-time soccer athlete, I was always taught that you were more likely to get hurt if you cower from the ball than if you boldly confront it. It became a way of life for me. If you told me I couldn’t do something, I would bend over backwards trying to prove you wrong. My father told me that I was nothing -- that I wouldn’t make it without them -- and I was determined to prove him wrong.”

In direct contrast to the negative reinforcement she grew up receiving from her biological parents, Peters said that the Copes taught her that she could accomplish anything if she put her mind to it.

“They taught me that we don’t have problems, but challenges and opportunities,” she said. “They taught me to anticipate what was needed next and have it ready without asking, and that we don’t do anything half-way, that what we bring to the table is of value and when it is too hard for everybody else, it’s just right for us.

“The degree of confidence that Drew and Tracey helped instill in me is a far cry from where I grew up, in an emotionally-degrading household, where I was continually told that I was useless, worthless, nothing and that I would never become anything,” Peters said. “Of the four of us who have had the privilege of calling Drew and Tracey ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ and many others who have briefly passed through their home, we have all struggled to one degree or another growing up in homes rife with emotional abuse characterized by messy divorces, angry and alcoholic parents and in some cases sexual abuse, all of which resulted in self-injury, loss of self-esteem.

“The real fact is that there are so many children and teenagers out there who are not standing next to the Drew and Tracey’s in our community.”

A call to action

Peters told the audience that there are 16,000 young people in Pennsylvania in the foster care system -- 2,200 of them who are ready for adoption – as well as more than 7,500 chambers of commerce agencies in the U.S.

“If every chamber found 54 families – if every business found two employees in their company who could step up to become a foster family and rally behind those families and support them financially and provide flexible scheduling – can you imagine the impact we could make? We might be able to clear the group homes.”

With the Cope’s assistance, Peters is launching her own company – Cope Black Belt Auctions, an online auction business. 

“Thank you to all of our clients and especially our Loyal Tribe of Raving Fans who go out of their way each and every week to promote us in the community and on social media,” Tracey recently wrote on the company’s social media page in celebration of the company’s 13th year in business. “We appreciate your ongoing and unwavering support, which helps us not only create jobs for our employees but is facilitating [our] personal mission to help young people, trapped in the foster care system, who had a rough start in life, to launch successfully into adulthood. You’re helping us transform lives.” 

To learn more about The Salvus Foundation, visit

To learn more about Black Belt Auctions, visit the company on Facebook at BlackBeltAuctions.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].