Norfolk residents, Mark and Mary Williamson, have opened their hearts and home to Robert, age 17, of Manhattan, through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program since 2009. Mark and Mary first learned about The Fund through their neighbors. Mary said, “I wanted to help a child have for a week or two in the summer. Our neighbors had a good experience as a host family and I wanted our children to be exposed to different experiences.”
The Williamsons are so excited to welcome Robert back on August 1st for his 10th annual visit.
With this year being Robert’s tenth visit, Mary said when he was younger, Robert loved catching frogs at the pond, going to the aquarium and zoo, and swimming at the beach and the pool. Now, Robert has become fully involved with life in Norfolk with the Williamson family. Robert and Paul (as well as all of the brothers) get along really well. Mary said, “Robert has gotten to know Paul's friends over the years, and they have become Robert's friends too. Robert now communicates as much with Paul's friends via texting and social media as he does with Paul. Our experience and Robert's experience has been greatly enhanced because of our community of friends who enjoy Robert's company too.”
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, thousands of children visit volunteer host families along the East Coast and Southern Canada and at The Fund’s five overnight camps in Fishkill, New York. Fresh Air children also participate in year-round leadership and educational programs.
To learn more about how to become a host family in Norfolk, please call Diane Cardner at 774-315-8047 or visit www.freshair.org.