Summer has started and today’s Feel Good Friday organization has nothing to do with Terry Gross and everything to do with summer activities in New York. Time to learn more about The Fresh Air Fund.
Founded in 1877, yes 146 years ago, The Fresh Air Fund “has provided free life-changing summer experiences in the outdoors to more than 1.8 million children from New York City’s underserved communities.” This 4-minute video, The Power of Fun, gives a great overview of the organization.
The people behind Fresh Air believe that a summer filled with new experiences and new friends can be transformative to the children who participate. Given that 96% of families who participate in the summer programs would recommend them to friends and family, it seems they’re right.
Fresh Air runs several programs for children ages 8 to 18. Sleepaway camps, located on Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, New York, give campers the opportunity to learn to swim, hike wooded trails, and learn about the environment while they explore the outdoors. Participants make new friends, learn new skills and return home with more confidence.
The Friendly Towns program matches children from New York City with volunteer host families who live in small towns, suburban and rural communities along the East Coast. The participants stay with the host families for a week to experience summer activities in different places and gain new perspectives. Many children return to the same family each summer.
There are also enrichment programs offered year-round that provide students with career awareness, support them in applying to and graduating from college, as well as empowerment programs for young women and men. Finally, the website has a page of resources on topics such as health, education, activities for kids, Fresh Air at home activities, Black Lives Matter, and issues relevant to the AAPI community.
If all this talk of summer has made you want to put on some shorts and support The Fresh Air Fund, there are many ways to do so. If you live on the East Coast you can volunteer your time. No matter where you are you can make a donation and spread the word on social media. Follow Fresh Air on Facebook, on Twitter @FreshAirFund and on Instagram @thefreshairfund.