We started Our Future First, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit, after losing our friend Maurice Lewis in May of 2018 to an act of random gun violence in our hometown of Millville, NJ. At 19 years old, Reese was the kind of person who did everything he could to help others and we wanted to do something to keep his memory and legacy alive.
While we’ve been doing work in the community since the inception of our organization, our dream has always been to open a community center called Reese’s House that focuses on working with teenagers and young adults. Through our experiences in education, we understand that this age group is one of the most neglected. If we are going to build our youth for the future, we have to invest in their growth instead of assuming it’s just going to happen.
Reese’s House will serve as a place where people can get help with all things school-related, talk and receive counseling on life, college, career opportunities, learn about entrepreneurship and organizing through a lens of innovation and empowerment, and just be themselves in a safe environment. Our center will be a place where our youth can come to hang out, discuss the issues that are impacting their lives, and receive unconditional support to help create actionable solutions to these issues. Our goal is to help this generation of leaders understand that the only boundaries that exist are the ones that we allow to be placed in front of us. We will help them pursue their passions to ensure that they are given every opportunity to be successful and lead the life that they desire.
We’re very excited for this particular building space because it will allow us to establish a unique and innovative relationship with Wildflower Vegan Cafe, a local Millville restaurant that has been thriving for over a decade. They will lease our commercial kitchen space (as seen in the video below!) to create their incredible food and desserts. They will also provide training and job opportunities to our youth and community, hold cooking classes and seminars, bridge the gap between our local farms and our homes, help us host monthly fundraising dinners, and much more!
While Reese’s House will absolutely be a hub for our youth, it will also serve as a true community center where local organizations and groups can utilize our space to meet and build with their people. There is a lot of incredible work being done in our area right now and we want to support and help in any way that we can.
Imagine a place where we can come together as a community to pour into our youth, a place where we can build the future of our city and county together, a place where the only limits to what you can do are in your own head. This is Reese’s House.
Our youth needs this. Our city needs this. Our future needs this.