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Volunteers From Greenwich Attend Fresh Air Fund Conference In NYC

Local volunteer leaders Lisa Braden-Harder, left, and Nicole Heath attended the annual Friendly Towns Leadership Conference in New York City from Feb. 5-7.
Local volunteer leaders Lisa Braden-Harder, left, and Nicole Heath attended the annual Friendly Towns Leadership Conference in New York City from Feb. 5-7. Photo Credit: Jerry Speier

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Southwest Coast volunteer committee from Fairfield County attended The Fresh Air Fund’s annual Friendly Towns Leadership Conference last month at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square in New York City

During the three days, volunteers from Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Norwalk participated in interactive workshops with The Fresh Air Fund’s full-time staff and community agency partners. The volunteers learned how to support their Friendly Towns communities, received data management training, communicated with New York City agency partners that register the program’s children and attended various training sessions, such as public relations and social media.

Former Fresh Air child Darryl Rattray, the associate commissioner for Community Centers and Strategic Partnerships at the Department of Youth and Community Development in New York City, gave the keynote speech.

Rattray shared with the 250 volunteers in attendance how The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program greatly impacted his life. The closing ceremony included a celebration of longtime volunteer leader and host parent Patty LeRoy for her 50 years of dedicated volunteerism to The Fresh Air Fund.

LeRoy was reunited with her former Fresh Air child, Donnalese, as well as her current Fresh Air child, Krystie.

“What an inspirational weekend at The Fresh Air Fund’s annual Friendly Towns Leadership Conference!" said Eva Lennon, a volunteer from Harleysville, Pa. "Meeting the Fresh Air staff, hearing many amazing stories from former and current participants, learning how to grow the program and re-energizing us to kick off the new season! Only five months till the first buses arrive!”

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.

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, ages 7-18, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are 7-12 and stay for one or two weeks. Children who are re-invited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips.

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