News: $20,000 Donated To Get Laptops To Help Alaska’s Growing Foster Youth Population

Rep. Les Gara

October 30, 2014

         Anchorage-Today Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) announced a major donation to the “Laptops for Foster Youth” effort. The goal is to get needed laptop computers to Alaska’s growing number of foster youth.  A few years ago there were roughly 1,700 foster youth in Alaska. Today there are approximately 2,200 foster youth in the state.

         “Foster youth deserve every chance to succeed in life.  A laptop helps them succeed in school, and stay in touch with family and friends during difficult, often tumultuous times,” said Rep. Gara, a former foster youth and co-founder of Alaska’s “Laptops for Foster Youth” effort.   Amanda Metivier, also a foster care alumni, is the other co-founder and runs Alaska’s foster youth advocacy group, “Facing Foster Care in Alaska.”

         “This very generous donation will raise the number of laptops given to foster youth to roughly 400,” said Metivier of this roughly 3 year old effort.

         Anchorage’s Kate Giard, President of the LAP foundation, first contacted Rep. Gara three years ago about helping with this effort.  She stated, “We believe in giving youth a chance in life, and are happy to find ways we can make a difference.”

         “We know this act of generosity will improve lives, and we hope it raises awareness for other Alaskans who’d like to donate funds, or new or good used laptops to a foster youth population that has unfortunately been growing in Alaska, now up to roughly 2,200 youth,” said Rep. Gara.

         “As long as the community remains as generous as it has been, we will work to keep matching computers to foster youth and recent alumni who need them.  It’s unfortunate that we have to seek only portable computers, but that reflects the sad reality that so many foster youth bounce between a foster homes.  The computers unfortunately need to be portable, and there are youth who’ve been placed with over a dozen different homes,” said Metivier.

         Under a state ethics ruling, Gara can use his personal time to work on this effort, can continue to use his office to inform the public and solicit help.  Legally donations, which can be deducted, should be made to the non-profit, “Facing Foster Care in Alaska.”  Gara’s office can accept the computers and donations for “Facing Foster Care”, but cannot legally be the recipient of the donation.  The “Laptops for Foster Youth” effort’s success has been built on donations from individual Alaskans, and a generous Anchorage based family foundation that has asked to remain anonymous.”

         People who want to help can call Gara’s office at 269-0106.  New or gently used laptops will be matched with youth, though if a computer is used Gara asks that its files be cleared, and that the computer run well, have wi-fi capability and include a word processing program.



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