Wadsworth resident brings back “Find the Love”


“Find the Love” is a project that was started after Wadsworth resident Lori Dente’s daughter, Sofia Dente, passed away. She only lived for three weeks and Dente wanted to honor those three weeks by encouraging people to take a break and focus on an area of their life where they found love and positivity. 

“Sometimes people will post pictures of hearts, sometimes pictures of them with their families, but it is just an opportunity to spread some sort of love during our days,” Dente said. 

The project started around 2014 and every year and it takes place from January 26, the day Sofia was born, to February 15, the day of her passing. 

“The first couple of years that we did it, it just grew beyond expectations,” Dente said. “I thought it would really just be sort of close friends and family that would participate, but within the first year, in the three weeks, we had over 3,000 people participating.”

The project has continued to grow since then. In the first year, Facebook reached out to Dente for a PR story because they noticed the hashtag being used so frequently. People who Dente did not even know personally were reaching out and participating. 

“The project has evolved in so many ways,” said Becca Morrison, Sofia’s cousin. “My favorite thing to see, though, is the amount of people posting year after year; it keeps growing!”

Every year, Dente would open the program with a long post sharing her daughter’s story and she would close it the same way. 

Dente takes a picture with her daughter, Sofia Isabella Dente. Sofia was born on January 26, 2011, and since then her impact has spread to thousands of people. Photo courtesy of Lori Dente

In 2021, the year that Sofia would have turned 10, Dente had people who were close to them during those three weeks share their experiences and how they have been impacted by the story. 

“I think that that was really impactful to do that during that tenth year for her,” Dente said. “And after that, it just sort of felt like maybe a natural ending.”

Dente says that with it ending on such a beautiful note, she felt like it was a good close to the project. Additionally, she was trying to react or comment to every single post to acknowledge people for participating but it got very time-consuming, especially with Sofia’s three little brothers to take care of. 

“It felt like it was pulling me away from real life instead of the whole purpose of taking a pause and finding the love,” Dente said. 

Even though the program closes on February 15, people continued to post on the project’s Facebook page all year long. 

“It just struck me that it is so much bigger than just me,” Dente said. “People were just finding the love because they knew about the program and they were continuing to share it and it was just something they were doing naturally. And they had a space to do it.”

This inspired her to let people know that the project was still there without putting too much pressure on herself to fuel it. 

“It’s been really neat to see how other people have acknowledged how happy they are to see that it is back,” Dente said. 

In the past month alone, there have been over 40 posts for the project, with new ones being added every day. 

“Seeing such beauty come out of something that was so dark and so difficult and being able to see posts of people I know or don’t know, again, all throughout the year, seemingly random, like them hiking through the woods and finding a rock that’s shaped like a heart and they think to stop and take a picture and post it in ‘Find the Love’,” Dente said. “And in that moment, for whatever reason, whether they’re aware of it or not, they are thinking of her life.”

People share a variety of things there, whether it is seeing a heart-shaped item and taking a picture of it or posting a picture of them seeing their grandchild off to college. 

“There are these huge moments of connection of the things that we love or the people we love the most that are all brought back to that because of this little baby girl who only got to live three weeks is by far the most impactful thing to me,” Dente said. 

Dente was surprised that so many people were interested in the project and so excited for it to come back this year. 

“I like participating in this project because, much like others, I find it exciting when I’m able to ‘find the love’ in the little (or big) things that happen during my day,” Morrison said. “As a college student, it’s sometimes hard to stop and take in the love all around me. ‘Find the Love’ has allowed me to take a breath and realize that I am surrounded by people who love me and support me, whether they’re here or back home.”

The project has become a place of support and kindness to whoever decides to participate. 

“Love, something good on social media, continues to be something that people come back to and continue to get excited about,” Dente said. 

Before the project started, Dente wrote a book titled “With Just One Push: A New Mother’s Journey of Love, Loss, and Survival” that documented her time in the NICU with her daughter and was later formalized and published. 

“I just kept writing out of healing, just to try and make sense of what happened,” Dente said. 

She was surprised by how many people were reading it and how it helped other people feel more comfortable with sharing their grief. 

“I think I was so public about our grief that people felt comfortable talking about something that would otherwise be so uncomfortable,” Dente said. 

Dente’s family also started a nonprofit for Sofia called Team Sofie Chapter Two which donates blankets back to the children’s hospital as a sign of support and comfort during a difficult time. 

Dente is incredibly touched by the fact that even twelve years later Sofia’s story is still impacting people and helping them find positivity in life.