For Immediate Release
Columbus, OH – The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption held its annual Summit in Columbus, Ohio May 3-5. More than 400 adoption recruiters, supervisors, donors and staff were on hand for three days of discussion and seminars surrounding child welfare.
This year, one adoption recruiter was honored for 11 years of service to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Diana Tolstedt works for St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Billings, Montana. For more than a decade she has used the Foundation’s child-focused recruitment model to find homes for the children who have been in foster care the longest.
“The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program has shaped the work that I do,” she told the Foundation. “I am so fortunate to know the children on my caseload as individuals so that I can strategically and intentionally find them committed families who will forever meet their needs. When we use this model, it works. Children find loving, adoptive homes; children who may otherwise linger in foster care and in many cases ‘age out.’ Each child I work with leaves an imprint on my heart and I am compelled to do what is best for them. I truly believe in the mission of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. No child is unadoptable.”
Tolstedt was one of 48 recruiters honored for serving as recruiters for more than five years.
“The longevity milestones that we award at Summit are critical in recognizing those Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters who have committed long-term to children on their caseloads who are waiting in foster care. The children who benefit from their commitment to finding a perfect family, no matter how long that takes,” says the Foundation’s President and CEO Rita Soronen. “Recruiters like Diana have built a trust in their communities and with the children they serve. These relationships cannot be created overnight and we value and respect her passion for finding homes for children waiting in foster care. We couldn’t do this without our recruiters. They fulfill our vision of a permanent home and a loving family for every child.”
The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is the Foundation’s signature program, which funds adoption recruiter positions in the U.S. and Canada. These adoption recruiters use a child-focused recruitment model, which long-term research shows, is three times more effective in finding permanent, loving homes for children in foster care the longest.