Continued Surge in Foster Youth Numbers Draws Attention to Increased Need
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2015
ANCHORAGE – Five years ago Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Amanda Metivier, Executive Director of Facing Foster Care in Alaska (FFCA), sat down to try to figure out how to make the lives of Alaska’s foster youth better without waiting on legislative action. As a result, they started a volunteer effort called "Laptops for Foster Youth." This week they are launching a “Holiday Drive” seeking donated laptop computers. New or donated laptops can be especially useful for foster youth because they often move frequently on short notice.
“I wouldn’t make it through school without my laptop,” said current foster youth Rachel Bedsworth. “I use it for assignments and to stay in touch with friends and family.”
Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Amanda Metivier are both former foster youth and they are helping to coordinate the "Laptops for Foster Youth" holiday drive that begins on November 24
"This effort gets laptops into the hands of youth who need them to increase their chances of success in school and to make their uprooted lives more normal,” said Rep. Gara, who grew up in foster care after his father was killed when he was six years old. “This holiday drive also draws holiday season attention to other ways people can make another person’s life better."
The “Laptops for Foster Youth” effort is just one of the ways Alaskans can help the growing foster youth population in Alaska, which has alarmingly increased from 1,800 to over 2,800 in just a few years. Rep. Gara and Amanda Metivier are seeking donations of new and used laptop computers during the holiday season. To date, they have matched over 650 youth with a computer.
“Someone’s used but still working laptop can be a lifeline to foster youth trying to stay in touch with friends and family,” said Facing Foster Care in Alaska co-founder and former foster youth Amanda Metivier. “A laptop is something they can call their own that can help in school, work, and play.”
Gara and Metivier emphasize there are also volunteer opportunities available to help foster youth, including becoming a foster youth mentor or even a foster or adoptive parent.
"Alaskans are generous and this effort helps gets the word out that many of our foster youth are in need of some generosity,” said Rep. Gara.
To donate a laptop computer with word processing capability and Wi-Fi connectivity please call Rep. Gara’s office at (907) 269-0106. Facing Foster Care in Alaska will also accept cash donations to purchase laptops. All donations are tax deductible and can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Gently used laptops should have files cleared, all the necessary parts, run at fast enough speeds that foster youth won’t be frustrated using them, and be in perfect working condition.
For those interested in helping in other ways, Rep. Gara has worked with Amanda Metivier, foster youth, and the Alaska Legislature to start a volunteer foster youth mentorship program, which is run through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Office of Children’s Services and Facing Foster Care in Alaska are also collecting gifts for foster youth.
For more information call Rep. Gara at (907) 250-0106 or Amanda Metivier at (907) 230-8237. Contact information for Rachel Bedsworth is available upon request. Information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent is available by calling the Alaska Center for Resource Families at 1-800-478-7307.