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Rick and Linda GillettVolunteer Spotlight: Rick and Linda Gillett

When you think of spending quality time with your spouse, you may think of vacations, date nights, or quiet dinners at home. To Rick and Linda Gillett, quality time over the past few years has been spent advocating for a family of six children in foster care.

The Gilletts are one of several husband-and-wife advocate teams within the CASA of Kent County cadre of volunteers. Married for 18 years, they are into their third year of a case. “We started with six siblings,” says Rick, “But four have been adopted so we are still working with two children.”

Rick and Linda feel they provide much-needed continuity in the lives of these kids, who have lived in five homes and have worked with three different foster care workers in the three years they have been on the case. “We have the time to spend, and we feel needed by our CASA children,” Linda says. “We have become very fond of them and are happy to have a role in making sure they are in a safe, loving, and permanent home.”

“Once you start working with children, you get hooked. We get big bear hugs every week when we see the kids. It’s focusing on them that keeps us going when we might get frustrated with the system,” says Rick. “One of the most exciting things was seeing four of the six siblings we work with being adopted and knowing they now have a chance, a good life,” Linda says. “Now we are trying to work toward a happy ending for the two older children who are still in foster care. They need peace and security in their lives, too. That will help them heal from their trauma.”

Their compassion and dedication not just to the children they advocate for, but for the mission of CASA are what make Rick and Linda such wonderful volunteers, according to Jennifer Volkers, their Advocate Supervisor.

Rick and Linda have a deep connection with the children they advocate for and are not afraid to put what they see to be in their best interests at the forefront, she says. “They take their role seriously, but not so seriously they don’t genuinely enjoy the time they spend with the children!”

From Volunteers to Major Donors

This CASA couple is not only investing their time through volunteering; they feel it’s important to invest their dollars by becoming major donors to CASA as well. Soon after Linda became a Court Appointed Special Advocate in 2010, the Gilletts made the decision to also become donors to the organization.

According to Rick, “The most important resource we have is our young people. If we can help make their lives more positive, it helps the whole community.” To Rick and Linda, making regular donations is a way to affect many more children’s lives than the children they work directly with.

“It’s so important to have CASA in the community. We focus on the children, who can easily get lost in the shuffle and have no voice in an overburdened system,” says Rick. “We are extremely fortunate to be able to help.”

And help they do. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and donors like Rick and Linda, Kent County children will continue to have a voice in their future.

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