Tom Drennen, associate professor of economics for Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is adamant about fresh air. His research on alternative energy focuses on reduced reliance on fossil fuels; he teaches classes in which he and his students purchase carbon credits so there are fewer available to manufacturers; and he is either behind, in front of or smack dab in the middle of every Green initiative on the Colleges’ campus. For the past two summers, however, he and his family have stood behind fresh air of a different kind. The Drennens host a child from The Fresh Air Fund, a program in which children from New York City spend two weeks or more vacationing in a different area of the U.S. In an article in the Daily Messenger, Drennen notes that they have hosted the same child, Zenita Davis, for two years now. Last summer, according to the article, Zenita learned to swim while staying with the family. The full article about children participating in the Fresh Air Fund and vacationing in the Finger Lakes appears below.
Daily Messenger City Kids Get Some Fresh Air Kathryn Rybczak • staff writer • July 07, 2008 Canandaigua, N.Y. – For 12 kids from different areas of New York City, two weeks away from the “Big Apple” makes for a fun vacation. The Fresh Air Fund provides free vacations to children who rarely have a chance to visit different areas of the United States. About 5,000 kids a year — since 1877 — are sent to host families in 13 states and Canada. Last year, 19 of them visited Canandaigua. “We actually have a lot more new host families,” said Shelley Bay, a representative of the Fresh Air Fund. “It turned out to be a good year.” Bay said parents apply to be host families and from there, the agency pairs each child with a family that staff think will “mesh” well. The kids arrived by bus Wednesday, and for Tom Drennen, a Hobart and William Smith Colleges professor and resident of Canandaigua, it was a reunion. “This is our second summer with Zenita,” he said. “She has called us numerous times throughout the year, and we have been able to keep in touch.” Drennen’s daughter — 7-year-old Gennie — said that she couldn’t wait to go swimming with Zenita Davis, something Zenita learned last summer while staying with the family. Although most of the kids stay with their families for two weeks, Bay said some stay the entire summer. Bay, who has been a representative of the Fresh Air Fund since 1993, has been involved with the organization since she was a child. “My mother was a host parent,” Bay said. “I grew up spending my summers with these kids.” f Beth Dailey of Bloomfield will spend her second summer as a host parent, but will get to know a new Fresh Air child, Destiny Dobson. “I am excited to get someone new,” Dailey said. “I work with kids, so this was only natural.” For more information on how to become a Fresh Air parent, contact Shelley Bay at (585) 554-3681. Contact Kathryn Rybczak at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org.