Representative Les Gara PRESS RELEASE • January 21, 2013
http://gara.akhouse.org • Contact: Amanda Metivier • Phone: (907) 230-8237
Barb Dexter • Phone: (907) 717-8687 • Rep. Les Gara • Phone: (907) 250-0106
Alaskan Earns National Casey Foundation Award for Local Foster Care Work
(JUNEAU) – Alaska foster youth advocate and peer support group leader Amanda Metivier, herself a former foster youth, has just returned to Anchorage with a prestigious award. From a broad selection of former foster youth from all 50 states, Metivier has won the Casey Family Foundation's Excellence for Children alumni award. Metivier went from foster care to college, earned her Master of Social Work at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and now helps foster youth and alumni at the University succeed in school.
"I very much appreciate this award from a group that has made my life and thousands of lives better. The work Casey does in states like Alaska is both amazing and badly needed. But the work I do every day with foster youth is near and dear to my heart," said Metivier. Casey Family Foundation is a national non-profit, started by the Founder of UPS, which works with state agencies to improve foster youth success.
"Amanda has worked as hard as anyone I've ever known to help improve our foster care system. She has trained state social workers and judges, and helped youth on a one-on-one basis, often taking them into her home when in need. She's earned this," said Rep. Les Gara, who has worked extensively with Former Senator Bettye Davis and Metivier on foster care issues.
“Amanda's tireless effort has allowed numerous foster youth to complete high school and continue into college. She inspires youth by her own example and by her belief in their ability to succeed,” said Barb Dexter of the Anchorage School District, who works with foster youth and homeless students.
Today foster youth have more opportunity to succeed, a stronger voice on state policy, and more allies in the community. “Amanda has been an indispensable part of that,” said Gara, whose work with Metivier includes her summer stint as a legislative aide at his office.
Since leaving foster care, Metivier has been a foster parent and Statewide Coordinator of Alaska's only foster youth advocacy and peer support group, Facing Foster Care in Alaska. She has also worked with legislators to create more opportunity, better lives, and better policy for Alaska's more than 1,500 foster youth.
She works with Rep. Gara and staff "doing the harder work" on their collaboration to get laptop computers to foster youth to help them succeed, said Gara. She has worked with Gara's office to get mentors to foster youth leaving foster care, so they have a responsible adult in their lives when they no longer have foster parents.
Without any lobbying group to do research and rally support, she has organized youth to become a forceful voice in Juneau.
"Amanda is Alaska's Norma Rae. She cares about people, works her heart out for them, and has been the difference between failure and success for countless youth," said Gara. For more information, please contact Amanda Metivier at (907) 230-8237 or Rep. Gara at (907) 250-0106.