Manchester family, NYC girl they hosted had such a good experience, they're getting together again
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader | June 30. 2013 1:00AM
Fresh Air Fund hosts Tanya and Pat Robinson, of Manchester, and their children, Caira, front left, and Lena; Mara, top left, Nola, 2, and Nikka, right, display a photograph of the family with Fresh Air child Aniyah from last summer. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
Fresh Air Fund hosts Tanya and Pat Robinson, of Manchester, and their children, Caira, front left, and Lena; Mara, top left, Nola, 2, and Nikka, right, display a photograph of the family with Fresh Air child Aniyah from last summer.Mark Bolton/Union Leader
But soon those tears gave way to smiles.
Aniyah gives a kiss to Nola as they take a dip in a pool in Ashland in August with Nola's sisters, Lena and Caira. COURTESY
Aniyah Hopkins, center, a Fresh Air child from New York City, quickly bonded last summer with her host family, including sisters Nola, left, and Caira Robinson, seen during a stop at the beach in North Hampton. Aniyah, now 7, is returning Monday for a second stay with the Robinson family. COURTESY
Aniyah will ride a bus with the first wave of 55 Fresh Air kids expected to arrive in New Hampshire on Monday. In total, 154 New Hampshire families will host 161 Fresh Air kids from New York City this summer. Some families will host two or three children - and it's not too late for Granite State families to volunteer to give a child from a low-income neighborhood a break from urban life.
"My girls are very compassionate and caring, and I think this just brought out a whole other side of them and being appreciative of what they have," said Tanya Robinson, the mother of five. "We take our kids out to eat all the time. Aniyah probably could count the number of times she was out in a restaurant on one hand."
Aniyah's brother, Antoine Hopkins Jr., also came to New Hampshire last summer to stay with a different family.
Aniyah could have used a map for the many road trips she and the Robinsons took.
They hit Hampton Beach, Boston and Story Land in the Bartlett village of Glen, to name a few stops.
Much of that fun occurred close to the Robinsons' home.
"My favorite thing is going to to the pool," Aniyah said in a phone interview.
Tanya Robinson said two or three families there hosted Fresh Air kids last year, and the idea caught on.
Linda Pomeroy, Greater Manchester volunteer leader for the Fresh Air Fund, said her Fresh Air child, Christopher, made his first visit to New Hampshire when he was 7. Now in high school, Christopher still visits Pomeroy's Mont Vernon home each summer.
Pomeroy said her two adult children sometimes come along on hikes. Other outings, such as fishing excursions or trips to Water Country in Portsmouth, include other Fresh Air families.
The separation allowed everyone to become "a little stronger from being away from each other," he said.
"Just give it a chance," she said. "I'm pretty certain anybody who does it once would absolutely do it again."