Nearly 150 years ago, a pastor in a rural northeastern Pennsylvania community stood before his congregation and asked his parishioners if they would open not only their hearts but also their homes to children from the city.

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From that plea was born the Fresh Air Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit that has, to date, allowed 1.8 million city children to spend their summer in rural and suburban areas of their state during the summer months.

As summer approaches, the Fresh Air Fund is once again looking for families in Upstate New York who might be interested in opening their doors for a child between the ages of eight and 14 to spend a week enjoying time outdoors playing in the yard, riding bikes, swimming, catching fireflies, gazing at the stars, and making memories that they won't ever forget.

Host families must live within three hours of New York City and families should have at least one child that lives in the home and a bed for the host child to sleep in. There are, of course, background checks and a small amount of training, but there is no cost to the family to be a Fresh Air Fund host. COVID-19 vaccinations are not required, although they are recommended.

Lisa Gitelson, The Fund’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Volunteer host families can create lifelong connections, gain new perspectives, and make memories that will last a lifetime."

If you're interested in learning more about The Fresh Air Fund’s host volunteer program and how you can open your heart and your home to a child from New York City, please visit or call 1-800-367-0003.

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