Archbishop Stepinac High School

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Stepinac Junior Michael Mauguin and Six Friends At Other Catholic High Schools in Region Establish Charity to Help Provide Humanitarian Aid to Families Displaced by Civil War in Syria

Plan “Project Syria LIVE” Music Festival Fundraiser, April 28 At Kingsland Point Park, Sleepy Hollow

“It’s hard to believe that other teenagers my own age have to worry about waking up the next morning, losing a loved one, or being forced to give up all that I know and love on a daily basis,” explained  Stepinac High School junior Michael Mauguin about what motivated him to establish with six friends at other Catholic high school students a charity to help provide humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees..

Their shared commitment to help address the crisis of families who have been displaced by the civil war in Syria has resulted in plans for a  music festival fundraiser, “Project Syria LIVE,” that will be held from 5:30 to 10:00 o Friday, April 28 at Kingsland Point Park, Sleepy Hollow.  All proceeds will go toward sending aid to the Syrian families.

Festival highlights include a “Battle of Bands” comprising local bands and other talented youth from local high schools along with special guests such as “Voice” finalist, Amanda Ayala.  The evening will also feature speakers and exhibits highlighting the plight of the displaced, with a special focus on teenaged refugees.  Admission is $15 and can be purchased by visiting or $20 at the door. A variety of food vendors will be available throughout the event.

The seven committed friends—all juniors at Catholic high schools in Westchester and Manhattan— banded together  last October to establish Relief United, a newly formed  sub charity of Catholic New East Welfare Association (CNEWA) (, a global charity founded in 1926 dedicated to providing humanitarian help for refugees in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

In addition to Mauguin, the group’s founding members are Joe Gullotta, John F. Kennedy Catholic High School; Michal Kozlowski , Regis High School; Lily McHale, St. Vincent Ferrer High School; Gibran Mourani, Iona Preparatory High School, Jane Singman, The Ursuline School and Nick Sinopoli, Regis High School.
Mauguin noted: “It is imperative to make sure those who don't have a chance to live a wholesome life, get that chance. The only way to provide this relief is as a united front.”
The new non-profit group has been working closely with the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees.  Subsequently, an advisory group was created comprising an additional 30 high school students representing 10 additional schools, including Sleepy Hollow High School, to help share information on the mission of Relief United and the fundraiser.