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The Fresh Air Fund
By Meaghan Howard, Public Relations Intern

 

 THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.  Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year. Fresh Air children, boys and girls from six to 18 years old, visit 305 Fresh Air Friendly Towns in the summer. Fresh Air children on first-time visits to Friendly Town host families are six to 12 years old and stay for up to two weeks. The program also has a special one-week option for New York City families who would like to host children on their summer vacations in the country. Sixty-five percent of all children are reinvited to stay with the same host families, year after year. Reinvited youngsters may continue with The Fund through age 18, and many spend the entire summer in the country. Fresh Air children and volunteer families often form bonds of friendship that last a lifetime. 

The Fresh Air Fund Western New York Committee is always looking for new host families. For more information on how you can make summer special for a Fresh Air child, contact Christine Tedesco at (716) 627-7177 or The Fresh Air Fund at (800) 367-0003. You can also learn more about the Volunteer Host Family program by visiting The Fund’s Web site at www.freshair.org.