May 22, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gara Launches Summer Foster Youth Laptop Drive
Today, Rep. Les Gara launched the Summer Foster Youth Laptop Drive designed to pair foster youth with laptop computers donated by generous Alaskans.
“Past holiday drives were very successful, so we’re hoping to spread that success throughout the year,” said Rep. Gara, whose office started this effort with foster youth advocate Amanda Metivier two years ago.
Foster youth are highly mobile, some changing placements dozens of times while in care and often immediately after the school year ends. 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. They 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 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.”
“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.
Over the past two years, Alaskans have donated old laptop computers or money to purchase new ones for around 125 foster youth through the program that is a collaboration between Rep. Gara and the non-profit Facing Foster Care in Alaska.
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.