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Students Planning Charity Concert In Sleepy Hollow For Syrian Refugees

Top row (left to right): Michael Mauguin, Nicholas Sinopoli, Michal Kozlowski
Bottom row: (Left to right): Lily McHale, Jane Singman, Gibran Mourani
**Not pictured: Joe Gullotta
Top row (left to right): Michael Mauguin, Nicholas Sinopoli, Michal Kozlowski Bottom row: (Left to right): Lily McHale, Jane Singman, Gibran Mourani **Not pictured: Joe Gullotta Photo Credit: Contributed

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Seven teenagers have come together to plan a charity concert for Syrian refugees at the end of the month in Sleepy Hollow.

Relief United will be hosting Project Syria Live on April 28 at Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Money raised will go to CNEWA, a Catholic charity helping Syrian refugees.

More than 13 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to the Syrian Civil War. Almost 5 million Syrians are refugees and about half of this number are children.

"We want to raise awareness about the crisis in Syria," Jane Singman, a junior at Ursuline High School in New Rochelle, said. "There are people in Syria who don't have access to food or water. They don't have homes. There's rampant sexual violence. They are really struggling. It's horrible."

The other founding members are Michal Kozlowski,  of Regis High School; Lily McHale, of St. Vincent Ferrer; Joseph Gullotta of Kennedy Catholic; Gibran Mourani of  Iona Prep; Nick Sinopoli of  Regis High School and Michael Mauguin of Stepinac.

Aside from featuring local musicians, the concert will have speakers discussing the Syrian crisis. This is the first Singman and her group has planned anything like this, and it's certainly been a learning curve.

"It's been a really good experience," Singman said. "There's been a lot of trial and error."

The crisis in Syria has made Singman realize how lucky she is to live in the United States.

"We're so privileged," Singman said. "I get to wake up in my own bed, brush my teeth, and eat my own food. There are so many people who don't have that. It's easy to forget that. It's so comforting to know I can help."

Singman hopes the concert also takes away any stigma associated with the Syrian refugees.

"People are people," Singman said. "No one should have to wake up in warfare. No one should have to go to sleep and not know if they'll wake up in the morning."

The Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees responded positively to the idea and Singman said they didn't face any trouble securing the proper permits.

"A lot of adults are impressed these teenagers are taking the initiative," Singman said. "We know our stuff and people have been willing to help us."

Singman said she wishes the conflict in Syria has not become so politicized. Two executive orders aimed at blocking Syrian refugees from entering the country have been overturned by courts this year. On Thursday, the United States launched strikes against a Syrian military airfield after a chemical attack on civilians.

"A lot of people are uninformed," Singman said. "When you say Syria, the first thing people think is 'I don't want these people to come into our country.' I just wish that wasn't a thing."

Singman said they are hoping to raise between $2,500 and $3,000. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. To purchase tickets, click here

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