WESTON, Conn. The Fresh Air Fund started in 1877 when the Rev. Willard Parsons, a Pennsylvania minister, asked his congregation to provide country vacations for New York Citys neediest children.
Today, 14 families from Weston and Easton are opening their homes to New York children for one- to two-week stays that are part of the Fresh Air Funds 136th season.
Westons Martha Mintzer, a fund representative who oversees activities in Weston, Easton, Fairfield and Westport, where 60 kids will enjoy stays this summer, invited host families and Fresh Air Fund kids to her home July 13. The kids swam in the pool, played basketball and enjoyed homemade tacos, while the parents chatted about their experience.
Westons Kendall Webb, who has hosted Kayla, an 11-year-old from the Bronx for four summers, said, I love doing this, its like adopting a child. I visit her in New York, talk on the phone with her and her mom and mentor her as a second mom. During her stay with the Webbs, Kayla attends Camp Mahackeno, enjoys swimming, tennis and biking and shares rooms with the Webbs' three children.
Alison Hong from Easton opened her home to Isaiah, a 7½-year-old boy from Queens. He went to the Easton Community Center camp, went swimming after camp and we went to the Tods Point Greenwich beach hike, she said. Isaiah shares a room with Hongs son, Alexander, who is also 7 ½. The two played basketball together at the Mintzers party.
Mintzer hosts Estrella, 9 and Genesis, 11, sisters from the Bronx. They go to camp, play with the dog, love to swim and were going to Cape Cod next week, she said.
The Mintzer family has been hosting Fresh Air Fund kids for the past six years. Weve done it since we moved to Weston. My family did it when I was a girl, and its nice to have my own house and do it, she said. Its nice to see the smiles on their faces and we get as much out of it as they do. We learn to appreciate what we have through their eyes.
The Fresh Air Funds goal is to host 4,100 kids this summer, and it seeks additional host families. Visit www.freshair.org for details.
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