Thursday, December 17, 2015

UAA students in foster youth program will get a special visit from holiday elves

Amanda Metivier with some of the gifts for
UAA students in the foster youth program.
Holiday elves will be paying a special visit to over 20 UAA students who are in the foster youth program or just transitioning out of the state foster program.  Under the auspices of the statewide UA Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program for Foster Youth, holiday gifts have been collected and wrapped for distribution to the students.

The holiday gifts for foster youth project was started by Kelsie Sullivan in the UAA Office of Grants and Contracts.  Kelsie collaborated with Amanda Metivier, Youth Education Coordinator for the Child Welfare Academy (CWA), the office which facilitates the UA foster youth program. The holiday gifts project came to be called the CWA Giving Tree.

Amanda and Kelsie are celebrating a successful 4th Annual CWA Giving Tree program.  The program began in 2012 as a collaborative effort to support a population that is often missed during the holidays.  Youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood often lack family connections and links to supportive adults.  The holidays can be especially difficult for foster youth enrolled in higher education, as many do not have a support system in place.  The goal of the CWA Giving Tree is to show these students they are valued members of the UAA community.

Kelsie and Amanda get a list of students and their holiday wish lists.  Individuals from UAA departments are sent the wish lists, and are invited to participate by buying gifts on the wish lists, and delivering them to the Child Welfare Academy for wrapping and distribution.

L to r: Amanda Metivier and
Kelsie Sullivan in front of the
CWA Giving Tree outside the
Child Welfare Academy office.

Kelsie wanted a way to give back to the UAA community and thought of the foster youth program at UAA and the idea of gifts at holiday time.  She is very appreciative of all the support she gets from the UAA community in making the holidays special for these students. If you would like to participate next year, contact Kelsie at

The Education Training and Voucher Program for Foster Youth is an outreach effort which began 3 years ago and is managed by Amanda Metivier, Youth Education Coordinator, on the Anchorage campus. Her office works with the Office of Children's Services, and Amanda starts talking with foster youth who are juniors and seniors in high school to help them transition to college. Amanda was in foster care herself and earned her BSW and MSW at UAA. She says, "It's pretty cool - I get to help these youth. I know what they are experiencing and are going through."

Each year there area about 50 foster youth statewide in the UA system, and about half are on the UAA campus.  State funds are directed through Amanda's office to the UA students to help pay for housing, books, food, transportation, and other necessities. Click here to learn more about the UA foster youth program. Or contact Amanda at

The Justice Center applauds the CWA Giving Tree holiday project and the work of the  Education and Training  Voucher Program for Foster Youth. Thanks for making the holiday season a little brighter for our students!