Riverdale Middle School student hosts 5K run to benefit Darfur refugees

Posted on Mon, Sep 07, 2009 at 11:55 am

Memphis Commercial Appeal
September 7, 2009 -- Local News 

by Christopher Conley (Contact)

About 120 Memphians got up early Sunday to run five kilometers, or 3.1 miles, through Shelby Farms to raise money for children refugees from the African region of Darfur.

 Eden's Run 5K, organized by Riverdale Middle School eighth-grader Eden Siskind, raised about $3,000 to purchase supplies for the displaced children for art therapy classes at refugee camps in Chad.

The money raised Sunday will go to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which provides time, space and supplies for children to engage in the rehabilitative activities.

While preparing for her bat mitzvah, Eden said she explored the concept of Tikkun Olam, which means "healing the world."

"I wanted to help out, and I want everyone to be a part of it," she said.

Eden decided the best way to make a contribution was through a proven organization like the Hebrew aid group. "I believe they are making a difference in the lives of people in need around the world," she said.

The art therapy classes, Eden said, "will help them (children) come back to their comfort zone" and provide some normalcy in the chaotic life of the displaced.

"I have had a good life. They need the same."

Best friends Molly Buring and Lacey Chaum, both eighth-graders, were there for moral support and to run the race.

"We did it to support her, and it's for a good cause," said Lacey.

"It's a good cause," agreed Molly, "and it was good exercise."

Runners paid a $25 registration fee, and the effort had support from several corporate sponsors.

Eden's father, Greg Siskind, said his daughter has been working on the project for more than a year.

"I knew they (the Hebrew aid group) had projects all over the world. This is something tangible," Siskind said.

The organization brought Holocaust survivors to the United States, and beginning in the late 1970s, resettled several hundred Russian Jews to Memphis.

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society is the international migration agency of the American Jewish community and has provided refuge for Jews in need around the world.

More recently, the organization has extended its help to refugees and immigrants of various backgrounds.

-- Chris Conley: 529-2595

Eden Siskind (left), 13, is joined by her friends Hannah Filderman, 13, Eunice Kim, 15, and Mei Ray, 13, in cheering for runners as they finish a 5K Sunday morning at Shelby Farms. The run was organized by Eden to benefit child refugees from the African region of Darfur.

More than 100 runners turned out Sunday morning to help displaced children in Darfur. Their $25 registration fees will be used to by supplies for art therapy programs.

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