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BURNT HILLS: Room to breathe

A Burnt Hills family is making the quintessential summer experience possible for a New York City child who would otherwise spend humid weeks without easy access to a diving board, a picnic in the park, or an outdoor concert.

Carol Frost-Cyrus and her husband, Duane, along with their five children, will be a Fresh Air Fund host family this summer. The Cyrus family is just one of many across the state and throughout the Northeast and Canada, who are hosting a total of about 5,000 children from New York City in July and August.

For two weeks or more, these children will be able to enjoy all of the simple pleasures of a summer away from the concerns and crowded streets of New York City, said Harald Olsen, spokesman from the fund's central offices in New York City.

This will be the sixth time the Cyrus family will welcome 15-year-old Darian Jennings, who lives in the borough of Queens in New York City.

With an already full household, Darian has developed relationships much like a sibling to the five Cyrus kids, now ages 7 to 16.

Entertaining Darian hasn't called for elaborate outings and road trips to the Adirondacks. Instead, he enjoys simple summer activities most area kids take for granted.

"We go swimming, camping and roast marshmallows over a fire outside," said Frost-Cyrus. "We even bake cookies and set up a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway. We try to make Darian feel more like a member of the family than a guest."

One moment in particular stands out from all of the summers. It was the summer Darian, then 10, learned to ride a bike while staying with the Cyrus family.

"He was so nervous about trying something new his first summer with us, but we persuaded him to give bike riding another chance his second summer here," said Frost-Cyrus. "He was pretty shaky at first. We spent two days running beside him, but he mastered it, and his parents were able to watch him ride away on his own when he got back home in New York City."

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