By Britt Moreno
DENVER (CBS4) - It is a day where CBS4's journalists join viewers to help Colorado children find families. A Day for Wednesday's Child is a massive Together 4 Colorado telethon in which we go live on the air with stories of the most vulnerable children: those who are orphaned or neglected, abused and all alone. We advocate for the 5,000 kids in Colorado's foster care system by going live starting at 4:30 a.m. until the end of the day at 10:30 p.m. Our goal is to raise money for the Adoption Exchange. The non-profit works to place children into permanent, loving homes.
Britt Moreno and special projects producer Libby Smith bring our community these children's stories. Smith has produced the special day for 10 years. Her planning starts in September.
"I don't think there is a better cause," she said. "I am so proud to give this message to our community and help these children."
Smith coordinates all of CBS4's coverage including a lot of moving parts, work she calls challenging but rewarding.
Moreno will step away from her role as morning anchor for the day, instead she'll tell stories of adoption and foster care in every newscast starting at 4:30am. She brings viewers the good news of children adopted into families. She tackles the tougher stories, those of children without families, those never adopted who age out of the system.
"We are given a platform in news," Moreno said or says. "It's a blessing to be able to shed light on the darkness in these kids' lives. We get the opportunity to get these kids adopted and I am so grateful for this opportunity to help".
A Day For Wednesday's Child brings a transformation to the CBS4 Studios. Volunteers from a number of organizations join the news team to answer calls from viewers. Yes, we get actual phone calls in our phone bank! While many have turned to text or Snapchat for communication, this telethon holds onto the tradition of the telephone call. However, CBS4 plans a big campaign on social media. (More details to come below.)
Executive Director of the Adoption Exchange Lauren Arnold tells Moreno she learned about the Adoption Exchange through CBS4's coverage of foster care kids. The segment is Wednesday's Child and for the past five years, Moreno has introduced us to these children in need of families. She spends time with a child in foster care each week and she brings our viewers these kids' stories. Seeing a "Wednesday's Child" compelled Arnold to act and join the Adoption Exchange.
Arnold says A Day for Wednesday's Child typically generates more than $100,000. It is not the Adoption Exchange's biggest fundraiser but it could be their most important. When the state or government gives non-profits like this a donation, the money can be only used in very specific ways. A Day for Wednesday's Child provides the Adoption Exchange with "unrestricted funds" which means they can allocate money to what they consider their highest needs. That typically means recruiting for a child who may be harder to place in a permanent home like an older child or a child with special needs. Funds may also go to family support. The Adoption Exchange provides guidance and support to families during the adoption process and afterwards.
"Beyond the dollars," Arnold said, "A Day for Wednesday's Child builds awareness. That knowledge may be priceless. It shows people what is happening to kids in our communities."
She also wants to reach families who may need access to the organization's resources. The Adoption Exchange also provides therapeutic family interventions and helps families adjust to kids with special needs or who have experienced traumas. In addition, the day triggers dozens of calls into the Adoption Exchange from people wanting to learn more about waiting kids in foster care.
Arnold says this is one of the best days. "We take a day off and get to enjoy our work in a different way."
You can also help by eating at a participating Front Range Wendy's restaurant. On Wednesday, April 11th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wendy's will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Adoption Exchange!
To connect with CBS4 on social media:
The best way to watch live on April 11th is on CBS4 and join us online at www.cbsdenver.com. Call The Adoption Exchange at 303.755.4756 or 800.451.5246 for more information.
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