Southern Erie volunteers attend Friendly Towns Leadership Conference

Photo by Grace Finlayson Local volunteer leaders, from left, Laura-Ann Morris and Christine Tedesco attended the annual Friendly Towns Leadership Conference in New York City.

The Southern Erie volunteer committee recently attended The Fresh Air Fund’s annual Friendly Towns Leadership Conference at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Over the course of three days, volunteers participated in interactive workshops with The Fresh Air Fund’s staff and community agency partners. Volunteers attended professional development workshops throughout the conference, with topics ranging from children’s safety, to empathy and diversity, to community engagement.

Former Fresh Air child, Inspector Ernest Morales, Commanding Officer of the 42nd Precinct in The Bronx, delivered the keynote speech. Inspector Morales shared with the close to 300 volunteers in attendance how The Fresh Air Fund’s Friendly Towns Program greatly impacted his life. The closing ceremony included inspiring remarks by Fresh Air siblings and concluded with a spectacular performance by the Bronx Theatre High School Step Team.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. First time Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from 7 to 12 years old, who live in New York City. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips.

Volunteer opportunities are availalbe for families in the Southern Erie to be a host family and provide Fresh Air children with a unique and fun summer experience in a new environment.

For more information, contact Christine Tedesco at 984-7177 or visit The Fresh Air Fund online at to learn more.