The summer months hold little in the way of constructive outdoor fun for New York City children from disadvantaged communities. “Many spend a lot of time cooped up in apartments without the liberty to play outside because of the dangers the city streets present,” says Anne Umbrecht, chairperson for the Main Line chapter of the Fresh Air Fund.
Every year, the fund coordinates trips for thousands of kids aged 6-18. For one or two weeks a summer, they visit host families on the East Coast, where they ride bikes, learn to swim, participate in ice-skating and soccer clinics, and stay busy with other fun activities.
Main Liner Susie Valerio has hosted the same child for three years. “Our whole family can be involved in giving back,” says Valerio, adding that the program “is all about forming friendships that hopefully last forever.”
Though the Fresh Air Fund has been around since 1877, local participation has grown from 20 families to nearly 100 in the past five years.
To learn more, visit freshair.org.