The Fresh Air Fund’s current and prospective host families of Westchester
County for a Host Information Session
“It’s good for the family. It’s good for the child. It’s as simple as that,” Christie Derrico, of Mamaroneck, will tell you of The Fresh Air Fund. Derrico, her husband, and four children have been hosting their Fresh Air child, Ateira, 13, for the past three summers, and this summer will be no different.
The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency that has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, over 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.
As an active member of her community, Derrico and fellow community members have been searching for ways to integrate new people into their neighborhood. Derrico knew The Fresh Air Fund would be the perfect opportunity. Not only does The Fresh Air Fund assist in developing connections among the community, but more importantly, it gives New York City children summers full of fresh air and fun, an experience that the Fresh Air children may not otherwise have.
Derrico finds that hosting a Fresh Air child “is a great situation that really forces your hand.” Since Ateira’s first arrival in 2011, the Derrico family has gone on more adventures in the past three years than they have in the fifteen years prior. Some exciting excursions included a gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain, Ateira’s first time on horseback in Vermont, and family site-seeing in Montreal.
While Derrico is always prepared for new adventures with Ateira and the rest of the family, this summer, Derrico is most looking forward to simply spending more time with her Fresh Air daughter. “She is such a pleasure to have here; she fits in with no issues.” Derrico praises of Ateira. Seeing Ateira seamlessly integrate into her family is one of Derrico’s greatest joys in life.
For more information on The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program, join Westchester County’s current and prospective host families on April 3rd from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Mamaroneck Public Library, at 153 Library Lane (entrance through the Emelin Theater). Local host families will share their experiences hosting New York City children and the significance of opening your heart and home to a Fresh Air child. Light refreshments will be served. You can also contact Martha Mintzer at 203-226-6627 or visit www.freshair.org for more information on The Fresh Air Fund.