I grew up in Barnardsville, NC, a little, little town west of Asheville in the backwoods mountains. How little was it? Well, the house across from the volunteer fire dept burnt down before they could all get there to help, because everyone lived out in the mountains. The post office, grocery store, one diner, one school and skate rink were all on the main road, which was also the only paved road when we first moved to the area from Texas.
We had gineas, goats, horses, cows, chickens. We even had one chicken that got steped on by one of the goats and I was able to help my Dad try to brace the leg. Chicken hobbled forever. I got to drink goat's milk and eat fresh, free range eggs (and yes, amazinly, how the chickens are raised does make the egg taste better!)
I also got to play in a creek, and sometimes salamanders would come out of our faucet because we had a fresh spring that we got our water from. It was a really cool way to grow up, though I did miss not having any kids or friends that lived nearby.
My husband and I now own a home near Raleigh, NC, which is not a little little town, but we were lucky enough to find a great home with a large size lot against the woods in a little area south of Raleigh. We have a rodeo, yet shopping is nearby. We can see the starts for miles at night, yet there are neighborhood kids for them to playwith.
I can't have chickens for fresh eggs, but I'm not really missing the rooster waking me up at 5am. We are pretty lucky, and I am so glad my kids will be able to someday camp out in the back yard, roast marshmellows, and look at the stars.
So, when I came across The Fresh Air Fund, it definatly pulled a string on my heart. I have never lived in the inner city, but living for the last year in an apt in Alabama can make me relate a little. There is not a yard to play in, and unless we go to the park, there are not any outdoor toys, trees, or climbing gyms for my kids. Which is OK, because we do have parks nearby, and someday we will be back home, where we have swings, and trees, leaf piles, and, oh yea, the sky full of stars. But I realize now, how there are so many city kids that may have never seen a sky full of stars.
The Fresh Air Fund is a charity where you can sign up as a host family for an inner city kid of New York City's toughest neighborhods, and invite them to come out to stay with you so they can experience the fresh air of country or small community living. Or, if you happen to live in the inner city of New York, you can sign your kids up for a Fresh Air Camp.
The only draw back to hosting is that you have to live in one of these states, which I don't, which does make me a little sad. Howevier, if you still want to help, the Fresh Air Fund actually covers all travel costs for the children that get the Fresh Air Vacations, so they are always in need of donations to help fund transportation for the children from the city to the host family, so there are great ways to help, even if you can't actually bring a child to your backyard to watch the stars.