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The Early Days

Historical Timeline
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Star Stories
The Early Days
Start of Early Days
The Genesis of Our Commitment To Improve The Education Of Our Children And Their Families...
Eggert's Crossing Civic League 1966

Our concern and commitment began in 1966 when Fred Vereen, Jr. became president of ECL.  He presented a position paper to the board of education.  ECL requested for more attention to be paid to the concerns of parents in Eggert’s Crossing, more communication between schools and the Eggert’s Crossing community, sidewalks for children walking to school, and an increase in African American teacher hires.  We urged the board to encourage the immediate establishment of a racially balanced curriculum throughout the school system.  ECL would assist in a concerted effort to overcome these problems. 

We focused on three of the seven steps proposed in that statement: 

  1. Establish two youth groups within our organization,  comprised of children in the 4th through 6th grades, and those in 7th through 12th grades.  

  2. Plan for providing our children with many and varied learning experiences outside of the home and school. 

  3. Organize a study center and tutoring program which would include all of our children who need such aid.  We would seek volunteers from area institutions of higher learning, to supplement the varied talents of our own adult members.  

“We have undertaken this program in an attempt to raise the achievement levels of our children to provide them with better lifetime opportunities.  Our appearance before the board of education was designed to achieve this same purpose.”

Lawrence Community Action Council 1964 – 65

Federal legislation creating Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programs encouraged the formation of community improvement groups — action councils — and made funding newly available for a wide range of social service programs and for constructing affordable housing.  Community-minded Eggert’s Crossing residents and socially progressive Lawrence Township residents formed Lawrence Community Action Council in 1965. We applied for and received funding for the first head start program and a neighborhood service center, now called Lawrence Community Center. These two programs were the first funded in mercer county.

Lawrence Neighborhood Service Center 1965

Lawrence Community Action Council applied for and received an office of economic opportunity grant in 1967 to begin its program of services for community residents.  Fred Vereen, Jr. was hired on a full-time basis to provide and direct the council’s programs.  

Some of the following programs operated out of the center include:   

  • Daycare center for working mothers

  • Educational learning experiences to the children

  • A federal community credit union

  • Senior citizen programs

  • Youth action programs

  • Planned Parenthood clinic

Lawrence Non-profit Housing, Inc. 1967

Another program of the Lawrence Community Action Council,’  INPH, inc., was the sponsor of Eggert’s Crossing Village (ECV)  a federally subsidized, affordable housing development in Lawrence Township, New Jersey.  the complex has 100 one- to five-bedroom units, primarily townhouses.  It is owned and managed by (INPH, inc.),  a community-based nonprofit (501)(c)(3) corporation.


Pictured: the official opening of Eggerts Crossing Village is marked by the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon by Harold Brown, president of Lawrence Nonprofit Housing Corporation, aided by Fred Vereen, director of the Neighborhood Service Center, Councilman Lloyd Carver, and William L. Johnston, acting executive director of the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency.

Renewing Our Commitment To Community At Eggert's Crossing Village 1999

Our mission:  “To establish a community that encourages and motivates the young residents of Eggert's Crossing Village to reach their highest potential as educated, mature, and fulfilled adults.” 

Excerpts From A Status Report From This Committee  For A Time Period From April 2003 To May 2004...

Of the 322 residents at ECV, there are 155 children, youth, and teens; 5 infants-toddlers; 22 pre-k children ages 2-5; 34 children ages 6-8; 28 youth ages 9-12; 66 teens ages 13-18; and 27 young adults ages 19-22  years.  Most leaseholder families are African-American single parents with two or three children.  A typical household is a mother who is employed full time with an income of $25,000 - $30,000 and two children occupying a 3-bedroom apartment.

The needs:  according to the administration of the Lawrence Township Public Schools, the statistics about ECV children in the schools are disturbing. 

Excerpts From A Status Report From This Committee  For A Time Period From April 2003 To May 2004...

Students who live at ECV represent  20%  of all African-American children in the school system and 30% of ECV students are classified as special education.  These children enter the school system lagging in developmental, social, and academic skills and they do not catch up.  Many of the young residents have low expectations about what they can achieve as students and as working adults.  They become aimless, depressed teenagers who are unemployed or hold low-paying jobs.  Most of them do not go to college.   Typically the few residents who start college do not finish and become young unemployed adults, absent any career direction or purpose.  Lawrence Township and its public schools are full of opportunities, but most young ECV residents do not connect with them. They need help to understand their opportunities and to develop the courage, confidence, discipline, and skills to rise to their full potential.

Every Child Valued Becomes A 501(C) (3)  2009

Every Child Valued’s mission is “to motivate the young residents of Lawrence Township to reach their highest potential as educated and fulfilled adults; to strengthen families; to combat racial, cultural, and socioeconomic isolation; and to build a sense of community.“ 

ECV pursues this mission because it envisions the elimination of the historic pattern of achievement gaps among participating children in the Lawrence Township Public Schools.

Pictured: Recipients received an award for their active and dedicated participation in Lawrence Non-Profit Housing, Eggerts Crossing Village, Eggerts Crossing Civic League, Every Child Valued After School Program at the gala "Celebrating 40 Years of ECV" on October 19, 2014. From left to right, Arzaga Dillard, Director of  ECV ASP; Thomas Wilfrid, Secretary ECV ASP, and Vice-Chair LNPH; Margaret G. Huchet, Co-Founder of ECV and Past-President of LNPH; Harold Vereen, President of ECCL; Theodore Hendricks, Active Member of ECCL and LNPH; David A Friedman, Attorney for LNPH in development of ECV; Joseph Fineberg, Participant in the development of Eggerts Crossing Village; IDA Lawrence, Board Member of ECV; Fred Vereen, Jr., Executive Director Emeritus of ECV, Past Manager of Eggerts Crossing Village, and First Director of Lawrence Community Center.

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