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Natural Awakenings

Summer Fun: Host an Urban Youth’s Vacation and Change a Life

Jun 30, 2011 10:48AM

The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer vacations to 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Again this year, another 5,000 will spend part of their summers with volunteer host families in communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. Some 3,000 more will attend a Fresh Air summer camp in Fishkill, New York.

Boys and girls, ages 6 to 12 years, visit 305 Fresh Air Friendly Towns each summer for one or two weeks. Sixty-five percent of the children are re-invited to stay with the same host families, year after year, sometimes up to the age of 18. Fresh Air children and volunteer families often form bonds of friendship that last a lifetime.

There are no financial requirements to host a child, and host families are not paid. The Fund also has a program for placing children who have special physical or emotional needs.


More than 75 percent of Fresh Air contributions come from individual donors. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to The Fresh Air Fund, 633 Third Ave., 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Those who wish to qualify as a host family may call 800-367-0003.

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