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Fresh Air Fund Gives Kids Summer Experience In NEPA

August 9, 2018

Fresh Air Fund Gives Kids Summer Experience In NEPA

LEHMAN TWP. — For the third year in a row, the outdoor experiences of Northeast Pennsylvania have been part of Josie Li’s summer. Josie, 11, of Brooklyn, has spent a week each summer with the Steele family of Lehman Twp. They connected through The Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit organization that brings children from New York City to host families outside of the city. She’s gone swimming and fishing, ran around outside and visited Knoebels Amusement Resort. “We sit around the campfire, listen to the peepers at night and Mother Nature. That type of stuff,” said host mom Richelle Steele. She learned about the organization through a Facebook advertisement and decided to try it. The organization began in 1877 with the mission of allowing children living in low-income communities to enjoy free summer experiences in the country. A Pennsylvania minister organized the first trips for the fledgling organization, which brought children to Northeast Pennsylvania. The Steeles have five children of their own from ages 1 to 16. The program has been a great opportunity for the Steele children to meet a kid from another place and enjoy spending time with her. “My favorite thing has been just hanging out with them and their many pets,” Li said. That includes a dog, a guinea pig and three cats roaming the Steele house. The Steeles plan to take Josie horseback riding for the first time on this visit. She’ll also celebrate her 12th birthday during her week. “I used to be really shy the first year coming here, but over the three years I’ve been here, I’ve learned not to be shy,” Li said. Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com570-821-2051, @CVBillW

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