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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Sara from Fresh Air wrote to me last week; they’re already gearing up for a wonderful summer and host families are needed. That’s a little hard to believe during an ice storm, but hey? What better time to think about family fun and summer than in the middle of an ice storm?

In case you haven’t seen a post on the Fresh Air Fund Programs before, they’re a charitable organization focused on getting urban children the opportunity to spend part of the summer with rural families. If a strong connection is made, the children can opt to return to that same host family in subsequent summers. The Fresh Air Fund also operates a summer camp and gets eyeglasses for kids and oh! They have a half-marathon every year.

One fact that continues to impress and amaze me is that the group has been in operation since 1877. Here’s a video about one boy who was part of the program.

Here’s the official summary of what the Fresh Air Fund does:

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

If you live in the Eastern US, you can be a host family and change a child’s life forever. The rest of us can blog about it and spread the word, and also make donations to help fund the mission.

It’s a good mission.

Earnest Parenting: helping kids experience fresh air.