The not-for-profit organization Fresh Air Fund is something special not only because it is focused on children but because it doesn’t give recipients material things. Instead, it gives children the gift of health – fresh air and clean vision.
The Fresh Air Fund’s philosophy is simple. City children need to breathe fresh air and be in touch with nature. And that is what the fund gives them – a summer of fun in the countryside in camps and host families in 13 states. The program has been going for more than 100 years.
Recently, the Fresh Air Fund initiated, in addition to their summer camps, something new – the gift of clear vision. Together with OneSight, free eye check ups were conducted in the camps each summer.
Q. What exactly is OneSight?
OneSight is a family of charitable vision care programs dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research and education. OneSight gives the gift of sight.For more information, visit www.onesight.org/.
Q. Why isn’t vision loss in children diagnosed early?
A lot of the children who participate in Fresh Air programs simply don’t have access to proper vision care. Not all the children have vision insurance, which means that they cannot afford to visit an optometrist.
Q. Who conducts the eye exams at OneSight?
Doctors conduct the eye exams, they work on a volunteer basis.
Q. How do kids cope with wearing eyeglasses?
The kids love it! They do better in school and in sports when they return back in September to their schools.
Q. What are the other projects that the Fresh Air Fund is involved in?
Our main focus is to provide free summer experiences to NYC children thru volunteer host families and stays at Fresh Air camps. We work year-round to provide the best experience possible!
Q. How can people help the Fresh Air Fund?
We are always looking for donations and volunteers – please check out www.freshair.org to get involved.
- More than 1.7 million NYC children have benefited from their programs since the Fund was established in 1877.
- 3,000 children attend one of the Fund camps each summer.
- 10,000 children visit during the school year to get outside and enjoy our camps and take advantage of facilities like the environmental center, the planetarium, hiking trails, and the overall camp experience.
- 3,295 eye exams were performed in the summer of 2009 by OneSight’s vision van: This included all campers and camp staff.
- 2,300 acres cover the 5 camps, hiking trails, a nature center, woods, ponds, lakes at the Sharpe Reservation in the Hudson Highlands near Fishkill, NY.
- 50 full-time staff members run the Fresh Air Fund plus hundreds of seasonal staff and volunteers in the summer.
Christmas is a time of giving. By giving to charities, we are giving something that doesn’t expire like calendars at the end of the year. We may be giving gifts that can affect somebody for life.
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