In recognition of The Fresh Air Fund's 137th summer of bringing together New York City children and volunteer host families in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has recognized March 20 "Fresh Air Fund Day" throughout the state.
This summer, The Fresh Air Fund will once again allow thousands of inner-city boys and girls to escape the hot, noisy New York City streets to enjoy the simple joys of summertime fun in the country.
Families who participate in The Fresh Air Fund's Volunteer Host Family Program open their hearts and homes to New York City children for one or two weeks or more in the summer.
"Sharing your home and the surrounding community with a Fresh Air youngster can be the beginning of a worthwhile and meaningful experience - for both the child and your family," said Jenny Morgenthau, executive director of The Fresh Air Fund. "This year, we are looking for new host families in Western New York to celebrate our 137th summer and give children a chance to run barefoot through the grass or gaze at the star-filled skies."
Volunteers simply want to share what they have with city children and introduce them to the joys of suburban or country life.
"You don't have to spend a lot of money or do anything fancy. The children can just play in the backyard and enjoy just being kids," said Donna, a Fresh Air host.
Families find hosting so rewarding that more than 65 percent of all Fresh Air children are invited to visit the same host families year after year. First-time Fresh Air visitors are 6 to 12 years old. Fresh Air hosts range from young families to grandparents. All it takes is the willingness to welcome a New York City child to your community.
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million inner-city children since 1877. For more information about becoming a Fresh Air volunteer host, call Cheryl Flick at 1-716-634-7017 or The Fresh Air Fund at 1-800-367-0003. Visit The Fresh Air Fund online at www.freshair.org.