Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to Maine

6:04 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Whether it's a first foot in the ocean, or the first taste of a wild blueberry, the Fresh Air Fund gives New York City kids a chance to explore Maine's outdoors each summer.

Since 1877, the nonprofit has been bringing inner city children from low-income communities to states such as Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

Kids can stay with host families and enjoy activies such as camping, hiking, and swimming -- experiences they might not have living in New York City.

Gabby Rivera, visiting Maine from the Bronx, has come back seven times.

"In my neighborhood...only sometimes you find kids outside," said Rivera. "Here, you find a lot of kids outside, which is great."

She said she's enjoyed hiking mountains with her host family, and swimming in a lake for the first time.

"I like how [my host family] treats me like family," she said. "They take me in."

For the first year, the Fresh Air Fund has partnered with the Trust for Public Land in Maine.

Director Wolfe Tone said both organizations share a similar mission.

"I do hope this is the beginning," said Tone. "If we're out there conserving land for people, we've got to get people on the land."

A total of 120 kids from New York City will be visiting Maine this summer through the Fresh Air Fund.


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