Fresh Air summers are filled with children running barefoot through the grass, gazing at star-filled skies and swimming for the first time. This summer, join volunteer host families in the Southwest Coast, and open your heart and home to a Fresh Air child. Each summer, thousands of children from New York City’s low-income communities visit suburban, rural and small town communities along the East Coast and Southern Canada through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program.
Harlen, age 9, has visited the Tornatore family for two summers. Host dad Albert shared, “Harlen has definitely learned to try new things. I remember our first summer. He was nervous but by the end of the first week, Harlen and my son were having adventures and having so much fun. We went to the aquarium, amusement park, and the kids love the beach.”
"My kids get so excited when they get to see Harlen. This summer we went to a drive-in movie, and we were all in the backseat with blankets, pillows and popcorn, snuggled together. Harlen is simply part of our family,” says host mom Allyson.
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from seven to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips.
* photo by Stephanie Brauer