Jennifer and Bernard D’Orazio, who split their time between Delhi and New York City, became a host family for the Fresh Air Fund for the first time this year and won an award in the organization’s annual photography contest.
The Fresh Air Fund is a nonprofit organization that coordinates host families in rural areas with children from low-income communities living in New York City for free week-long summer exchanges, giving children the opportunity to experience life outside of the city that they might not otherwise have.
The organization, started in 1877, has provided the experience to more than 1.8 million kids.
There are a couple thousand host families exist are in 14 states and parts of southern Canada, according to officials at the organization.
The photo won in the “Summer Sisters” category.
Eight-year-olds Peyton and Ava, both from Brooklyn, are not actually sisters, but Jennifer said they shared so much in common, down to the same bathing suits, that they got along like sisters.
The girls spent a week with the family, doing typical rural summer activities such as hiking, barbecues, canoeing, visiting the county fair. They took them on an old-fashioned railroad ride and an alpaca farm.
“There was lots of laughing and general mischief,” Bernard said. “The girls were very high-spirited and a lot of fun for us.”
When asked if they were surprised at the acknowledgment from the organization, they said “no” with a laugh. Bernard referred to Jennifer as an “Instagram Queen.”
“With the backdrop of Delaware County, it was quite easy to get great shots,” Jennifer said.
According to a statement released from the organization, “The photos capture the fun-filled experiences our volunteer host families shared with Fresh Air children this past summer.”
“It was a lot of fun,” Jennifer said. “We didn’t know what to expect.”
Host families undergo a rigorous application process before being accepted into the program. Jennifer said that Bernard had been donating for years before they took the next step. During the process they decided to host two children instead of one.
“It was an amazing experience and definitely the highlight of the summer,” Bernard said. “One of the best things we have ever done.”
For more information about the organization and becoming a host family, visit freshair.org
Whitney Bashaw, staff writer, can be reached at 607-441-7218 or email@example.com . Follow her on Twitter @DS_WhitneyB .