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Rep. Gara Pushes For Laptop Donations For Foster Kids

BY ELLEN LOCKYER
KSKA - Anchorgae
Thursday, December 22, 2011


The festivities of the holidays can serve as a bitter reminder to foster youth that they are separated from their own families. But Anchorage Representative Les Gara says, with a laptop of their own, foster children can keep connections alive with friends even if they move from home to home.

Gara is launching the holiday effort in cooperation with the non-profit Facing Foster Care in Alaska. The computer drive is in its' second season, after a successful first run. Over the past year the drive resulted in over 60 matches for youth who use laptops for school and social connections. If you're looking for ideas to help others during the holiday season, Anchorage Democrat Representative Les Gara has an idea for you. Gara is working with volunteers to help connect foster youth with donated laptops. Gara says a constituent began collecting them and now his office is helping to organize the effort.

Gara says they now have a modest system in place to collect and distribute donated laptops.

He says they're trying to make it easy for people to help. Contact them if you have one to donate and they'll do the rest.

He says they're operating on a shoestring, but they'll gladly work statewide with donations.

Amanda Metivier was once in foster care and she now works to help youth in the system through the organization Facing Foster Care in Alaska. Metivier says foster kids tend to move quite a bit and that makes it hard to keep up in school.

She says having their own computer is also a way for them to stay connected to those they care about.

16-year-old Anna Redmon got a laptop some months ago

Those wishing to donate a laptop can contact Gara's office. Laptops suitable for the program must not be more than four years old, and have word processing programs and internet capability.

Gara says he was a foster child himself for a time, so he knows the importance of supporting youth in foster care.