Fresh Air Fund Seeks Families

Program Brings City Kids To The Valley Each Year

Posted: May 31, 2014

HARRISONBURG — The Shenandoah Valley offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, but inner-city kids in places like New York City don’t always have the chance to experience them.

That’s why the Fresh Air Fund is looking for more families to welcome low-income children from the Big Apple into their homes this summer to show them the simple Valley pleasures many local residents may take for granted.

“We don’t realize how much fun something as simple as playing in the backyard with your shoes off can be, to a child who’s never been able to walk out their back door and walk into a yard,” said Julie Lohr, a local representative of Fresh Air. “They’re always seeing pavement and gravel and concrete.”

At least 20 to 30 new families are needed for this summer. Families will host children for 10 days starting June 30 or seven days starting July 29. Host families are asked to show visiting children the simple things, like going on hikes, making s’mores on the patio, catching lightning bugs in the backyard, or showing kids stars they may have never seen amid the heavy light pollution in the city.

“Those kinds of things are life-changing for these kids who have seen nothing but smog and concrete all their lives,” Lohr said.

It can be particularly rewarding for hosts, especially empty-nesters whose children have all moved away, she added.

For questions or to get involved, contact Jane Shumway at 740-9440 or visit The Fresh Air Fund at .

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or

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