June 07, 2019 Category: Our Impact Our Programs

Friendly Towns Host Families Help Kids Say “I Do” to New Experiences

Fresh Air Alum, Brandon, now 27, never forgot the four wonderful summers he spent with the Kaminoff family through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns program. “I first visited the Kaminoffs when I was 8,” remembers Brandon. “It was a whole new experience for me…it was so great. I learned how to swim and rock climb at the Kaminoff’s. I remember feeling so accomplished!”

Brandon with the Kaminoff family during one of his stays through The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns program

After his family moved away from New York City, he lost touch with his host family until they reconnected on social media nearly a decade later. “I was in tears when my host sister messaged me on social media,” said Brandon. “It was one of the best days of my life. It’s so awesome for them to be a part of my family again.”

Despite how much time had passed, Brandon and the Kaminoffs picked up right where they left off, and they are now closer than ever. Brandon and his Friendly Towns mom Andrea share many fond memories of the summers they spent together. “The first time I saw Brandon coming off the bus, he had the biggest smile,” recalls Andrea.

It was with the Kaminoff family where Brandon learned to say, “I do” to new activities like swimming and rock climbing. And more recently, Brandon’s Friendly Towns Family helped him with an even bigger “I do.”

“When Brandon and his now wife announced their engagement to us, we offered to host the wedding on our property,” said Andrea. “I was so excited when they accepted and I helped throughout the whole process. The wedding was just amazing!”

Brandon with his Friendly Towns host dad and brother in addition to his own son on his wedding day

Brandon’s relationship with the Kaminoffs continues to grow stronger.

“My Fresh Air experience has changed not only my life, but my family’s life as well,” said Brandon. “The first time the Kaminoffs met my son, the love he got was unbelievable.”

“Brandon is part of our family,” says Andrea. “He is my son…my children’s brother…and I consider his son to be my first grandson.”

With your help, more kids from New York City’s low-income communities can say, “I do,” to new experiences. Donate to The Fresh Air Fund today.