Fresh Air from Merritton To New York would like to introduce a story by Wendy Haywood. Wendy is a long time resident of Merritton who, along with her husband Robert, is still living and raising a family in the Merritton area. Currently Wendy is a spokesperson for the Fresh Air Fund and she is a wonderful example of how someone from our area is having an impact locally and globally. Here is Wendy's story:

Share The Beauty Of Niagara With An Inner-City Child.

My name is Wendy Haywood and I am a chairperson/host for the Fresh Air Fund. Currently we are seeking volunteer host families who would love to open their homes and their hearts to a New York City child this summer.

The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency that was started in 1877 and has provided more than 1.7 million inner-city children the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures that Friendly Towns have to offer. This includes exposure to the abundant natural areas we have here in Niagara that we, as local residents, take for granted but children in New York City do not have the same opportunity to enjoy. Thousands of Fresh Air Children join volunteer host families in 13 Northeastern States and Canada, allowing them to escape the heat and the noise of busy streets for simple pleasures as small as running barefoot through the grass or gazing up at the stars at night. Again, things we take for granted here but things these children cannot always experience in the city where they live.

My family, which includes my husband Robert, and sons: Ethan 8 years old and Owen 4 years old, host a boy named DJ Burrell from Queens, New York. DJ was 12-years old the first year he came to stay with us in 2009. He is now 14-years old and will be spending his 3rd summer with us this coming July. DJ is now considered a part of our family and we look forward to having him every year! Last summer I witnessed a very special moment between my son, Ethan, and DJ. They were both sitting on the couch and DJ had braids in his hair. Ethan looked up at DJ, and asked him while twisting his curly hair “do you think I can get my hair done like that?" I could see the look of admiration on Ethan’s face as he asked and that brotherly connection is just one of many reasons we love having DJ stay with us.

This summer marks 135 years of fun, friendships, and lasting memories! There are many kids who would love the opportunity to see and enjoy all that Niagara has to offer! Please considered being a host.

Summer 2011 Trip Dates are:

July 06-July 19
July 12-July 19
July 12-July 26
Aug 09-Aug 18

To learn more about hosting a Fresh Air child this summer, please visit or call 1-800-367-0003.