2nd Annual Holiday Laptops for Foster Youth Drive – Improving One Life At A Time

Representative Les Gara
PRESS RELEASE • December 15, 2011

http://gara.akhouse.org • Contact: Toby Smith, Aide • toby_smith@legis.state.ak.us
Phone: 269-0106 • Fax: 269-0109 • House District 23

2nd Annual Holiday Laptops for Foster Youth Drive – Improving One Life At A Time
(ANCHORAGE) – Today Rep. Les Gara is launching the second annual Laptops for Foster youth Holiday Drive. Over the past year this drive has resulted in over 60 matches for youth who use laptops for school, to transport pictures of their families and friends, and to lead a life that more closely resembles those of their peers outside of foster care.
“We hope the holiday spirit will cause generous Alaskans to keep this success going into a second year,” said Rep. Gara, whose office started this effort with foster youth advocate Amanda Metivier last December.
While many of us are spending time with our families, celebrating traditions, and enjoying the festivities, foster youth are faced with the bitter reminder that they are separated from their families during the holidays. Foster youth are highly mobile, some changing placements dozens of times while in care and often in the middle of the school term. As difficult as transitions are, it becomes even more difficult to maintain relationships when youth are limited by what they are able to lug from one home to the next, which frequently happens.
“We need to do whatever we can to support these youth, and donating a laptop is a great way to make a difference in a life, in academic achievement, and in a child’s often harmed social life,” said Rep. Gara, whose father was killed when Gara was 6, resulting in his placement in the foster care system. “Even if separated from loved ones, with a laptop of their own, they can keep those connections alive.”
Collaboration between Rep. Gara and the non-profit Facing Foster Care in Alaska has yielded more than 60 computers that have been matched with youth over the past year. “Youth who have been matched with a laptop are performing better in their education and have a link to their family and friends as they make multiple transitions,” said Amanda Metivier, Statewide Coordinator of Facing Foster Care in Alaska. Metivier is also a foster care alumnus, and has worked with the state, and Rep. Gara’s Office, to help improve Alaska’s foster care system.
“Having a laptop has helped me with school and staying in touch with my friends,” said Anna Redmon, age 16, about the laptop she received through the program.
If you have a late model or new laptop you want to donate that:
1. is not more than four years old;
2. has a word processing program;
3. has internet capability; and,
4. works well,
Please call Rep. Gara’s office at (907) 269-0106. There are also other ways to help if you have time, but no computer to donate.
If you want to mentor a youth leaving foster care, call Facing Foster Care in Alaska Statewide Coordinator Amanda Metivier at (907) 230-8237 to learn more.
Want to be a foster parent? There’s a dire shortage: call the Alaska Center for Resource Families at (800) 478-7307 to find out how to become one.

Phone: 907-465-4451
Fax: 907-465-3445

State Capitol Room 208
Juneau AK, 99801