From July 15 to 29, visiting 9-year-old Zsakaiyah Lowrey of Bronx, N.Y. is planning to experience all that the local community has to offer when a host family from Middletown welcomes her back for the fouth year. The trip is sponsored by the non-profit Fresh Air Fund.


    Sometimes, 9-year-old Dasia English just wants to play with a friend she can relate to. When her older brothers Javez and Jamir are playing basketball or football at the local playground or field, the typical boy-girl differences separates them.

    For the fourth straight summer, that companionship will arrive via chartered bus and enjoy two weeks in Middletown. Dasia’s family is part of The Fresh Air Fund program that links inner-city kids with suburban and rural households to experience a far different way of life.

    From July 15 to 29, visiting 9-year-old Zsakaiyah Lowrey of Bronx, N.Y. is planning to experience all that the local community has to offer. And Dasia now has a special friend to pal around with.

    “I don’t have a sister and it’s fun to play with her,” said Dasia, who will be a fourth-grader at Brick Mill Elementary School this fall. “We both play with dolls and kind of stick together.”

    A stop at the annual St. Joseph Parish carnival in Middletown is always a must, and the English family has ventured to Ocean City, Md. for the beach and Williamsburg, Va. to experience the Great Wolf Lodge.

    Mostly though, just being a part of suburbia is enough. One of the favorite things for Zsakaiyah is running through the water sprinkler in the families’ Estates at Dove Run grassy yard. That’s just not possible in New York City.

    “The different environment is what makes everything a pleasure for Zsakaiyah,” said dad Maurrell English, who grew up in Syracuse, N.Y. and Philadelphia before relocating to Middletown. “She goes from fast-paced and crowded to a little more relaxed and spacious.”

    The non-profit Fresh Air Fund was created in 1877 by the Reverand Willard Parsons, who asked his parish members in Sherman, Pa. to provide country vacations as volunteer host families from New York City tenements. In 2010, nearly 10,000 New York City children took part in the program with families and via summer camp in upstate New York.