Posted: Tuesday Apr 9, 2013
April 9, 2013
Saint Vincent College junior finance major Andrew Razanauskas of Zelienople was 13-years-old the first time his family hosted a Fresh Air child.
“My mom found out all of the information about the program, and we made a decision as a family after talking about it. Ever since then it has never been question that we would host,” he commented.
The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency that has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, more than 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.
Razanauskas reflects on summertime memories with his Fresh Air siblings throughout the years; the family hosts multiple Fresh Air children each summer. One of the family’s Fresh Air children, Adrian from the Bronx, has been visiting Andrew’s family for five years. Razanauskas recalls how he and his siblings would spend their summer going to the pool or playing basketball with their New York City visitors. “We just did normal kid things that brothers and sisters would do,” he explained.
Swimming together each summer was an experience that stuck out to Razanauskas. “My mom had everyone who visited us go through swimming lessons. Not many of them had swum before. The kids really enjoyed it and they got really good,” he said.
The Razanauskas family stays in touch with their Fresh Air children throughout the year. “Adrian and my brother talk all the time, and they met up when my mom took my sister to New York for her birthday,” he said. “And recently, my mom just got a letter from one of our former Fresh Air kids, Qeni, who plans on coming back next year.”
Even though Razanauskas spent the last summer away from home, he tries to visit home while the Fresh Air kids are there. Last summer, the bus arrival for Fresh Air children visiting the area was in Latrobe, so Andrew was able to see Adrian when his family was there picking him up. He is looking forward to seeing Adrian when they come back this summer.
Razanauskas encourages anyone to consider hosting a Fresh Air child. “Think about the difference you are making in these kids who don’t get this experience every day,” he said.
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, is always seeking host families to enable as many New York City children as possible to benefit from a summer experience outside of the city. Further information is available by contacting Diane Reintgen at 724-537-9488 or www.freshair.org.
Photo: Andrew Razanauskas, left, and Fresh Air child Adrian, right, enjoy holding up Andrew’s sister , Maura, at a picnic at Moraine State Park, in August 2012.
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