Volunteer Host Family Program

A host family is…

There is no such thing as a "typical" host family. They live in the suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. They have different types of homes and neighborhoods. Different financial profiles. Some have children of their own, while others don't. What they DO have in common is room in their home and their heart, and a desire to share the simple joys of their communities with a Fresh Air Fund child.
Ask about hosting a child today →

Volunteer communities are…

Volunteer communities, or “Friendly Towns,” are where The Fresh Air Fund’s volunteer host families live, and everyone in these towns is excited to welcome Fresh Air kids to their neighborhoods! In some, groups plan summertime get-togethers. In others, physicians give free medical attention to Fresh Air visitors. Many restaurants, bowling alleys, and other family-oriented facilities provide free entertainment and activities. 

Community support – including media coverage and public service announcements – is invaluable to our success. Inquire about donating time or services to The Fresh Air Fund →

Fresh Air Fund children are…

Fresh Air Fund children are boys and girls, ages six to 18, who live in New York City. The majority are from low-income communities. They typically live in apartment buildings, and are more familiar with busy city blocks than quiet country roads, but the kids who participate in the Host Family program are like any other – they want to play, laugh, make new friends, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life away from the city.

Did You Know?

  • Children on first-time visits are six to 12 years old and stay for one or two weeks.
  • Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18, and may enjoy extended trips.
  • More than 65 percent of all children are re-invited to stay with their host families, year after year.
  • Fresh Air children are registered by more than 90 participating social service and community organizations in the five boroughs of New York City.
  • Host Families may request the age group and gender of the Fresh Air youngster they would like to host.
  • The Fresh Air Fund has a program for placing children who have special physical or emotional needs.
  • The Fresh Air Fund provides transportation for children to and from volunteer communities and will pay any medical expenses not covered by insurance.
  • The Fresh Fund provides liability insurance for hosts and committee volunteers.
  • In every volunteer community, there is a volunteer committee and Chairperson responsible for publicizing the program, screening applications, checking references, interviewing families in their homes, and approving new hosts. Committee members also make follow up visits to all participating host families every three years.