In the spring of 2000, a group of concerned community leaders initiated community discussions regarding the rise in substance use and criminal mischief among local young people. These concerns, coupled with the increase in youth crime and gang-related activities in nearby Suffolk County communities, prompted a desire for youth based programs offering an alternative to involvement in risk-taking behaviors, emphasizing violence prevention and diversity tolerance, and encouraging civic pride and personal responsibility.
The lack of activities which meet the diverse needs of local youth coupled with the absence of a safe, well-supervised place where teens can meet increases the risk of teen drug and alcohol use, as well as involvement in criminal mischief and gang-like activities. Local residents felt that one way to encourage positive behavior choices among local teens was to create a safe, well-supervised center for youth and other residents to meet and develop healthy relationships. In March of 2000, Moriches Community Center was incorporated, and Anthony Parlato III and Kathleen Johnson were named Co-Executive Directors. Sadly, in 2013 Anthony passed away unexpectedly, but Moriches Community Center continues to grow and thrive under the leadership of Executive Director, Kathleen Johnson.