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2018-04-03 / Opinion

Fresh Air Fund Still Relevant

The Fresh Air Fund looks forward to celebrating National Volunteer Week each year. I would like to extend my gratitude to our volunteers, hosts and supporters in the Northern Catskills Region. Their dedication to our Fresh Air children truly embodies the spirit of National Volunteer Week, which is April 15 to 21 this year.

Volunteers work in several capacities throughout the year along the East Coast and Southern Canada to help make The Fresh Air Fund’s programs possible. Fresh Air host families open their hearts and homes, and share the everyday joys of summertime with Fresh Air children. Our local volunteer leaders – many of whom are also hosts – serve on committees, interview prospective host families, publicize the program, and plan summer activities. Individuals and local businesses also give generously of their time and resources to make The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program successful throughout the Northern Catskills Region each summer.

Anecdotally and in survey results, we are seeing that The Fresh Air Fund is as relevant today as it was when it was founded over 140 years ago. As we hear from alumni and connect with long standing host families, we continue to learn how Fresh Air Fund summers have impacted and continue to transform lives many years later. We have learned that a summer can last a lifetime.

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. First time Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from seven to 12 years old, who live in New York City. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with the program through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips.

For more information on to get involved, contact local volunteer leader Cesar Rodriguez at 800-367-0003 or visit www.freshair.org.

FATIMA SHAMA

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

THE FRESH AIR FUND

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