[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 93 (Tuesday, June 19, 2012)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1084]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                      A TRIBUTE TO MATTHEW OKEBIYI


                          HON. EDOLPHUS TOWNS

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, June 19, 2012

  Mr. TOWNS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and pay tribute to Mr. 
Matthew Okebiyi. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Matthew Okebiyi spent most of 
his youth and formal schooling being shuttled between various parts of 
Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. It was during those formative 
years that he witnessed firsthand the effects of poverty, hunger, 
homelessness, and human rights violations. Those incidents would later 
have a profound impact upon his life.
  Mr. Okebiyi immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s and 
settled in Brooklyn, New York, where he attended college on a full-time 
basis while working two jobs. He earned a Bachelor's degree in 
Communication Arts, pursued advanced studies and earned two Master's 
degrees: one in Urban Planning and the other in Political Science. He 
completed his Mental Health training at Hunter College School of Social 
Work in New York City.
  Mr. Okebiyi is the founder of the African American Planning 
Commission, a New York City-based not-for-profit organization and 
currently serves as the Executive Director. He also worked to build the 
Serenity House Family Residence, a 40 unit, $5.5 million transitional 
homeless shelter for survivors of domestic violence. The mission of 
Serenity House is to offer survivors and their minor children, who have 
exceeded their maximum length of stay in an emergency shelter, a safe 
but temporary refuge from domestic violence.
  Mr. Okebiyi, in addition to his accomplishments, has volunteered with 
Food Bank and Children's Literacy programs. He maintains a volunteer 
teaching schedule; tutoring several undergraduate and post-graduate 
students in his free time, one hundred percent of whom have gone on to 
receive their Bachelor's and/or Master's degrees.
  Mr. Okebiyi has been the recipient of many awards for public service. 
Most recently was in 2011, when he was the recipient of the prestigious 
``Man of the Year'' award presented by the Brooklyn Branch of Key Women 
of America, Inc. at its annual gala.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Matthew Okebiyi for his drive 
to succeed and dedication to social justice. His unceasing commitment 
to the welfare of others is an inspiration to us all.