Linda Hunter Becomes Lifelong Advocate for Youth in Foster Care Through Treehouse

By Anna Bintinger, Marketing and Policy Intern

Linda Hunter had no idea the passion for youth in foster care that she was about to find when one of her close friends introduced her to Treehouse 15 years ago.

“My husband and I started with Treehouse because we wanted to do something with our (twin) sons from a volunteer perspective,” Linda said. “We volunteered at the free store. We did sock drives every year for their birthday. They collected 1,300 socks for their 13th birthday in lieu of birthday presents. From there, it grew.”

Linda is currently on Treehouse’s Board of Directors and four sub-committees: Finance, Programs, Policy and the Executive Committee. She served as Board Chair when Treehouse set our ambitious Graduation Success goal for youth in care throughout King County to graduate at the same rate as their peers. That goal was met in 2017.  She also continues to volunteer in our store with Newport Presbyterian Church.

In addition to her work with Treehouse, she serves as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for youth in care.

“Unfortunately, youth in foster care face many challenges because our systems do not work together,” Linda said. “It’s wrong, and we have to do something about it. These are literally our children, and we have let them down. Treehouse is an important part of the solution.”

When Treehouse first launched Graduation Success, less than 40 percent of youth in care throughout the county were graduating from high school, which Linda called “absolutely unacceptable.”

“It sets many youth on a very tough path for the rest of their life if they do not graduate,” she said. “We have an obligation as a society to do better. The way that Treehouse has been able raise graduation rates is just incredible and absolutely impacting lives.”

For Linda, the greatest joy in the work is getting to know the youth.

“Each and every one of the youth that I work with are awesome,” Linda said. “It has been a privilege, and I have learned so much being with these kids on their journeys.”

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About the Author

Anna Bintinger is a former Marketing and Policy Intern at Treehouse. She is passionate about sharing others’ stories to make a positive change.

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