Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer enrichment experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged, hardscrabble communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in rural and suburban communities in 13 NorthEastern states and Canada, through the Friendly Town Program or attend one of five Fresh Air Fund camps.
The Fresh Air Fund was created with one simple mission — to allow children living in disadvantaged communities to get away from hot, noisy city streets and enjoy free summer experiences in the country.
When The Fund began, New York City was overflowing with poor children living in crowded tenements. Many of these youngsters were hit by a tuberculosis epidemic, and “fresh air” was considered a cure for respiratory ailments.
More than 130 years ago, the Reverend Willard Parsons, a minister of a small, rural parish in Sherman, Pennsylvania, asked members of his congregation to provide country vacations as volunteer host families for New York City’s neediest children. This was the beginning of The Fresh Air Fund. By 1881, the work of The Fund was expanding so rapidly that Reverend Parsons asked for and secured support from The New York Tribune. By 1888, The Fund was incorporated as “The Tribune Fresh Air Fund Aid Society.” Today, Fresh Air continues to benefit from the support of the media with invaluable assistance from The New York Times.
The Fresh Air Fund provides transportation for children to and from Friendly Towns and arranges for payment of any medical expenses for children without insurance. The Fund also provides liability insurance for hosts and committee volunteers.
The Fund also works closely with 90 New York City social service and community organizations to register Fresh Air children.
In addition to the Friendly Town program, The Fund has five camps in upstate New York where 3,000 inner-city children enjoy free vacations each summer. The Fresh Air Fund also runs year-round programs to help New York City youngsters.
♫ ❝I Can See Clearly Now....❞ ♫This past summer, OneSight reached out to The Fresh Air Fund and helped over 3,000 New York City children with a traveling optical clinic. OneSight was able to screen all Fresh Air campers and if necessary, provided free glasses to anyone who needed them.
One out of four school children in the U.S. has vision problems, and 86% do not get their vision checked before age 12.
Many Fresh Air children do not have access to affordable vision care. Glasses break, are too expensive to replace, or are never prescribed in the first place. And often as a result, children's performance in academics, sports and activities suffers.
For the fifth summer in a row, OneSight offered to bring their traveling optical clinic to all five Fresh Air Fund camps.
Together with OneSight's Vision Vans – and a team of local doctors and volunteers, OneSight provides free eye exams and eyewear to thousands of children in need each year.
This summer at Fresh Air camp, OneSight's staff screened 3,295 children and counselors, gave 1,757 eye exams, and made 1,629 pairs of glasses, with 1,458 of them on-site and 171 specially driven in. The team stayed at Camp Hayden-Marks for two camp sessions, to make sure every child who needed the gift of sight was screened.
Although you might think some children would be reluctant to be prescribed glasses, most of them are delighted. They've been missing out on the world around them for too long. (Being able to pick out their own frames helps, too.)
We thank OneSight and you, for helping inner-city children receive the services they need.
Continued public support of The Fresh Air Fund enables the organization to partner with other organizations like OneSight to provide free eye exams and eyewear to the children who need them each year.Please consider contributing to The Fresh Air Fund in some way, every little bit helps and goes a long way in making a difference in a child's life.
Fresh Air Fund Host FamiliesThere is no such thing as a "typical" host family. If you have room in your home - and your heart - to host a child, you could be one too.If you enjoy working with children and want to improve their lives through learning and co-curricular activities, The Fresh Air Fund might be the right choice for you. The Fresh Air Fund offers numerous opportunities for young people to get involved with helping children from low-income families living in the New York City area. If you possess a love of children and an interest in providing emotional growth and learning experiences for them on a daily basis, The Fresh Air Fund offers an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these children. You can give a child the experience of a lifetime with your gift to The Fresh Air Fund!
"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!
Click here to learn more about becoming a host or call (800) 367-0003!
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*I was not compensated in any way for this post. The opinions expressed herein are my own and are based on my deepest respect regarding the programs and advocacy that The Fresh Air Fund provides on behalf of our nation's children, and future world leaders*