Growing up in Nova Scotia, Karen remembers vividly the day she discovered what she wanted to do when she grew up. She was 13 years old when she went to Wendy’s® for chili and a Frosty® and read about the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada on the food tray liner.
That liner shared information about the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada, planting a seed for Karen, who herself is adopted, inspiring her to pursue a career helping children lingering in foster care.
In her seven years as a Wendy’s Wonderful KidsTM supervisor in Ontario, Karen has made it her priority to help find permanent, loving families for children in foster care who are too often overlooked.
“My role as a supervisor has allowed me to advocate for permanency for the children served by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids,” explained Karen. “We have a responsibility to these children to find families for them. Everything I’ve done during my time as a supervisor has been aligned with my vision to help kids get out of care.”
Karen is a champion for the Foundation’s evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model. A rigorous, five-year national evaluation in the United States revealed that a child referred to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is up to three times more likely to be adopted. At the heart of this model is a focus on building trusting relationships with youth, respecting their voice, privacy and dignity on the path to permanency.
“This model offers a depth and perseverance not often seen in child welfare,” shared Karen. “Diligent search for me is truly a relentless pursuit of permanency.”
As her time as a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids supervisor comes to an end due to retirement, Karen said she wants to celebrate both the dedication and support of foster parents and adoptive parents, as well as the work of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters.
“Any decision to care for a child is courageous, whether you open your home through fostering or grow your family through adoption,” reflected Karen. “Being a recruiter is a tough but rewarding job. (Recruiters) are the backbone of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.”
Thank you, Karen, for your life-changing service on behalf of children in foster care who need our help the most! You can join the Foundation in celebrating Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption professionals, like Karen, by sending them a thank you note. Together, we can give more children lingering in foster care the best opportunity for a bright future.