New Milford residents Amy and Christopher O’Brien recently hosted a child through the Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Family Program.

The couple participated because Amy had grown up as part of a host family and had a Fresh Air child visit every summer.

“I told Chris about the program and about how much I enjoyed it as a little girl,” said Amy. “And we both agreed that it would be great not only for a city child, but also for our family.”

For a week in the summer of 2008, the O’Briens and their son, Collin, and daughter, Mikayla, welcomed Kenneth, a 7-year-old boy from Manhattan.

Every summer since then, the O’Briens have invited Kenneth, now 14, back to enjoy a week at their family home.

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 neighborhoods since 1877.

Each summer, close to 4,000 inner-city children visit suburban, rural, and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada through The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program.

The O’Briens spoke of Kenneth’s favorite activities when visiting New Milford, many of which he experienced for the first time with the family.

“We taught Kenneth how to swim when he first visited, and now he swims like a fish,” Chris said.

“I also take him fishing, golfing and hiking through Kent Falls, all of which he loves doing,” he said.

“But, being at home — that is really the thing he loves most,” Chris said.

The O’Briens said Kenneth is happiest when swimming in the family’s pool, walking the O’Brien’s dogs around the neighborhood, or attending family get-togethers and outdoor barbeques.

“He really loves just being part of the family,” said Amy.

Chris said that the decision to host a child really came down to “setting another place at the dinner table.”

“And it is also giving a child a break from his or her life in the city,” Chris said. “Kenneth needs a break from all of that once in a while and that’s what we want to give him—a break and a welcoming home to just relax at for a week or two—and it doesn’t cost us anything.”

The O’Briens host Kenneth for one week.

“You know I sometimes think what’s a week to anyone?” Amy stated.

“It’s such a short time that it will barely change anything and these kids are happy to go to a beach and be playing in your yard,” she said. “They don’t ask for much.”

Both of the O’Briens said that hosting Kenneth has brought so much to their family, in terms of friendship and memories.

For more information, call Heather Roy at 203-528-8993 or visit