Friday, July 15, 2011

More than a breath of Fresh Air

The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers,
but for the wide world's joy.
~ Henry Ward Beecher

Look outside your window. What are the first three things you see? In my rural setting, I see sunshine, birds, and trees swaying in my fenced-in yard. It's different from the row-home porches, telephone poles, and sidewalks I grew up with in Philadelphia.

My friends at the Fresh Air Fund, a program that uses host families and summer camps to provide free summer vacations for New York City children, asked me to help spread the word. They are still in need of 850 host families for this summer. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and homes to children from the city to give them a Fresh Air experience that can change lives.

While I never participated in this program, I did benefit from overnight trips to a former classmate's house in the suburbs. Little things like running through her grassy yard, falling asleep to crickets' melodies, and seeing an entire room dedicated to toys and play (her family's playroom) provided breaths of fresh air. Life in the city taught me about diversity, community, and hard work. But seeing sights beyond my neighborhood expanded my horizons and experiences, enabling me to dream bigger than my home life. I can't imagine my life without either experience. Now I try to create those same moments for our son since adopting him from Russia.

Please consider helping the Fresh Air Fund provide life-changing experiences for kids this summer, perhaps even by sharing the view from your window.

About the Fresh Air Fund:
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. For more information, visit

Please note: This is a volunteer post containing my own thoughts and opinions. No compensation or benefits were provided.

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