The following was submitted to Hillsborough Patch by The Fresh Air Fund:
Lying out by the pool, hearing birds in the morning, catching a few waves at the beach–these were things that Elaine and Michael Ferrara didn’t want to go unnoticed for their son. It was when Elaine spoke to local volunteer about The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Family Host Program that she had decided this would be a good way to show these simple summertime pleasures to her son. This will be the fifth summer the Ferrara family opens their home in Hillsborough to Dreavantez, and they are counting down the days until his return.
The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency that has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, over 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.
The first summer the Ferraras met Dreavantez, they learned that this smiley boy from the Bronx had a passion for animals.
“I remember the first year when I was driving home and we saw deer, Dre’ kept saying ‘Oh my gosh – wildlife!’”
His passion for animals has sparked his desire to become veterinarian. After learning that wolves are his favorite animal, Elaine has taken Dre’ to the Wolf Conservation Center to continue his interest in helping conserve these animals.
If the trips to the Wolf Conservation Center were not the highlight of Dre’s summer, the beach is. Even though Dre’ hasn’t learned how to swim, that hasn’t stopped him from riding in the waves with his boogie board they gave him. Happy to have gotten involved with The Fresh Air Fund Elaine says, “Fresh Air Children are just so happy to have something different. They’re looking for companionship and to experience in a different place.”
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, is always seeking host families to enable as many New York City children as possible to benefit from a summer experience outside of the city. To learn more about how to become a host family in Hillsborough, please contact Jody Berkowitz, the local volunteer leader for the Somerset County area, at 908-359-0509 or visit The Fresh Air Fund online at www.freshair.org.