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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Host families needed for Fresh Air Fund visitors

Published 12:28 pm, Saturday, April 12, 2014
  • Cameron and Alex Hill of New Canaan with Fresh Air Fund participant Nekia Bland. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed / New Canaan News Contributed
    Cameron and Alex Hill of New Canaan with Fresh Air Fund participant Nekia Bland. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed

 

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The Fresh Air Fund is looking for New Canaan families to host children this summer.

Fresh Air Fund information sessions will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, April 28, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the New Canaan Library's Plaut Room.

The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Through its Friendly Town Program, volunteer host families welcome inner-city children aged 6 to 12 for one- to two-week visits.

New Canaan has a long history of involvement. In 2013, 14 families hosted 15 children; eight of the families were first-time hosts.

The Hills were one of those first-timers.

In late 2012, Lisa and James Hill read an article about a New Canaan family that hosted a child through the Fresh Air Fund for nine years. Becoming a host family was something the Hills had discussed many times over the years. Given their boys would be ages 10 and 4 by summer 2013, the Hills thought the time was right to give the program a try.

Contacting and meeting with Teri Reed, the local Fresh Air Fund chairman, they discovered she was the host family mother they had read about in the article and asked her many questions about the program.

In early June, the Hills were notified that 8-year-old Nekia Bland, of Brooklyn, N.Y., would be staying with them. The Hills opted to pick up Nekia at the Fresh Air Fund office in New York City where they were greeted by his parents.

Nekia spent 10 days with the Hills and enjoyed a Fourth of July picnic at Irwin Park, fireworks at Waveny Park, swim lessons at Waveny Pool, visits to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, the Stamford Nature Center, Lake Compounce and many hours of playtime at home.

The highlight of his visit was an overnight on the Hills' boat -- something he had never done before.

The Hills are looking forward to having Nekia back this summer.

For additional information, contact Reed at 203-972-9199 or treed04@gmail.com.