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FMHS senior organizes race to benefit local and national refugees

Caroline Tangoren, a senior at F-M, is organizing the Global Community 5k to benefit Oxfam International and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. The race will be held on Oct. 27 at Long Branch Park.

Caroline Tangoren, a senior at F-M, is organizing the Global Community 5k to benefit Oxfam International and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. The race will be held on Oct. 27 at Long Branch Park. Allie Wenner

— “That had a really big impact on me and I was very overwhelmed by that statement,” Tangoren said. “I was thinking to myself while running why it is that I run; because it’s a great mental relaxation for me and provides me an opportunity to de-stress. Whereas, there are millions of people around the world who are literally running for their lives. And that contrast between the two really wasn’t okay with me. And I thought that if I could open people’s eyes to this unique perspective I gained, that I could do a lot to address the current situation.”

Tangoren first became invested in the issue of refugee resettlement after researching it extensively for Model United Nations. She said that the more she read about the topic, the more she was affected by just how bad their situations are.

“They’re innocent civilians who have done nothing wrong and they’ve been forced to flee their homes and live through violence, destruction and oppression,” she said. “And just because refugees get out of the camps, it doesn’t mean starting up their lives is going to be easy.”

One of the goals of the race is to raise awareness about both the refugees still living in the camps and those who are trying to begin a new life in a new place. Because of this, Tangoren is splitting the profits from the race between Oxfam International, one of the leading non-governmental organizations working with the Syrian refugee crisis, and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, which works to bring refugee families to Syracuse and provide them with homes.

“The average refugee spends 17 years in a camp, and by that point, how do you remember how to find a job or get your kid enrolled in school? I think it’s important to address both aspects of the issue,” Tangoren said. “If you want to be productive in the way you’re allocating your funds, you want to make sure they’re being used effectively to help these people put their lives back together.”

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