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Open Your Heart And Home To A Fresh Air Child, New Canaan

Fresh Air child Melissa (left), of Brooklyn, has been visiting Kayla Ringler (right) and her family since 2009. "It’s a great experience. As a host family, we have learned just as much as Melissa takes back with her," Diane Ringler said.
Fresh Air child Melissa (left), of Brooklyn, has been visiting Kayla Ringler (right) and her family since 2009. "It’s a great experience. As a host family, we have learned just as much as Melissa takes back with her," Diane Ringler said. Photo Credit: Diane Ringler

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- New Canaan families can make this Valentine’s Day extra special and give the gift of friendship with a "Fresh Air child." Nearly 4,000 New York City kids get the chance to visit suburban, rural and small town communities along the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine and Canada each summer.

Kids get this change through the Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program. New Canaan residents are welcome to join volunteer host families in the Southwest Coast area who open their hearts and homes to New York City children.

"These are experiences that Esmen will remember for the rest of his life. We hope to be a part of his life for years to come," said Fresh Air host parent Christine.

Participating kids are boys and girls, from 7-18 years old, from New York City. Children on first-time visits are 7-12 years old and stay for one or two weeks. Children who are re-invited by host families may continue with in the program through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips.

Many families find hosting so rewarding that most of the kids are invited to visit the same host families year after year.

The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, nonprofit agency that's provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.

For more information about hosting a Fresh Air child this summer, call Nicole Heath at 203-829-8196 or visit the Fresh Air Fund's website. You can also donate to the program here.

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