Sangita Datta has only been a resident of Plainsboro for five years but she and her family have made their presence felt in the community. Datta came to the U.S. with her two sons after receiving their permanent resident cards. She moved to Ravenscrest in August, 2012. “After so many years I am proud of the decision I made and I love everything about it — the people, school administration, township, and everything,” she says.
“I volunteered in every field I was associated with,” she says. “I was not shy of any interactions. I enjoyed meeting people, attending school talks and seminars, and being involved.”
Before she knew it she was the vice president of fundraising at Community Middle School and High School North. She also chaired the selection committee of the PTA board members at High School North.
Datta was invited to join Plainsboro’s human relation council in 2015 and now she is the chairwoman. “We celebrate diversity in the community and bring members together through many programs, events, and awards,” she says.
She assisted West Windsor Plainsboro Soccer Association in getting sponsorships and vendors for events and tournaments and is the team administrator for Team Lazio, a travel soccer team.
Datta is also a member of the Mercer Alliance committee. “We have dedicated people volunteering from different fields including recreation, police, schools, and non-profit organizations to help children and people stay away from drugs and alcoholism,” she says. She joined the India Foundation of Metropolitan Princeton to stay connected to her Indian roots and help the community at large.
For four years Datta, who concentrated on volunteering everywhere, worked as a substitute teacher in the WW-P school district. She is now a financial advisor with New York Life.
“I still believe in doing community service,” she says. “There are so many things I have learned about the society and how things work here that I want to spread the word around.”
Her husband, Ramesh Menon, remained in India until November, 2015. He was a pilot with Air India and visited Plainsboro every three months. His two older brothers and his parents live in California. “He loves the community and in a very short while made many friends and does not want to go back to India leaving all this,” she says. “We just love New Jersey seasons, the education system, people, and everything about it.”
“This is a story of several generations,” she says. “It is a family to be proud of, a family that has believed and lived to give so much to the community.” That family tradition of service starts with Datta’s grandfather, who was recognized by the president of India in 1952 for his actions to save 12 people from burning aircraft.
Datta’s sons have inherited their great-grandfather’s spirit of service. Adhit, now a seventh grade student at Community Middle School, recently received an award for kids who create magic and was honored at a gala dinner. His elder brother Abhik, a freshman at North, has used his artistic abilities to make caricatures to raise funds for clubs at schools and in the community.
They both have been honored by State Assemblyman Dan Benson and have received a New Jersey legislative resolution for their voluntary deeds. “The boys are continuing the legacy of their great-grandfather,” said Benson at the ceremony.
The family moved to the Princeton Collection in July, and Datta has spread the warmth in her community, where all the residents are uniting, running clubs, social gatherings, and fundraisers for different occasions.
“Princeton Collection is a pretty old community, yet there was no common ground to get everyone together,” says Datta, who created a WhatsApp group through Facebook. There are now 79 families in the group.
“We have a great community now with banquets, a cricket club, a hikers group, indoor play area, a robotic team, yoga, meditation, and celebrations of holidays and festivals,” says Datta. “The community has become much closer and active. Neighbors can count on each other for help by posting their question to the group.
“It’s amazing how the community has come so close to each other, started connecting with each other, and it’s become an even more beautiful place to live,” says Datta. “I enjoy participating and highly encourage all groups who genuinely work for the community and spread any good. You will find me everywhere. I know it takes a lot of time but we need people to do it.”