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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
Are_grits_groceries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 05:06 AM
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Escape and Support
Brandon Jose Mendoza will start graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh this fall, studying for his masters degree in public administration. After he graduates, he wants to do economic-development work in urban areas. He knows about tough times and how the right help can change a life.

Mr. Mendoza grew up in a rough section of Brooklyn with a mother who has been battling a drug addiction all his life. Starting when he was 6 years old, he and his brother, Miguel, found an escape. For two weeks every summer they would go on a family stay in Cape Cod, Mass., arranged by the Fresh Air Fund. Our Fresh Air family wasnt our only positive influence in life, but it was a huge influence, Mr. Mendoza said. It reminded us that there are other things out there.

When Mr. Mendoza was 13, his life took a terrible turn. His brother, only 14, was killed in a fight. Brandons Fresh Air family, the McKnights, were there for him. I can still remember the conversation, Mr. Mendoza said. They wanted me to come live with them. He chose to move in with his father in Pennsylvania instead, but he returned to the McKnights every summer after that. Mr. Mendoza, now 23, still thinks of them as his family.

The Fresh Air Fund hopes to reach 10,000 New York City children this year. Half of those young people will stay with host families, 3,000 will go to Fresh Air Fund camps and 2,000 will take part in year-round programs. A two-week family stay, like Mr. Mendozas, costs almost $1,000. Sending a child to camp costs about $1,500. The fund hopes to raise $10.9 million by the end of September.

Donations can be sent to The Fresh Air Fund, 633 Third Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10017, or made online at freshair.org. Families who wish to be hosts can write to the same address or call (800) 367-0003.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/opinion/04sat4.html?r...

Good on them! :toast:
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