Fresh Air Fund brings Summer Spaces program to Jackson Heights

Fresh Air Fund Jackson Heights
92nd Street and 34th Avenue, Fresh Air Fund, Open Spaces, summer 2022. (Photo by Matthew Pritchard)

In this urban jungle of New York City, it can be difficult to find safe, traffic-free spaces to play. But The Fresh Air Fund has made this a reality for many children across Queens and other boroughs.

The Fresh Air Fund is a renowned local nonprofit youth organization founded in 1877, and is dedicated to serving the needs of New York City children. The Fresh Air Summer Spaces program in Jackson Heights allows children to have fun in safe outdoor spaces.

Fresh Air Fund Jackson Heights
The Fresh Air Fund, Open Spaces, 92nd Street and 34th Avenue, summer 2022 (Photo by Matthew Pritchard)

“Through a network of incredible partners and the generosity of our supporters, children served by The Fresh Air Fund learn new skills and gain new perspectives. The fund is committed to providing New York City children with the opportunities, exposure and empowerment that will help them succeed long after their summer experience has ended,” said Lisa Gitelson, CEO of The Fresh Air Fund.

Children from ages 5 to 12 will be able to partake in supervised rotating activity stations, such as arts and crafts, STEM activities and obstacle courses.

“I come to Summer Spaces with my sister and our neighbor. We got to play tic-tac-toe together and we decorated our own water bottles. I have made a really great new friend here, and our counselors, Carlos and Taure, are so nice and they always help us with anything we need,” 6-year-old Valentina said.

Fresh Air Fund Jackson Heights
Valentina, 6 (Photo by Matthew Pritchard)

According to The Fresh Air Fund, its program has been a life-changing experience for many children, allowing them to bond with others their age and with their counselors, and deepening their understanding of themselves and their community.

“This is my first time at Summer Spaces. I love doing art, so it was really fun to be able to make these pins,” 11-year-old Eileen said.

Fresh Air Fund Jackson Heights
Eileen, 11 (Photo by Katie Borrazzo)

Fresh Air Fund activity specialist Carlos participated in the program growing up and is now in his third year working with the nonprofit. The volunteer said that he had “so many amazing opportunities” and is grateful he is able to “give back to the organization that gave me so much.”

“During my time here, I’ve seen campers grow. Last year, there was a girl named Angie and she came back this year. She used to be very shy, but she tried out volleyball here and realized how good she was at it and how much support she got from her teammates when she played, and she made so many friends through it. Now she wants to join her school’s team, and I am so happy for her.”

Fresh Air Fund Jackson Heights
Carlos, a Fresh Air Fund volunteer (Photo by Katie Borrazzo)

Fresh Air Summer Spaces runs from July 5 to Aug. 12. However, opening and closing dates may vary by area. The program runs for two sessions. The first session finished on July 22, but session 2 will begin on July 26. There are three weeklong sessions, with a morning time slot from 9 to 11:45 a.m. and an afternoon slot from 1:15 to 4 p.m.

The Queens location will be at 34th Avenue from 92nd Street to 93rd Street, Jackson Heights.

The dates for session 2 are:

  • Tuesday, July 26 – Friday, July 29
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2 – Friday, Aug. 5
  • Tuesday, Aug. 9 – Friday, Aug. 12

There will also be limited daily drop-in spots. All participants and staff are required to be fully vaccinated. An application will not move forward without proof of vaccination. Masks are not required at Summer Spaces.

For more information and to sign up, visit The Fresh Air Fund’s website.

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