The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

August 17, 2009

My Turn: Fresh Air Fund opens doors to new worlds

This week’s “My turn” column is by Darlene Pondolfino, regional chairwoman with the Fresh Air Fund.



Ever hear of the Fresh Air Fund? It’s a New York City nonprofit organization that sends inner-city kids to the country every summer.



I got involved for three reasons: my two sons and daughter. I wanted them to experience another world, and the program is a wonderful way for children to meet kids with backgrounds and lives far different from their own.



In the beginning, as every potential host family does, we went through a background check, interview and home inspection. Going through these approval steps built anticipation among my children, especially my daughter, as our choice (every family submits one) to receive a girl was confirmed.



On her arrival day, via bus from New York City, we joined other host families at Neahwa Park to greet the kids. Some were returning to families who had hosted them before. Others, like our 6-year old Chandara, were first-timers.



She stepped off the bus with a smile so big it melted our hearts. Her two weeks with us flew by and the stories we still tell today, 12 years later, are priceless.



Even our daily routines were a change for Chandara. Being in a car was something new to her, as her usual means of transportation were subways and buses.



One afternoon while driving down Interstate 88, Chandara decided to check if the car door was locked. I quickly assured her that the door was locked and that she was safe, convincing her to never open a moving car door again.



Each night we had dinner together as a family, played, relaxed and went to bed. And every morning Chandara would wake up and come running into my bed.



All was well until Saturday morning, when she came to join me and suddenly stopped to ask my husband why he was there with me.

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio

Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column
Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson

Rick Brockway
Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Helium
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service
Poll

Are your taxes going to be done on time?

Yes, they're all finished
I should make it in under the wire
No, I'm late
No, I'm filing an extension
I'm not filing a tax return
     View Results