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Note from Rep. Les Gara
Note from Rep. Les Gara  
Holiday Laptops for Foster Youth Drive:
Holiday Wishes
Note from Rep. Les Gara

December 27, 2017

Voice Your Opinions!

Letters to the editor make a difference. You can send a letter of up to 200 words (shorter letters are more likely to be accepted) to the Alaska Dispatch News by email (letters@alaskadispatch.com); or by fax or mail (call them at 257-4308). Send letters to the Anchorage Press via e-mail editor@anchoragepress.com or by mail to 540 E. Fifth Ave, Anchorage, 99501. Feel free to call us if you need factual information to help you write a letter.

Contact the Governor. The Governor can be reached at 269-7450; or www.alaska.gov.

Contact us. My office can be reached at: 1500 W Benson Blvd, Rm 216, Anchorage, AK 99503; by phone: 269-0106; visit my website at http://replesgara.com; or email: Rep.Les.Gara@akleg.gov

Want to Volunteer To Help A Child?

You can be a Volunteer Mentor to help a child, through a program we worked with foster care advocates to start, at Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  Just call433-4691. Have the time to do more?  Alaska has a major shortage of foster and adoptive parents, and you can help change a life by doing that.  To ask about foster parenting or adopting a child out of foster care call 1-800-478-7307.  And, of course, we are always asking people to donate tax deductible new or used (good condition only) laptops for current and recent foster youth.  You can contact us if you'd like to do that.

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Dear Neighbors:

I hope that you are well and happy this holiday season. My wife Kelly and I wish you health and happiness during this season and in the coming year.

The holidays remind us of core values we share: those born with misfortune should have an equal and fair shake in life; the chance to succeed; and the same chances for happiness and success as those born to safe, healthy homes. Here is something you can do to give a young person a fair chance at success in life.

The mark of a person is not how they’ve helped those with much; it is how they have helped those who have little.

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (as mangled and paraphrased by me!)

In conjunction with Facing Foster Care in Alaska, our office started a drive to get new laptop computers (and new workbooks) to foster youth, who daily battle extra hurdles and deserve the same chance of success as the rest of us. We’ve matched roughly 1,000 computers with youth who need laptops for school, for college, and to stay in touch with friends and those who care about them. Some use their laptops to carry around pictures of loved ones they do not get to see enough.

If You’d Like To Help…

This effort has grown and become more successful as we’ve figured out ways to move it forward.  The Ethics Office has allowed me to keep promoting it and working on it on my free time, and to find donors as a legislator. But legally, donations cannot come to my office. So we have arranged that they go to the non-profit, Facing Foster Care in Alaska (FFCA), which is Alaska’s most effective and main peer support and advocacy group in the state. We try to make matches around the state. FFCA then works to match laptops with those youth in need, especially youth who need a laptop or workbook for school. 

If you’d like to help, your donations are tax deductible. We accept ONLY NEW laptops, or NEW WORKBOOKS, and accept monetary donations that will go towards laptops (just write that in the memo part of your check). You can donate enough for a new laptop (we get discounts at about $300 per computer), or if you don’t have $300, then an amount you can afford that will go towards a purchase of a new computer.

In the early days when we were getting this effort off the ground, we accepted used laptops. However, there is now enough community interest that we can focus on new laptop/workbook matches. Just as with the new clothing discount we started in this office for foster youth (thanks to the many stores around the state who offer discount quality clothing in our FosterWear program), we want to make sure foster youth, who are first-class citizens, are treated that way. 

To make a donation of funds for a new laptop/workbook, e-mail info@FFCAlaska.org, respond to this e-mail, or call me on my cell, 250-0106, if you have questions.

One of our highest callings is to make lives better, one life at a time. If you are able to help, that is exactly what your donation will do.

As always, contact us with any questions or comments.

Best,

[signed] Les Gara


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