Student-run 'Relief United' making a difference to help Syrians

Saturday, April 29, 2017
Teens form nonprofit to help Syrians
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AJ Ross has the story.

SLEEPY HOLLOW, New York (WABC) -- Really making a difference in the world is an ambitious idea seven teens from Westchester are truly committed to.

"Even the smallest person can make a change," a teen said.

Motivated by the disturbing images and headlines coming from Syria, the longtime friends organized a picnic and benefit concert at Kingsland Point Park Friday to raise money for Syrian refugee families, hospitals, and schools.

"We look at it on TV and we talk about it, but what are we doing?" said Michael Kozlwski, a student. "So I got together with a bunch of my friends and this started with a little dance in a little church and it's just expanded."

"I don't like to think of it as us helping Syrians, because that makes them seem so distant and far away from us," said Gibran Mourani, a student. "I like to think of it as teenagers helping teenagers, families helping families."

Called "Relief United" their nonprofit has already raised nearly $15,000, but the global awareness they've been able to spread to other teens via social media is truly priceless.

"That's the way our generation works now, so it was the most amazing way to get the word out and spread the word," said Lily McHale, a student.

"Our small contribution here results in a huge difference of there," said Nick Sinopoli, a student.

Now with more than 50 members, they want to continue assisting humanitarian efforts around the globe and hopefully inspire other teens to dream big and get involved.

"Aleppo and Syria is what we're focusing on right now, but we hope in the future to work on other parts of the world," said Jane Signman, a student.

"I wasn't really sure if it would work out at first because we're just seven teens from around Westchester, but I think we really pulled it together and we made something amazing," said Joseph Gullotta, a student. "Because we're really making a difference in the world and I think that's a really good message for everyone out there."