OHIO: Twelve-year-old Luke* was removed from the only neighborhood he knew growing up. Since then, he has lived in five different foster homes and lost track of all the connections he had in his childhood.

When a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) recruiter took over Luke’s case, he found a note in Luke’s file that he liked a family in his neighborhood. Without any details, the WWK recruiter went to great lengths to locate those neighbors. The recruiter began cold calling using only county data of all the homes near Luke’s childhood home.

One story led to another until someone remembered the parents’ first names: David and Diane. The recruiter used the Connect Our Kids technology platform to identify their contact information, and he reached out to them by phone. David and Diane were relieved for the call they had hoped for three long years to receive.

They remembered the day Luke was removed from his home by the police; he ran to David and gave him his favorite Hot Wheels car as a goodbye gift. David has looked at that car every day for three years and wondered if Luke was all right.

Luke is now in the beginning stages of reconnecting with David and Diane. They write each other letters and talk on FaceTime. They are interested in providing permanency, but they all have a long road ahead due to Luke’s trauma. Long-lasting positive connections are critical to a child’s resilience.

These connections matter. If you want to help more children in foster care like Luke, you can donate HERE.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.