More than 600 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® recruiters and supervisors, speakers, supporters and Foundation staff gathered in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2023 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Summit, May 9–11.
Hosted by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the event offered opportunities for collaborating and sharing best practices and celebrated the tremendous impact of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids community in serving the longest-waiting children in foster care.
Hear more from parents and youth about the life-changing relationships formed with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters that make the path to permanency possible.
During Summit, the Foundation recognized recipients of our 2023 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter and Supervisor of the Year awards, including:
Bobby, Supervisor (North Carolina)
Children’s Home Society
Bobby served as a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter for three years prior to transitioning to his current role as supervisor. He has a passion for achieving legal permanency for every waiting child in his care. Leading by example, Bobby challenges his team to look at the bigger picture and always circle back to the components of the child-focused recruitment model to find the best way to help the children and youth that they serve.
Stefani, Supervisor (Oklahoma)
Youth Transition Services
Stefani’s team describes her as a supportive leader who makes and maintains connections with her staff and the families they serve. When a waitlist began to accumulate for her region in Oklahoma, Stefani took on cases herself to assist in ensuring that all children needing served would begin to have recruitment. From assembling a dedicated team, to offering additional training for Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters and supervisors in her state, Stefani is an integral presence in the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids community and an enthusiastic source of support and advice.
Andrea, Recruiter (Utah)
Raise the Future
Andrea’s passion for child-focused recruitment is evident in her work. She is steadfastly dedicated to ensuring that the children and youth on her caseload achieve legal permanency and have positive and loving connections in their lives. Andrea consistently shows up for the youth and children she serves, and she speaks positively of them and their potential. Through her unwavering support, Andrea helps children know that they have a professional on their team who believes in them and sees them for who they are, beyond any of the challenges and difficulties written in their case file.
Anna, Recruiter (Michigan)
Orchards Children’s Services
Anna is a source of hope and encouragement for the children and youth with whom she works, and she is unafraid to speak up for what is in their best interest. A caring and compassionate presence in the lives of the youth who she serves, Anna is a tireless advocate for children, their families and communities in which they reside. Anna listens to what the youth on her caseload want and gives them an opportunity to have their voices heard during this process. Her focus on authentic relationship building allows her to become the champion children need in achieving a path to legal permanency that works best for them.
Michael, Recruiter (Kentucky)
Kentucky Department for Community Based Services
Michael works to build a genuine relationship of trust with each child and youth he serves by meeting them where they are, making things fun and always showing up. Even when he might get a discouraged about a direction a case is going, Michael never gives up. He holds steadfast in making sure every youth with whom he works knows the importance of legal permanency. Michael guides his children and youth through the child-focused recruitment model with patience and compassion, making sure they feel comfortable, involved and supported every step of the way.
To date, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters have found forever families for more than 13,000 children in foster care across the United States and Canada. These professionals are heroes for the work they do every day to achieve permanency for young people who are too often overlooked. Thank you!
To learn more about the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, visit davethomasfoundation.org/wwk.