• Fatima Shama on NBC NY Visiones

    Register your child for a program, sign up to be a volunteer host family, or make twice the impact on Fresh Air children!

    Fatima Shama, Executive Director of The Fresh Air Fund, and Aracelis Lucero, Executive Director of Masa, sat down with Lynda Baquero for Weekend Today NBC New York Visiones to discuss our partnership with Masa and how parents can register their children for our free, safe, and fun Fresh Air summer programs.

    You can watch the interview here.

  • Make twice the impact on Fresh Air children!

    Every dollar you give will double to have twice the impact.


    For 140 summers, The Fresh Air Fund has helped New York City children from low-income communities experience the joy, excitement, and adventure of a summer in the outdoors. Today, you can help us continue to provide life-changing experiences by supporting our very special $140,000 Matching Gift Challenge.

    Our Board of Directors will match every gift, up to $140,000, made before the first day of camp: June 29th. That means that your $21 gift will provide two bus tickets to camp or your $50 gift will stock two boxes of art supplies. And your extra-generous gift of $91 will give two kids healthy meals for a week!

  • From counselor to camp director!


    Katie Toole, Director of The Fresh Air Fund's Camp Hayden-Marks and Year-Round Program Coordinator, started working as a counselor in 2009. Over the past seven years, she's seen firsthand how our campers benefit from the Fresh Air experience. Katie shared with us how The Fresh Air Fund impacts kids all year long, through enriching summer and school-year programs.

    Q. Tell us about your experience as a camp counselor and now a camp director.
    A. Seven years ago, I became a general counselor at Camp Hayden-Marks. The camp directors told me that The Fresh Air Fund changed their lives, and they were right! After my first summer, I knew The Fresh Air Fund was a very special place. I have had the opportunity to watch both the kids and staff grow. My first campers are graduating high school this year!

    Q. What is a typical school year weekend like?
    A. Campers arrive on Friday night and they are excited to be reunited with their counselors from the summer. It's like a big slumber party. The kids share stories of their summer experiences, enjoy exploring the camp grounds, and there are a lot of opportunities for campers to connect with the counselors. For example, we teach them how to prepare breakfast. It is really cute seeing campers try to make eggs for 45 people for the first time!

    Q. How do you see children benefit from their camp experiences?
    A. Before attending Fresh Air camp or our year round programs, many children haven't spent time in the outdoors. We teach them life skills. It has been incredible to watch the campers grow into confident, responsible and independent young adults. I truly believe that the activities at camp such as hiking, the ropes course, swimming and other team building activities help shape who they are. Kids often arrive at camp nervous and shy, but once they step out of their comfort zone – they flourish!

    Make this a summer to remember and work at one of our five sleepaway camps! Apply now

    Your support has a tremendous impact! Read more stories like Katie's and check out our Annual Report to see the difference you make.

  • The Fresh Air Fund Rings the Nasdaq Closing Bell!

    WOW! What an incredible day spent with our friends Nasdaq MarketSite!

    Fatima Shama, Executive Director, rang the Closing Bell today along with two Fresh Air campers and students in our College Connections Program, Jalilah and Okheem, along with College Connections Program Coordinator, Michael Mudho, and Fresh Air Fund Board Member and Vice President, LizAnn Eisen.

    THANK YOU to everyone at Nasdaq who made today possible - we are so grateful for your support!

    (Photos by Courtney Rung)




  • Summer Camp Jobs Fair


  • 27th Annual Career Fair

    Our 27th Annual Career Fair, which was on March 5, 2016, was a HUGE success! Career Awareness Program students took part in career workshops that were led by incredible volunteers. The children learned about architecture, fashion styling, law, social media marketing, and more!

    The event wouldn't have been possible without the support of our generous host Con Edison, our inspiring volunteers, and our dedicated staff. Thank you to everyone! 

    Learn more about this event.

  • Help us reach our goal!

    The moment a child steps onto the bus to Fresh Air camp, their life is changed forever. It's the start of an amazing journey that opens doors for thousands of children from New York City's low-income communities. 

    Please join us in kicking off the Countdown to Summer by helping us reach our $225,000 goal. 

    Your gift of $21 will provide a round-trip bus ticket to camp and will send a child on their way to a summer full of new experiences and adventures.

    Whether learning to swim, building a campfire for the first time or climbing to new heights on the ropes course, a Fresh Air summer gives a child a new perspective. It gives them an opportunity to make friends, develop confidence, and learn skills which will last a lifetime.

    A child's Fresh Air journey begins with you. Your gift will give a child the chance to reach their full potential.


  • Volunteer Mentor Inspires NYC Kids

    Mike Hiney, a volunteer mentor in The Fresh Air Fund's College Connections Program shared his experiences with us and just how critical the program is in helping New York City kids prepare for college.

    "It's been a real transformation. I remember first seeing my mentees when they were juniors in high school and they were so overwhelmed with all the requirements for college, PSAT, SAT, college application essays and financial aid forms. Now, you can see they have gained confidence. They also may have started off thinking they wanted to go to a specific school, or declare a specific major, but they are now fully exploring what's available to them at college. They've become much more self-aware and are maturing right before your eyes. They are much more independent and they are doing really great work. I couldn't be prouder. At the College Connections Program Reunion Brunch for the college students home from school, you could see how many students had left the city and have gone outside their comfort zones. It's impressive to see that these students have been able to branch out so far and still will always consider The Fresh Air Fund home."

    A New York City child's journey through The Fresh Air Fund can begin with your help


  • 14th Annual Sugar Maple Celebration

    Join us on March 18, 2017 from 10am - 4pm at Sharpe Reservation for our 14th Annual Sugar Maple Celebration! 

  • Celebrate #CampTShirtDay

    Today is "International Wear your Summer Camp T-Shirt Day" and we want you - our incredible camp staff - to celebrate with us!

    It's easy...

    Take a selfie in your favorite Fresh Air Fund camp shirt, include your favorite camp memory and share it on social media using #CampTShirtDay #FreshAirFund on your social media accounts. 

    Our talented camp staff help provide eye-opening and enriching experiences for thousands of New York City children each summer. Are you interested in joining us for summer 2016? Learn more.

  • Cabot Creamery Farm Event

    This summer has been incredible for a number of reasons...and we've been especially lucky to partner with Cabot Creamer Cooperative! Our new friends at Cabot Creamery have joined us for our 139th summer and have a number of ways to support our amazing volunteers.

    On July 27, 2015, Mark and Tamma Duffy hosted a group of volunteer host families and their New York City visitors at their beautiful dairy farm, Great Brook Farm located in Carlisle, MA. After a hands-on tour of the farm and getting to pet the adorable animals, families and children were treated to delicious Mac n' Cheese provided by Cabot's Gratitude Grille, as well as ice cream for dessert! 

    The evening was absolutely spectacular and everyone left inspired, informed and truly impacted by the wonderful work of the Duffys, The Cabot Gratitude Grille, the Cabot Farmers, and all those at Cabot Creamery. It was definitely an evening to remember and our hearts have been warmed thanks to this wonderful new friendship. Thank you to all involved for making this possible for our families and children! We're so grateful. 


    Cabot Creamery Cooperative has been in continuous operation in Vermont since 1919, and makes a full line of cheeses, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and butter. Widely known as makers of “The World’s Best Cheddar,” Cabot is owned by the 1200 dairy farm families of Agri-Mark, the Northeast’s premier dairy cooperative, with farms located throughout New England and upstate New York. Cabot Creamery Cooperative is the world’s first cheese maker and dairy cooperative to achieve B Corporation Certification, a validation of its attention to environmental and social impacts on stakeholders.



  • Annual Volunteer Host Family Photo Contest

  • Fatima A. Shama Named Executive Director of The Fresh Air Fund

    The Fresh Air Fund today announced that Fatima A. Shama will succeed Jenny Morgenthau as Executive Director of The Fund effective July 15, 2015.

    William P. Lauder, Chairman of The Fund's Board, thanked Jenny Morgenthau for her years of commitment to The Fund, saying, "During her 32-year tenure Jenny continually strengthened The Fund’s mission and expanded its reach and influence to thousands of New York City children. Jenny leaves some very big shoes to fill, and she will be sorely missed.” In welcoming Ms. Shama, Mr. Lauder stated, “We look forward to the enthusiasm, deep expertise and commitment to community that Fatima will bring to this role.”

    Ms. Shama is currently Vice President of Strategic Development and External Affairs at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. Prior to this role, Ms. Shama was the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, a position she held for almost four-and-a-half years. As part of Ms. Shama’s tremendous work as Commissioner, she created Blueprints for Immigrant Integration, an intricate how-to guide put together to help other cities around the world enhance their local immigrant integration efforts through shared successful practices and highlight the immense positive impact immigrants can have on their communities. Prior to that, she served in various positions in Mayor Bloomberg’s administration involving policy roles within education, healthcare and literacy.

    “Fatima is deeply committed to public service, and she excelled at every position she held over her eight years in our administration," said Michael R. Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City. "Whether she was working to improve healthcare access for limited English proficient New Yorkers, or to increase parental engagement in our schools, or to develop new ways to serve immigrant New Yorkers - and the programs she developed as our Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs became a national model - she never stopped thinking of how to better the lives of New Yorkers. The Fresh Air Fund is lucky to have Fatima as its new Executive Director.”

    Ms. Shama said, "I am grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that has had such a positive impact on generations of New York City children from low-income communities. As a lifelong New Yorker, I've long admired The Fund’s dynamic work and its committed board, and I look forward to advancing The Fresh Air Fund’s mission of providing unforgettable experiences that expand the development, outlook and imagination of children throughout our City.”

    John Irwin, President of The Fund’s Board and a member of the search committee said, “We believe Fatima will continue and expand the important work of The Fund, particularly its year-round educational and career programs. Fatima has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to helping the populations served by The Fresh Air Fund and understands how to design programs to meet the challenges they face.”

    “Working with Fatima I learned first-hand that when it comes to New York City’s kids, Fatima is a fierce advocate and creative thinker for opportunities and enhancing the lives of the kids and families in our City,” said Dennis Walcott, former Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education, and former Deputy Mayor for the City of New York.

    Board member and member of the search committee, David Perpich said, “The Fresh Air Fund has been helping change lives for close to 140 years and with Fatima’s unique blend of leadership, vision and deep understanding of New York City’s communities, we believe she will help position the organization for another 140 years of impact. I am excited to be part of the organization as Fatima leads us forward.”

    Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Ms. Shama was the Executive Director of the Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition. Ms. Shama earned a BA from Binghamton University and a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs Executive Program. Born and raised in the Bronx, Ms. Shama is the daughter of a Brazilian mother and a Palestinian father, and speaks six languages.

  • Registration open for Fresh Air summers

    We're excited to countdown to summer at the Lutheran Family Support Center Family Fun Festival Saturday, May 16th! Join us and register your child for a Fresh Air Fund summer experience. 

  • 'Fresh Outlooks From a Summer Getaway'

    We're so grateful for this morning's wonderful Editorial in The New York Times on Ricky Cruz, a former Fresh Fund Air participant.

    Pictured, Ricky Cruz (Karsten Moran for The New York Times)


  • Your Support Counts


    "In the Bronx, all you see are airplanes and streetlights…no stars. At camp, I see the stars every night," said a 10-year-old Fresh Air camper. 

    Your support can make a difference in the lives of thousands of New York City children.

    Since 1877, more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities have benefitted from free summer experiences in the country. Last year, close to 9,000 boys and girls visited the homes of volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada, enjoyed Fresh Air camps in upstate New York or participated in year-round educational programs at camp and in New York City.

  • 12 Days of Giving

    We’re honored to have been chosen by the General Assembly as one of the 12 organizations they’re working with that are changing the world.

    During their 12 Days of Giving campaign, we're given the chance to win $10,000 to continue giving our New York City children summers filled with running barefoot through the grass, gazing at star-filled skies, catching fireflies at night or swimming for the first time.

    Your vote can help us provide these life-changing experiences, where each day is an exploration of nature and a celebration of summer. We appreciate your support. 

    Vote for us here →


  • Celebrate #GivingTuesday with us!

    Fresh Air summers are filled with children running barefoot through the grass, gazing at star-filled skies, catching fireflies at night or swimming for the first time. For 138 years, The Fresh Air Fund has given New York City children these life-changing experiences, where each day is an exploration of nature and a celebration of summer.

    Join us on #GivingTuesday on December 2, 2014 - a global day dedicated to giving back – and help make these experiences possible for our Fresh Air children. Charities, businesses, communities, and generous supporters around the world will come together with one common goal: to celebrate the generosity of the season and to give.

    Since 1877, more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities have benefitted from free summer experiences in the country through our programs, which provide children with the pure joy of carefree summer days with volunteer host families or at summer camps in upstate New York. Year-round programs offer adolescents support for educational and career goals.

    Give the gift of summer to Fresh Air Fund children →

    Learn about #GivingTuesday →


  • Host a Child this Summer

    Fresh Air summers are filled with children running barefoot through the grass and gazing at star-filled skies. This summer, we'll celebrate our 138th summer of serving New York City children and what better way to kick off the season than with a brand new host recruitment video? Thank you to Greener Media for creating this beautiful and inspiring recruitment tool. 

  • A Fresh Air Fund Thanksgiving Visit!

    Mary Daly, her husband Robert, and their two children, Matthew, 9 going on 10, Rachel, 19, and Kevin, 23, opened their hearts and home to Zi Bin, of Brooklyn, for the first time this past August, taking part in the simple joys of summer together at their suburban Morris County area home. The Dalys recently welcomed Zi Bin to their home for Thanksgiving, sharing the joys of their community with him during the off-season.

    Zi Bin had met some of the Daly’s extended family during his summer visit, but eight cousins eagerly waited to meet him at Mary’s sister’s house over Thanksgiving. “Zi Bin’s family dropped him off at our house Thanksgiving morning and we left for my sister’s house in Dutchess County, NY. The children played toy cars, air hockey, and video games. Zi Bin met so many new people that day,” recalls Mary. The rest of the weekend was spent at the Dalys New Jersey home watching movies, and making snow globes and rubber band bracelets.

    “We love The Fresh Air Fund and want others to be involved. Zi Bin was able to enjoy so many new things during his two visits. We would like to host again this summer and keep in touch throughout the year with our new friend.”

  • Give the Gift of Summer to New York City Children this Holiday Season

    Celebrate #GivingTuesday with The Fresh Air Fund this holiday season!

    Aniyah felt the cool strands of grass beneath her feet, soared to new heights on the swings with her Fresh Air brother Christian, and splashed in the salty water at the beach. “Christian saw how much enjoyment Aniyah had from all her new experiences and he too became interested in his swing set that he had never played on. And, he even overcame his fear of water! With Aniyah by his side, Christian started to go further into the ocean at the beach. It brought tears to my eyes watching Aniyah enjoy herself and watching my son learn from her. I couldn’t get her off of the swings or inside no matter how hard I tried! She just loved running barefoot in our yard and being outside,” says Fresh Air host Mia.

  • Open your Heart and Home this Summer and Watch Something Amazing Happen

    “It's simple.  It's easy.  You'll be amazed how quickly you can fall in love with these children,” says Jennifer Kreutz-Casto, of Lancaster, NY, whose family has been hosting through The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program since 2010. “We have changed and gained more from these kids than I could have imagined. Just the sight of all my children – Fresh Air kids included – playing and laughing like they've known each other forever... it's amazing.”

    We are thrilled that Jennifer has taken on the role of Assistant Fund Representative for the Western New York area and joined our amazing volunteer leaders as they recruit dedicated families to host Fresh Air children this summer.

    “All the children want is to hang out and swim or play with the grass under their feet. I look forward to spreading the word and sharing my experiences about The Fresh Air Fund,” says Jennifer, who is so grateful to the person who mentioned it to her family.  “I remember just thinking: 10 days?  We can do that.  I'm glad we did.”

  • Valesan's Fresh Air Christmas

    “David, my stepson Dalton and I waited until Valesan arrived to cut down our Christmas tree this year,” says Jayne Cahill, of Woolwich, ME. Jayne and David Cahill have been opening their hearts and home to 14-year-old Valesan since 2007 through The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program.

    On Saturday, December 22nd, 2012, Jayne, David, Dalton and Valesan went to Green Acre Christmas Tree Farm in Edgecome. “It was just before dark and - as if Mother Nature knew this was a special adventure - it started to snow lightly adding just the right amount of magic to the moment,” Jayne said. “Like most New York children, Valesan was very concerned about his sneakers getting dirty. I always get a chuckle at that.” Valesan and David found the perfect spruce, and after a little instruction and a lot of laughter Valesan cut down his first Christmas tree.

    The following morning Valesan and Dalton did the honors of decorating the tree together as David and Jayne watched. “Dalton has always been great with Valesan, very patient and kind. When Dalton left for college in Florida, we took Valesan with us. It was a huge life moment for Dalton, and it was special that he so willingly shared that with Valesan too,” recalled Jayne.

    The day before Valesan left to go back to New York City, Maine experienced a large snowstorm. “Valesan had never been sledding, so that night - with flashlights in hand - we all went to the local golf course and he had his first sledding experience! He loved it!” said Jayne. “It was really wonderful to have us all together this Christmas, and after spending six summers with us, Valesan is just another member of the family.”

  • Brandon Mendoza's Fresh Air Journey

    We were thrilled to find out that Brandon Mendoza, a former Fresh Air child, and Jacinta Mendoza celebrated their wedding on October 20th, 2012 with their friends and family, including Brandon’s Fresh Air host family, the McKnights.

    Kandy and Robert McKnight, of Falmouth, MA, first opened their hearts and home to Brandon in 1993, a tradition that lasted through The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program until 1999 but hasn’t wavered since.

    When Brandon was five-years-old, he was living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, NY with his mother and two brothers. The following year, Brandon and his family moved to an apartment in Far Rockaway, NY and his mother signed him and his brother Miguel up for The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program. “I was six-years-old and remember waiting at The Port Authority Bus Station seeing all of the young teenagers and adults helping and getting things organized for the children and their families. I remember thinking, ‘I wonder where they get these people?’ the chaperones were so nice and there were a lot of kids from our school on the bus ride to Cape Cod, MA,” Brandon recalls.

    Upon arriving in Cape Cod that very first summer, Brandon and Miguel saw a woman waiting for them – Kandy McKnight. “I had no idea where Cape Cod was, but I was convinced that there were bears lurking in the woods, and as Kandy announced that we were almost home, Miguel announced he felt homesick. Well, I quickly learned that he meant car sick. I knew that we were off to a great start.” Homesickness faded and the week flew by. “That summer was by far the most memorable one in my life,” says Brandon. “Every day was filled with activities. Kandy’s family treated us as if we were always there. Now, they are still in my life as family.”

    Prior to The Fresh Air Fund, Brandon dealt with one hurdle after another. Between moving multiple times and personal family problems, Brandon could always rely on the McKnights: “The one constant and stable thing in my life has been my Fresh Air family.”

    After graduating Lock Haven University in May 2008, Brandon went on to pursue a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), Urban & Regional Affairs, Public & Nonprofit Management degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He now works for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development., whose mission is to continue to grow the Pittsburgh, PA Region's economy.

    Brandon overcame many obstacles throughout his 26 years of life and continuously celebrates the importance of our programs in his accomplishments: “The Fresh Air Fund is an organization of opportunity, growth, education and hope,” remarks Brandon. “I want to recognize my former Fresh Air family. I say former, as now they are just my family. We have celebrated life’s moments together for over 20 years and over that time I morphed from a visitor into a brother. Kandy opened her home and her family to me. She taught me love, self-respect, the importance of an education, and even how to do my laundry and run a vacuum every once in a while. To her, I say thank you. What you call a summer vacation is so much more to so many.”

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