This November, many Vineyard families are thankful for something special: the gift of friendship with a New York city child. Through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Town program, Island families open their hearts and homes to host inner-city children for up to two weeks during the summer.

One child enthused that during her visit, “I went horseback riding for the first time even though I was scared. Now I love it, like swimming in a lake!”

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York city children from low-income communities.

For details on hosting a Fresh Air child next summer, please contact Cheryll Sashin at 508-693-0542 or The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003. You can also visit the Web site at