Foster Care Month this May
Foster Care Advocates Call For More Donated Computers, Mentors
Representative Les Gara, Amanda Metivier coordinator of Facing Foster Care in Alaska, along with other foster care advocatesheld a press conference in Anchorage today to kick off Foster Care Month.
Other participants included: Diana Bline, Director of Program Services at Covenant House; Nicholas McMillan, Anchorage Director of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters; Travis Erickson, Acting Child Welfare Administrator for the Alaska Office of Children’s Services; Becca Shier, Statewide Representative with Facing Foster Care in Alaska; and Angel Gonzales and Kaylee Day, Peer Mentor Trainers with Covenant House.
Rep. Gara and Metivier, who helped found both Alaska’s mentorship and laptop efforts for foster youth, are asking Alaskans to donate their laptops, or time, to as part of this May’s Foster Care Month.
“Foster youth deserve the same opportunities as all children, and we’d like to build on the successes we’ve had with our laptop and mentorship programs,” said Gara.
“Mentoring a foster youth can help to build a young person's self-esteem and facilitate a successful transition to adulthood,” said Metivier.
Currently Big Brothers Big Sisters and Covenant House are recruiting mentors who are willing to work with foster youth who are aging out of the foster care system and need a responsible adult in their lives. The program is currently operating in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Mat-Su. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact Danielle Pittner of Big Brothers Big Sisters at 433-4600.
“Covenant House is honored to participate with Big Brothers Big Sisters in the new statewide pilot program to connect foster youth to adult mentors. Our kids deserve support at this critical time in their young lives, and it can be as simple as going for a walk, setting time aside to listen, or encouraging youth to remain in school and/or continue their educational goals” said Dierdre Cronin, executive director at Covenant House.
An effort started by Metivier and Rep. Gara’s office to collect donated laptops has matched 43 youth with late model laptop computers to help them succeed in school and keep track of family pictures and other important belongings.
"Well, my computer has helped me with schoolwork including APEX, and essays, etcetera. I don't have to worry about leaving behind important work if I change placements because it's all on my personal computer. Honestly, if I didn't have this laptop I would not be graduating on time. It's a very big influence on my academic life," said Kearra Ratcliff, a seventeen-year-old foster youth who received a laptop through the program.
If you are interested in donating a laptop, contact either Rep. Gara at (907) 269-0106; or Amanda Metivier, who is representing Facing Foster Care Alaska on this project, at (907)-230-8237. Please note that laptops should be in excellent working order with no repairs needed and no more than four years old. Word processing and anti-virus software are highly desirable.
Press Secretary, House Democratic Caucus
W: (907) 465-3842; C: (907) 209-7006