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The things we take for granted mean the most to a Fresh Air child

CROWN POINT The little things mean the most to Fresh Air children. Going to a beach, seeing stars at night, Marion Sullivan said. Thats the kind of stuff a child doesnt get to do in New York City. They spend a lot of time in their apartment or on the sidewalk near their home. Sullivan is working with Leslie Anderson of Crown Point and Becky Manley of Port Henry to find homes in the area for Fresh Air children this summer. Anderson and Manley are Essex County Fresh Air co-chairwomen. Sullivan, who lives in Vermont but works in Crown Point, is former chairwoman. The Fresh Air program matches New York City children ages 6-18 with upstate families for a one- or two-week visit during the summer. The program has been in place 132 years. All thats needed is a lot of love; thats the main requirement, Anderson said. The program is open to anyone with a place in their heart for a New York City child. Sullivan explained families must apply and be interviewed, but the process is just a formality. Host families receive no financial compensation, but the Fresh Air program makes certain each visiting child has liability and medical insurance. Host families can select the age and gender of visiting children, which allows for families to arrange for visitors with similar interests to their own children. Last summer Manley hosted four New York City children. I think you (host families) get as much out of the program as the children do, Manley said. It gave my kids someone to play with and something to do. I think it helps your own kids appreciate things a little more, too. Anderson also hosted a child last summer. It was hard to say good-bye, she said. The program is very successful, Sullivan noted. Many host families develop strong bonds with the children, she said, and have them back year-after-year. About 65 percent return each year to the same family, she said. Sullivan said there are currently nine area families involved with the Fresh Air program. More are needed. Kids are registering in greater numbers than ever before, Sullivan said. We always need homes for kids. People interested in the Fresh Air program can call Anderson at 597-4127, Manley at 546-3131 or Sullivan at 597-9595 or go online at www.freshair.org

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