Two busloads of New York City kids arrived in Morris Township just in time for July Fourth festivities “in the country.”
For the next week or two, these youngsters, who range from age 6 to 18, will trade scorching streets and concrete canyons for barefoot romps in the grass and unobstructed views of the stars, courtesy of the Fresh Air Fund’s Northern New Jersey Committee
Host families greeted 45 youths on Thursday at the Annunciation Center of the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township.
Some of the guests are forging new friendships. Others have visited the same families for years.
Aaron Simon of Harding Township waited patiently on Thursday with his sister Mia and their mom for 8-year-old David from New York.
“We became best friends last year,” David said.
Photos by Marie Pfeifer.
Colorful balloons and posters welcomed the guests.
Jennifer Baxter, a volunteer from Mountain Lakes, and her son Harry welcomed 13-year-old Jahairah as their guest. Jennifer has been hosting children for years.
“We hosted a girl from the time she was 10 years old until she aged out. This is the fourth year we are hosting Jahairah. I enjoyed hosting so much that I began volunteering,” she said.
Stephanie Holmes’ 10-year-old son, Aqili , enthusiastically greeted 7-year old Chris as their guest.
“This is our first time hosting a child,” Stephanie said. Asked what he wants to do during his stay, Chris replied: “Just playing and hanging out with Aqili.”
The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, nonprofit agency that has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.
Each summer, more than 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small-town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada, through the Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program.