During the 2022 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Summit, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption announced the recipients of our Recruiter and Supervisor of the Year awards. These professionals are representatives of the creativity, perseverance and unwavering commitment of the entire Wendy’s Wonderful Kids community in serving the most vulnerable children lingering in foster care across the United States and Canada. Read highlights of their impact below.
Brittany and Tim, Supervisors (Nevada)
As Youth Connections Managers with Raise the Future, Brittany and Tim supervise all the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters in the state of Nevada. They have worked to build relationships with their jurisdictions and community partners to achieve strong support for the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Recently, this work resulted in the re-structuring of Nevada’s referral process, which allows recruiters to implement the child-focused recruitment model with fidelity and very limited barriers. In 2021, Brittany and Tim’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids teams were recognized with a Citizen of the Month award by the City of Las Vegas, honoring their dedication and advocacy for achieving permanency for youth in foster care.
Wanda, Supervisor (Vermont)
A tireless advocate for youth, Wanda has a reputation for going above and beyond to do what is right for children. As a supervisor at Lund, where she’s worked since 1995, Wanda provides creative guidance while ensuring her recruiters are following the child-focused recruitment model with fidelity. One of Wanda’s recruiters described her as a “cheerleader” and “the first to congratulate someone on a job well done.” The recruiter added, “The work she has done will live on not only in the lives of so many adopted children in the state of Vermont, but also with the employees at Lund who thrive in adoption as a result of having her as a supervisor.”
Danielle, Recruiter (Kansas)
Danielle builds strong relationships with the children she serves, making sure that every option for permanency is explored, and any potential resource is contacted. Such dedication was illustrated in Danielle’s nomination narrative, which described how she recently worked with a youth who had previously expressed doubt about ever being adopted. After working with the youth to make a list of people she could contact, Danielle eventually got permission to contact the youth’s biological father. She quickly identified a connection between father and daughter and worked to determine if adoption was an option. The father and youth began weekly visits, then overnight visits. Finally, the youth was able to move in with her father. The adoption was finalized in 2022.
Michelle, Recruiter (Ontario)
Michelle worked with a youth who had experienced multiple foster placements and an adoption disruption, which triggered intense memories of trauma and loss for the child. While talking about her past and what she wanted for the future, the youth shared that the most loving and consistent relationship she had was with her children’s service worker. With Michelle’s help, the youth asked if the service worker would be interested in adopting her. Once the service worker was removed from the youth’s case, the pair started to build a relationship as mother and daughter and have also been learning about their Indigenous heritage. The adoption was finalized in 2021.
Mindy, Recruiter (Maine)
Mindy was working with a child who had lived at a residential facility and had spent time in a foster care placement that resulted in emergency removal. Through diligent search and discussions with the child, Mindy identified potential adoptive resources, including a support worker at the child’s former residential facility. In 2020, the child moved into the support worker’s home. Mindy provided adoption preparation for the child and family and assisted with the licensing process. When the coronavirus pandemic shut down in-person visits and resulted in court closures and delays, Mindy continued to provide support and education for the family via Zoom, phone and mail. The child was adopted in 2022.
Through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Foundation supports the hiring of adoption professionals who work tirelessly to find permanent, loving families for the longest-waiting children in foster care. Watch highlights of their impact: