When Linda Gorman first found out about The Fresh Air Fund from a co-worker she figured, “why not?” Linda, her husband Brendan, and their children, Mackenzie, 15, and Robby, 13, decided they would open their home to a Fresh Air child, and they haven’t looked back since.
The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency that has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, over 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.
This summer will mark the Gorman’s fifth summer with their Fresh Air child, Isaiah, 15, and they could not be more excited. Isaiah is just like family to the Gormans, which is best seen through the competitive spirit between Isaiah and 13 year-old Robby. The two boys have spent countless hours challenging each other to any sport they can get their hands on. “They get along just like brothers,” Linda explains, “right down to the wrestling and the arguing.” The boys are able to learn from each other too, which Linda thinks is really neat. “Isaiah will come here and see things he has never seen before. But then Robby will also learn things about his home that he would have never known.”
When Isaiah and Robby have exhausted every sport, the Gormans enjoy outings as a whole family. Every summer they visit The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since Isaiah is a huge fan of the sport. Other summers have included trips to Six Flags, Lake Compound, and camping excursions in New Hampshire. “It’s just a nice vacation from the city,” Linda explains. “You don’t have to spend much of anything; it’s all about just being together.”
Some of Isaiah’s favorite activities in Ellington include going to a nearby home to see a horse and a donkey (but never touching), swimming in Crystal Lake, and indulging in some sweets at Dzen’s Garden Market. Every summer Isaiah swears he will try every flavor (there are twenty-four flavors), which always gives Linda a laugh.
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency is always seeking host families to enable as many of New York City children as possibly to benefit from a summer vacation outside of the city. To learn more about become a host family, please call Linda Gorman at 860-872-0703 or visit our website at www.freshair.org.