The country life

Fourteen children from New York City arrived at Betts Parks in Warren on Monday afternoon, to stay with host families in Pennsylvania and western New York.

They are here courtesy of the Fresh Air Fund.

Since 1877, the not-for-profit agency has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities.

Many of the children have never been outside of the city, although ten-year-old Penelope Almanzar visited Warren last year, and is staying with Chris and Brenda Whyte of Warren again this year. Anthony Serrano, 7, is also staying with the Whytes. Both children are from the Bronx.

According to Brenda Whyte, who is a volunteer representative for the Fund, families may host one child in their first year and two in following years. Before the kids visit, the families travel to New York and meet the children.

Asked about what he wanted to do first, Serrano said merely, “Swim.”

The Whytes told the two children they were planning to take them boating and fishing while they were here.

Whyte said Almanzar’s six-year-old sister would be joining them on Aug. 2 when the next group arrives, so Penelope would stay an extra ten days, and they both will return to New York on Aug. 12. Children must be at least six years old to participate. Youngsters who are re-invited by the same family may continue with the Fund through age 18 and may enjoy longer summertime visits year after year.

Whyte said the children that just arrived will stay with families in Warren, Erie, Youngsville and Pittsfield.