18-year-old from Bronx, New York
Alexis, age 18, is a former Fresh Air child who visited the Reed Family in New Canaan, Connecticut for eight years. He stays in very close touch with the Reeds. Alexis says, “The Fresh Air Fund took me out of my New York City neighborhood and placed me in a larger world. My Fresh Air family taught me how important school is and where it can take you. I received a full scholarship to Middlebury College, and I am majoring in Biology and French. My ultimate goal is to become a doctor. My perspective on life and success has changed tremendously, and I think my host family has learned from me as well. There is no question that The Fresh Air Fund has been much more than just a place to go in the summer."
Diane and Michael Ringler
from Loretto, Pennsylvania
Diane and Michael Ringler’s family of Loretto, Pennsylvania has been hosting Melissa, age 12, of Brooklyn, since 2009. The Ringlers’ only daughter, Kayla, age 13, and Melissa have grown up together during their summer adventures. Diane says, “Melissa’s arrival is the highlight of the summer for our family. For Kayla, her Fresh Air sister’s arrival is like Christmas in July!”
13-year-old from Queens, New York
Tshetrim, age 13, lives with his family in Corona, Queens and emigrated from Bhutan when he was very young. His parents registered him for The Fund’s Career Awareness Program in the 7th grade, and he attended Camp Mariah.
“My goal for participating in tutoring was to get better grades, but the program actually ended up helping me build my confidence. My tutor helped me study for the Regents exams, and I passed with flying colors! When we have school presentations, I don’t get as nervous anymore, and I speak loudly. My tutor really changed my life.”
Volunteer Hosts Jaime Carter and Ed Houck
from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Jaime Carter, her husband Ed Houck, and their four sons live in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and have hosted Andre, age 12, of the Bronx for the past five years. Jaime remembers the first time she and her sons met their Fresh Air child. She says, “I was so nervous before Andre got off the bus, worrying about how this would work out, but by the end of the car ride home, I had tears in my eyes. Andre was reading to my sons in the back seat, and right off the bat, they all connected. I knew this was going to work incredibly well, and it has. Now Andre is part of our family!”
Volunteer Hosts Karen Pirozzi and David Guistina
from Voorheesville, New York
Karen Pirozzi and her husband David Guistina of Voorheesville, NY have hosted 17-year-old Sierra from the Bronx since 2005. Karen and Sierra enjoy doing the same things every summer to continue their traditions. “It seems like the simple things are the activities that Sierra remembers the most. She likes to go to the drive-in and visit Saratoga to go on the carousel. Now she wants to visit these same favorite places every time she is here,” Karen says. “Our family has gained as much from the Friendly Towns Program as Sierra. It is a really good contribution that we can make to someone’s life. When she tells us that she would not have these experiences without us, it makes us feel great that we can share them with her.”
from New York, New York
For the past three summers, volunteer Kimberly McFerron, Group Fitness Manager at Equinox in New York City, has visited a Fresh Air camp to teach campers about fitness. “We have led Zumba classes, taught Yoga and Pilates, set up obstacle courses, arranged relay races and football drills. Our goal is to provide well-rounded ideas about different fitness programs that appeal to the campers."
“We have a lot of interaction with them and really see their passion unfold. We always take time for a question and answer session about how we got into fitness, what our jobs are like and give them guidelines about ways to pursue our career. It's cool to connect with the children. And by the end of our visit, we have a shared bond with the kids and create our own team spirit. We look forward to our days at camp all year long!"