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Fund Offers a Bit of Fresh Air

Last week, Jevon Lowry did something different. He went to Stamford, visited with the Fleischer family and took in the atmosphere.

"We went apple picking on Monday, which he had never done," said Regan Allan, mom to the brood of four kids with whom Jevon spent time throughout the week. They observed marine life at an aquarium, tumbled pins at a bowling alley and hung out at the Italian Center, among other activities.

It was a breath of fresh air for 10-year-old Jevon, who lives in the Bronx, N.Y., and found himself ensconced in Stamford via the Fresh Air Fund, an organization that offers rural and suburban experiences to urban youths.

Jevon, who prefers being called "J," is the second child the family hosted this summer. They also welcomed a 7-year-old boy in July. The youngsters enjoy "just the simple things," Allan said.

J had participated in the Fresh Air Fund program previously, staying with a couple without children. But he seemed to enjoy it more this time around because he had plenty of companions near his age. The Fleischer kids are 12, 9, 6 and 3.

Headquartered in New York City, the Fresh Air Fund gives children from the city a chance to experience a kind of summer camp. The fund provides transportation and any needed medical expenses for the child, and liability insurance for the host family.

As Allan said, activities don't have to be elaborate. The fund suggests that pastimes such as riding bicycles, learning to swim, catching fireflies or making new friends are enjoyable and memorable for Fresh Air Fund youngsters.

"They always need more [host] families every year," said Allan, adding that the most important eligibility requirements are "if you have a bed and you have a heart."

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