By Carrie Boerio
Senior Director of Programs
Read part 1 of our favorite milestones.
Not long after I joined the Foundation, I had the privilege of participating in the birth of something wonderful.
The Foundation had done great work over the years, but our leader, Rita Soronen, wanted to implement an aggressive new strategy. She knew the direction she wanted us to go – to provide desperately-needed, dedicated adoption resources at the local level — but we had to define who, what, when, where, how and how much. We already knew why: we needed to be able to point to one child and say “the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption found a loving, permanent family for this child who was waiting in foster care to be adopted.” And we needed to be able to say it for thousands of children in the United States and Canada. As a result, in April of 2004, we launched what has become our largest signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.
We piloted the program in seven sites, providing local adoption agencies with the funding, the model and the method of accountability to implement child-focused recruitment. With the Foundation’s funding, the local agency hired a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption recruiter to work exclusively on finding a family for each child. The recruiter built a caseload of the longest-waiting children in their area and worked individually with each child, focusing on his or her unique needs.
The Foundation has found families for more than 3,400 children who would otherwise have been likely to leave the foster care system at age 18 … alone. Today, we have 169 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters spread throughout North America working with urgency, in a way that has been proven to work much better than business as usual. You can be a part of this truly wonderful result. Visit our website to find a recruiter near you, get a free guide to adoption, follow us on social media, or see all of the many ways you can support our work.
With the help of one person at a time, we can find a family for one child at a time, until every child has a family. Won’t that be wonderful?