Rep. Les Gara

Donations Needed of New Laptops for Alaska’s 3,000 Foster Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2017

Anchorage – Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Facing Foster Care in Alaska founder Amanda Metivier are launching a back-to-school drive to get more laptops to foster youth so they can succeed in school. Rep. Gara and Metivier, both former foster youth, founded the Laptops for Foster Youth effort at the suggestion of many youth who faced barriers to success, including the lack of computers and internet access needed for schoolwork. To date, the efforts of Rep. Gara and Metivier have matched over 900 laptops with foster youth. However, the need continues with over 3,000 youth still in foster care in Alaska.

Isaiah King Lee-Allen, who spent over a decade in foster care, is currently attending the University of Alaska Anchorage. He recently received a laptop through the laptops for Foster Youth effort. “I need it to keep up in school and to stay in touch with my friends and family,” said Lee-Allen. 

“Laptops help foster youth achieve like their peers, do homework and research like their peers, and reach their dreams like their peers. That matters to children whose lives have been uprooted, who often struggle with little, and live with daily roadblocks to success,” said Rep. Gara, whose father was killed when he was six. 

“We’ve matched hundreds of youth across the state with a laptop computer. This has been the determining factor for a number of young people who have fallen behind to be able to graduate high school,” said Metivier. “Also, a laptop allows youth to keep pictures of friends and family, and stay in touch with people during an extraordinarily difficult time of their lives.”

Rep. Gara has been advised by the Ethics Committee of the Alaska Legislature that this volunteer effort, which he co-founded with Ms. Metivier, is one he can continue to promote and work on. However, Rep. Gara’s office cannot accept financial donations to purchase laptops.  Laptops, or funds to purchase laptops, can instead be donated directly to the non-profit, Facing Foster Care in Alaska. Such donations are tax deductible. 

To donate a laptop, including Chrome Book laptops, or funds towards the purchase of laptops, contact Amanda Metivier at Facing_Fostercare@yahoo.com or contact Rep. Gara’s office with questions at (907) 269-0106 or rep.les.gara@akleg.gov.

The Laptops for Foster Youth program efficiently uses discount computer sales programs to keep costs for new laptops and tablets down. The program no longer accepts used or broken laptops, but donations of new laptops are greatly appreciated.

New laptops, with an anti-virus program for PC’s, or Apple/MacBook laptops without anti-virus programs, are being accepted during the ongoing back-to-school Laptops for Foster Youth effort. 

“We used to accept gently used laptops, but we honestly don’t have the staff to maintain them. Additionally, Alaskans have been very generous donating new computers and funds to buy new computers,” said Rep. Gara, who has reached out to local foundations and other groups to help with funds for laptops.

For more information, please contact Rep. Les Gara at (907) 250-0106 or Amanda Metivier at (907)230-8237.

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