A couple weeks ago I was contacted by someone from the Fresh Air Fund. FAF, 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.
I was contacted because 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." Participating children are often from 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.
This program's purpose tugs at me because I live here--in beautiful Tennessee on purpose. A few weeks ago, I walked onto my porch and accidentally scared away a deer who had been eating less than ten feet away. I regularly see wild turkey, bunnies and numerous wildlife right here at my own home, and I don't live in the mountains. Some of my favorite memories as a child are of running freely with my dog through the woods and creeks near my home.
Unfortunately, however, Tennessee is not on their list, so I can't be a host, but the Fresh Air representative was hoping I could still spread the word about their efforts and need for host families. If you know of someone who could host and lives in the areas below, let them know about the program.
For more information, visit their site.