Faces of Fresh Air
Learn more about the impact our programs have had on our participants, and how The Fresh Air Fund has helped lead to their success.
Fourteen-year-old, George, from the Bronx, is in The Fresh Air Fund’s Career Awareness Program where he has grown as a person, student, and friend. He received a community spirit award from his school, and credits Camp Mariah and the Career Awareness Program with helping him achieve it. “The Fresh Air Fund is full of supportive people that you can trust and who you can rely on. In turn, they can trust you because they see something special in all of us.” ⠀
This past summer, Devin, age 9, visited the Inthanongsak family in Upstate New York for the second time. Devin says he likes to visit his host family because, “there’s lots of grass and I can see the stars at night.” He describes what he’s learned from his host family: "Don’t ever be afraid to try new things!” ⠀
The Dykstra family, of Manchester, CT, hosted 10-year old Emani for the third summer this past July. Host mom, Erinn Dykstra, says “Having Emani stay with us each summer has brought us closer together as a family. It's hard to explain, but by opening our home and ourselves, it has been rewarding to see our girls and Emani enjoy new places and activities. It has also helped us to enjoy and cherish our time together and the importance of family.”⠀
Hendrick remembers how nervous he was to attend Camp Tommy when he was a camper, but he had such a great experience that he returned as a counselor last summer. Hendrick reflects on his transition from being a camper to a counselor: “Being a counselor brings out the best in you, and you get to be such an important leader for the kids. You can also really see the positive change in campers from the day they arrive to the day they leave. I’ve seen kids come to camp that are really quiet at first, but after the first few days they get more comfortable. They go from being shy, to really excited to participate and have fun with everyone.”⠀
Isabel Perez has five children who have all participated in The Fresh Air Fund’s programs. Isabel shared, “because of The Fresh Air Fund, my children feel like the world belongs to them. I have twin daughters who attended camp for years. My son loves camp, and my 11-year-old daughter currently visits the Kauffman family in Mahaffey, PA where she loves swimming, fishing and kayaking. I’m proud to provide this opportunity for my children.”⠀
Former Fresh Air child and newest Fresh Air Fund Board Member, June Ambrose, said visiting a volunteer host family in Nunda, New York for two years as a child was a life-changing experience. She said, "I was a dreamer, and The Fresh Air Fund helped me to realize that dream. Fresh Air taught me to step outside the comfort zone of my own neighborhood and to explore my life outside the walls of the Lambert Houses in the Bronx. My host family didn't have a lot, but they had enough to share and embraced me into their family. During my summer visits, there were no color lines. There were no socioeconomic lines. They taught me the meaning of wealth is what you do, not what you own. The experience felt very simple and honest. They loved me, and I loved them back. Above all else, my host family taught me the value of sharing."