On Sunday morning before the Super Bowl, more than 3,000 people are expected to attend the 11th Run for Refugees in New Haven in support of Integrated Refugees and Immigrant Services (IRIS).
It is the biggest annual fundraiser in support of the Elm City-based refugee resettlement organization.
In the first year of the Trump Administration, the IRIS executive director, Chris George, said there was a drop in the number of refugees his organization helped upon arrival to the New Haven area.
Omar Moussa is a 17-year-old Syrian refugee living and learning in New Haven.
"[Around] 11 [or] 12 years old, I walked from Syria to Jordan," Moussa said.
Moussa only spent a short time living in a refugee camp in Jordan he said was plagued by death and disease.
"It’s so bad in the camp to live there," Moussa said. "Like you don’t have water or you don’t have electric."
Two years ago, Moussa arrived in New Haven not speaking a word of English.
"There is good education here," he said. "Better than other countries."
Moussa thanks IRIS for helping his parents and three of his siblings adjust to life in America.
"They help us like, go to school," he said of IRIS. "And they help us with the house and furniture and my family to the doctors."
IRIS partners with the Wilbur Cross High School International Academy where Moussa is one of 18 refugee students.
"I’m proud of our teachers," Assistant Principal Ann Brillante said. "They spend a lot of time learning how to do their work really well. We have an instructional model that supports English learning."
Friday morning, Senator Richard Blumenthal visited with refugee students at Wilbur Cross.
"Connecticut should be welcoming more than a thousand refugees every year," George said.
But because of limits placed on refugee resettlement by the Trump Administration, Connecticut welcomed
"It’s shameful," George said. "Especially if you figure it comes at a time when the world is facing the worst refugee crisis ever."
Moussa is one of 12 children in his family, so he hopes to reunite in the states with eight siblings still living in the war-torn Middle East.
"You just cannot imagine," he said. "You just want to run away and go live and have freedom, be safe."
On Sunday, Moussa plans to take part in the Run for Refugees with other students from Wilbur Cross.