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18 February, 2010

SEVENTEEN: DON MATHIS

IT'S THE AGE OF INVINCIBILITY -
OR SO MY SON WOULD LIKE TO HOPE
BUT THE HARD AND FAST REALITY
IS LIFE IS FRAGILE AND THAT'S NO JOKE.

SOON HE WILL BE IN HIS SENIOR YEAR -
AND I'LL BE A SENIOR CITIZEN.

HE WILL GO EXPLORE FROM FAR TO NEAR -
I'LL BE A NURSING HOME DENIZEN.

THE OLD APRON STRINGS ARE FRAYING THIN.
SOMEDAY SOON THEY (AND HE) WILL BUST FREE.

NEW LIVES FOR US BOTH WILL THEN BEGIN
AND OUR 'US' WILL SPLIT TO 'HIM' AND ME.'


FRESH AIR FUND SEARCHING FOR HOST FAMILIES FOR SUMMER 2010


In 2009, The Fresh Air Fund's Volunteer Host Family program, called Friendly Town, gave close to 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

The Fresh Air Fund relies on donations to provide memorable summers to NYC children.

The Fresh Air Fund needs hosts for the summer of 2010.

More than 65% of all Fresh Air children are reinvited to stay with their host family, year after year.

Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air experiences.

Fresh Air Fund Host Families

"It is rewarding to see the smile on our Fresh Air child's face as she enjoys the simple things we take for granted..."

Friendly Town host families are volunteers who live in the suburbs or small town communities. Host families range in size, ethnicity and background, but share the desire to open their hearts and homes to give city children an experience they will never forget. Hosts say the Fresh Air experience is as enriching for their own families, as it is for the inner-city children. There are no financial requirements for hosting a child. Volunteers may request the age-group and gender of the Fresh Air youngster they would like to host. Stories about real Fresh Air host families and their New York City visitors are just a click away!

Fresh Air Children

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are six to 12 years old and stay for either one or two weeks. Youngsters who are re-invited by the same family may continue with The Fund through age 18, and many enjoy longer summertime visits, year after year. A visit to the home of a warm and loving volunteer host family can make all the difference in the world to an inner-city child. All it takes to create lifelong memories is laughing in the sunshine and making new friends.

The majority of Fresh Air children are from low-income communities. These are often families without the resources to send their children on summer vacations. Most inner-city youngsters grow up in towering apartment buildings without large, open outdoor play spaces. Concrete playgrounds cannot replace the freedom of running barefoot through the grass or riding bikes down country lanes.

Fresh Air children are registered by more than 90 participating social service and community organizations located in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York City. These community-based agencies are in close contact with children in need of summer experiences in rural and suburban areas. Each agency is responsible for registering children for the program.

What do Fresh Air children enjoy?

Playing in the backyard
Laughing in the sunshine
Catching fireflies
Riding bicycles

Learning to swim
Running barefoot through the grass
Gazing at the stars on moonlit nights
Building sandcastles
Making new friends
Simple pleasures of life away from the inner-city


You can give a child the experience of alifetime with your gift to The Fresh Air Fund!

Every year, The Fresh Air Fund gives thousands of inner-city children the priceless gift of fun – and opens the door to a lifetime of opportunities.

Whether it's a two-week trip to visit a volunteer host family, or a fun-filled and educational stay at one of our camps, our programs make for unforgettable memories – and open a world of new friendships and fresh possibilities.

Want to know more? Visit the Fresh Air Fund's website at http://freshairfundhosts.com or call (800) 367-0003!



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