Joy Rios is the wife of Ralph Rios and the proud mother of three children they adopted. Her oldest child began her life in the care of a foster family in Virginia Beach until she came to them at 10 days old. As a young mother-to-be, Joy was anxious about the care her daughter was receiving. These fears were assuaged when she and Ralph met the wonderful foster family that was taking care of her. From there, the family grew with two more adoptions. Those experiences brought Joy to her passion for wanting to give back to those in the foster care system.
Joy has been a sponsor for the Holiday Project for over a decade. The Holiday Project is a program run by the City of Virginia Beach human services department. Each child in foster care is asked to make a Christmas list of a few items they would like most. The family worked to get each child at least 4-5 items on their list. Joy began to involve the students in my children's classrooms over a decade ago, and her involvement grew larger ever since.
Even with her involvement in the Holiday Project, Joy became aware that she wanted to do more all year round. After a few years of research and bouncing ideas, Joy founded Connect With a Wish. Check out Kathy Van Mollekom's article about CWW from May 2017. Joy has since been awarded the Hope Humanitarian Award 2015 by the Salvation Army's Women's Auxiliary, the People Taking Action Award from News Channel 3, the Coastal VA Giving Back Award 2017, and an Exemplar Award 2017. Read Beverly Kidd's article about the presentation of News 3's People Taking Action Award. Joy was also recognized by the Human Services Department for outstanding and dedicated service to Virginia Beach Foster Care Children. Joy has been featured multiple times on 94.9 The Point with Woo-Woo and with Dale Murray.