Giving Back

Local Short Hills Family Gives a New York City Child the Gift of Fresh Air

Catherine and her Fresh Air sister, Caroline, enjoying a day at the lake. Credits: Gaja Papa
Catherine splashing into summer with her Fresh Air brother, George. Credits: Gaja Papa

SHORT HILLS, NJ - This past summer, Kadie Desoe, her husband, Robert, and their three kids from Short Hills, NJ, welcomed eight-year-old Fresh Air child, Catherine, into their home. They created such a tight bond with Catherine that they invited her to visit this past winter break.

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free, enriching summer experiences and academic programs for more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income neighborhoods. Each summer, thousands of Fresh Air children visit suburban, rural, and small town communities along the East Coast and Southern Canada through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program.
 
Over the summer, the Desoes had many special experiences with Catherine. They went to a minor league baseball game, rode horses and learned about animals at a petting zoo. Catherine also enjoyed simple family activities like swimming, riding bikes and playing on their backyard swing set.  

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As Catherine’s summer visit came to an end and it was time to say goodbye, the Desoes decided to contact Catherine’s mother and arrange for her to come back during her winter break. The Desoes traveled to Brooklyn to pick Catherine up, but before heading home they enjoyed lunch with Catherine’s family. After returning to Short Hills, the Desoes had a fun-filled couple of days with Catherine. She enjoyed her time swimming in an indoor pool and even went to a bounce house. Catherine and her Fresh Air siblings had a contest to see who could jump the highest. On their way back to New York City, the Desoes took Catherine to the Liberty Science Center. It was an educational and fun visit for Catherine and her Fresh Air siblings.

The Desoes are excited for this summer. Kadie encourages other families to participate and explains, “Hosting a child over the summer is great because it is a chance for the whole family to gain another perspective on life.” The Fresh Air Fund is always seeking new host families to enable as many New York City children as possible to benefit from a summer experience outside of the city.

To learn more about how to become a host family in Union County, NJ please call Donna Perch at 973-838-2721 or visit www.freshair.org.

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