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Laptops Needed for Foster Youth

Demand Increases as Foster Care Numbers Rise

ANCHORAGE - Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) today called on Alaskans to continue their support to help match Alaska's growing number of foster youth with badly needed laptop computers. The number of foster youth in Alaska has been rising, from 1,880 in 2012 to 2,089 today.

"Continuing, and increasing this effort is unfortunately necessary,” Gara said. “It's a need we can't sweep under the rug.

Getting a laptop through this volunteer effort has helped many foster youth, who often do not have money or family to buy one. "A laptop is portable, and that's sadly necessary when children who bounce between two, five, and sometimes more than 15 placements are treated as portable," Gara said. 

Anna Redmon recently graduated high school with the help of a laptop she received through this effort. "Having a laptop helped me to graduate on time,” Redmon said.  “I was able to complete my homework, catch up, and walk with my class on May 9, 2014."

"With all the hurdles foster youth face, and when schools often require computers for homework and assignments, the last thing we want to do is leave another hurdle for foster youth who frequently bounce between homes, and face too many road bumps in life," Gara, a former foster youth, said.

Amanda Metivier, also a former foster youth who runs the non-profit Facing Foster Care in Alaska, describes the drive's success: "Many youth report that they are more equipped to keep up with their school work, and can stay on track and graduate more easily if they need to move between foster homes."

To date, the Laptops for Foster Youth effort, which Gara launched with Metivier, has resulted in the match of over 350 laptops with youth who use computers to keep up with school, friends, and family. 

Gara and Metivier are asking for donations of new or recent model used laptops that youth can use for homework and to stay in touch with friends and family, so they can succeed in school, and have a level of normalcy brought back to often very disrupted lives. The state Office of Children's Services works to help place laptops with youth who need them.

What Donors Need To Know: Alaskans willing to donate new or fast, well-working, recent model used computers, or make monetary contributions to help buy computers, should call Rep. Gara's office at 269-0106, or Amanda Metivier at 230-8237. Tax-deductible donations may be made to the non-profit group Facing Foster Care in Alaska. Donors should clean files from computers before donating them. Computers should not need repairs, and should have wi-fi capability and a word processing program.

Foster youth Anna Redmon may be contacted at 748-3747 for questions.

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