You can enjoy a picture-perfect summer this year by inviting a Fresh Air child into your home. Close to 5,000 New York City children visit volunteer host families every summer through The Fund's Friendly Town program in communities from Virginia to Maine and into Canada. Hosting a child does not take much -- just a little room in your heart and your home -- but the experience creates friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

"A child taking a walk in the grass barefoot, gazing at the stars, being outdoors and enjoying a slower pace -- that's what it's all about," said one host parent about the Fresh Air experience.

Residents in and around the area can help light up the face of a Fresh Air child this summer by hosting through The Fresh Air Fund. Since 1877, New York City children growing up in low-income neighborhoods have been able to experience simple summer pleasures in rural and suburban communities. By welcoming visitors into their homes during the summer, host families give Fresh Air children an opportunity to escape the sometimes dangerous, hot and crowded city streets. First-time Fresh Air children are between the ages of six and 12. Many families find their hosting experiences so rewarding that more than 65 percent of all children are reinvited to stay with the same host families, year after year.

For more information on hosting a Fresh Air child, contact Yvette Eenkema van Dijk at 203-655-2226 or The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003 or visit The Fund's website at www.freshair.org.

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