When Emmanuel Ebong first arrived in the US from Lagos, Nigeria in 1997, he felt like a pioneer. “We had no family, no community, and no support system when we arrived. It was hard.” Fifteen years later Emmanuel, his wife Blessing, and their three daughters, Mary, Vera, and Mercy have made a comfortable home in Princeton and are active members of the community. Both Emmanuel and Blessing work at Princeton University, the youngest daughter Mercy attends Riverside elementary, while Vera is at John Witherspoon Middle School. Eldest daughter Mary is a freshman at Rutgers in New Brunswick.

“There was never any choice about Mary going to college. Education is the most important thing to us. We are so proud of her. She sets a good example for her younger sisters. And the scholarship Mary received really helps us meet the costs of college.” Mary was a 2013 recipient of a NJAHMA (New Jersey Affordable Housing Management Association) and NAMA scholarship.

Princeton Community Village (PCV) has been a welcoming place to raise their family. “There are people from people from all over the world at PCV: Ghana, Cameroon, Haiti, Egypt. We have many friends from Africa here. We had a big party at the clubhouse for Mary’s graduation and everyone came and danced and ate. It was like a family.”

“We really appreciate living here and all the support we get. For example, the afterschool program is great.” Referring to the PCV-run enrichment program that provides homework and study skills assistance, Emmanuel says, “The girls get off the school bus and are met by staff who bring them to the clubhouse where they do their homework. If I’m working late and can’t be home, it’s good to know the are being taken care of.”