Here's how you can change a life without having to leave home, but by opening up your home to one child this summer.

In 2010, The Fresh Air Fund's Volunteer Host Family program, called Friendly Town, gave close to 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

If you live in the region mentioned above and would like to give a child an opportunity to live a different life for one summer, please sign up by going here: Host a Child.

Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air experiences.

My Plea:

Summertime a long awaited vacation for most of us growing up, but children in tough neighborhoods with absentee parents who work over 12 hours a day experiences a much different summer than us. Some of them will never know what it feels like to go fishing, run in an open field, pick honey suckles, step into a creek, sit in a hammock or read a book under a tree. They are left idle and to play alone in these bad city neighborhoods, and we all know that idleness can lead to trouble. I won't bring up statistics, but you all know very well that these children when left to their own devices end up as delinquents or in gangs. I believe the Fresh Air Fund gives these children an opportunity to see the world in as a much friendlier place and build relationship with a family who will love them and look after them like their own. That kind of love and tenderness is priceless, and once you instill a new and positive point of view into a child, it is very hard to shake. 

If you have some free time, visit their website to learn more about them and if you are unable to host, maybe you can make a donation of $5.