I would like to thank our Fresh Air host families and volunteer leaders in the Blue Ridge area. Because of their dedication and commitment, thousands of children from New York City’s low-income communities participated in our Friendly Towns volunteer host family program this summer.

I am inspired by the heartfelt stories shared by hosts who welcome our children into their homes and community, and the joy and growth it brings to everyone.

Children make new friends and forge relationships that can last a lifetime. We’ve learned that after staying with a host family children are more confident and more comfortable meeting new and different people. Children tell me about their excitement to return to visit with a host family and all the activities ahead.

Our programs would not be possible without the generosity of our Fresh Air host families, supporters, and volunteers in the Blue Ridge area. Our local volunteers, many of whom are also hosts, interview prospective host families, help recruit new families and plan special activities.

I would also like to thank the other individuals and the local businesses who give their time and resources to ensure The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program in the Blue Ridge Area is such a success each year.

Fatima Shama

New York City

Fatima Shama is executive director of The Fresh Air Fund.

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