Laptops Help Foster Youth Succeed in School and Life; Donations Now Accepted
Anchorage – Today, Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Amanda Metivier, a founder of Facing Foster Care in Alaska, are launching a holiday drive to collect laptops for foster youth in Alaska. Since the start of the Laptops for Foster Youth program, over 1,000 foster youth and recent foster care alumni have received laptop computers to use for school, college, job training, and to stay in touch with important people in their lives. Rep. Gara and Metivier, who are both former foster youth, jointly started the Laptops for Foster Youth program in 2010 to help youth through community volunteerism without state funding or the passage of legislation.
“Foster youth deal with the kind of upheaval that can cause lifetime damage and take youth off a track to success. Our goal is to help keep youth on the right track to success,” said Rep. Gara.
“Youth matched with a laptop have a greater chance at success in their education because it helps them stay on track in school. I have seen foster youth succeed and graduate thanks in part to the laptop they received through this program,” said Metivier.
This effort to get laptops into the hands of needy foster youth has come a long way. In the early years, the program accepted used laptops, but many of those computers were out of date and unusable. Today, the program matches new laptops with foster youth. Organizers prefer donations of Chromebook computers, which are lighter and come in many brands. The Laptops for Foster Youth program succeeds through a mix of individual donors, especially at the holidays when many people are looking for ways to give, and larger Alaska donors who help on an annual basis.
Facing Foster Care in Alaska, which is a non-profit organization run by foster youth and alumni, provides peer support, training to state caseworkers, and advocates statewide on best foster care practices. The organization can obtain discounts on larger purchases, so tax-deductible monetary donations are the most efficient way to help.
Donations to the Laptops for Foster Youth program can be made online at www.ffcalaska.org. Please donate what you can afford. Donations do not have to equal the exact cost of a laptop, which normally cost around $200 each. If you can’t donate that amount, donated funds will be pooled together to purchase laptops.
Those who wish to donate a laptop(s), rather than donating funds, should contact Facing Foster Care in Alaska at (907) 230-8237 by text, or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can discuss the basic features needed on a donated computer.
Rep. Gara’s office is limited by state ethics law to providing information on how to help support the Laptops for Foster Youth Program. His office cannot accept funds. However, Rep. Gara, on his own time, has been allowed to help find individual donors and larger funders. Additionally, the law allows Rep. Gara to distribute information to the public to promote the effort.
For more information, please contact Rep. Les Gara at (907) 250-0106 or Amanda Metivier at (907) 230-8237.