Family of Millville teen who was killed seeks donations to start community center in his honor

The family and friends of a Cumberland County teen who was killed are hoping to carry out his legacy by starting a community center. But they will need the community’s help to complete their mission.

News 12 Staff

Feb 9, 2021, 1:32 AM

Updated 1,232 days ago

Share:

The family and friends of a Cumberland County teen who was killed are hoping to carry out his legacy by starting a community center. But they will need the community’s help to complete their mission.
Maurice “Reese” Lewis died nearly three years ago when he was struck by gunfire while stopped at a stop sign in Millville. His death was a huge loss to his family and friends who described him as a source of hope.
“I always said, when my son passed away that I just didn’t lose my son. We lost Maurice,” says mother Marisol Cruz.
“He was always there to kind of bring everybody up, and he was just a kid that a lot of his peers kind of gravitated before,” says Lewis’s former eighth grade teacher, Sean Thom.
Thom is also the executive director of Our Future First, a nonprofit group created to honor Lewis’ memory. The group is hoping to buy a building to create a community center called Reese’s House.
“There’s a lot of programs for younger kids. But sometimes the teenagers in our community just kind of fall between the cracks, and there’s not really too many programs specifically to serve them,” says Stephanie Risley, of Our Future First.
But in order to buy the building for Reese’s House, the group had to raise $30,000 in the next months. They are already more than halfway there and are hoping the community will help donate.
"It's just going to be an awesome place for them to be able to go to…so they don't have to be on the streets, they don't have to find something to do,” says Cruz.
Lewis’ friends say that he was always the one to organize gatherings among his friends, giving them something to do.
“He always wanted people to come together,” Risley says.
The nonprofit is also planning to partner with local restaurant Wildflower Vegan Café, which will use the kitchen space of the building but also provide programs surrounding healthy eating.


More from News 12