Meet Maurice: Violence Prevention Initiative Coordinator
Maurice “Reese” Washington is someone we should all meet. Reese was released from the Greensville Correctional Center (prison in Virginia) following a 2015 arrest on drug-related charges, a friend offered him a place to stay. He found himself falling back into old habits, but in 2019 he came to REAL LIFE and lived in one of the recovery houses. While at the REAL LIFE program he got his license reinstated, secured a job, became a peer house leader, published a children’s book, and started a health and wellness business. Through the program, he found stability and support.
After two and a half years, Reese moved out of the REAL House and became a part-time staff member at REAL LIFE initially! Reese started working with the program through AmeriCorps as a peer recovery coach. He now is full time as the new coordinator for the REAL LIFE Violence Prevention Initiative.
After graduating from the program, he was offered a position to work with REAL LIFE. He happily accepted because of his love “for helping people and being a peer house leader [he] loved being able to give back.” He genuinely has a passion for “doing things for other people and making a difference.”
When Reese first arrived at REAL LIFE, he never envisioned having the opportunity to be a part of the staff! But Dr. Scarbrough and the rest of the staff saw his hard work and initiative so they offered him positions to gain responsibility and leadership. Having these roles in the programs has led him to acknowledge his “strong passion for helping people” and he is grateful he can put it into practice.
He hopes to bring more diversity and different perspectives to the program. He feels that he is able to empathize and relate to program members as he is too in recovery. He has lived through many experiences from being incarcerated to being a peer house leader and he feels he will be part of the change. As Reese has been through the program, he wants to give “hope to other individuals.” And ultimately, he wants to give the Lifers more inspiration through his experiences. He hopes that the Lifers “can accomplish what [he has] accomplished.”
What makes him most excited to be working with the program is the hope to create change – a difference. Unfortunately, he has lost friends to gun violence. His goal as the coordinator for the Violence Prevention Initiative is to reduce gun violence in Richmond.