President and Founder
Joy Rios has been married to Ralph Rios for 27 years and is the proud mother of four kids, now teenagers and young adults. Joy graduated from ODU in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and a minor in Special Education. She worked as a Special Education teacher while working on her Master's degree in Special Education until their first child arrived two years later. Joy began volunteering with the Holiday Project program through Virginia Beach Human Services 16 years ago. After receiving years of support, doing her research, choosing officers, and developing a mission, Connect With a Wish was ready to take off in 2014. Mrs. Rios has since been awarded the Hope Humanitarian Award in 2015 by the Salvation Army's Women's Auxiliary, and in 2016 was the recipient of the People Taking Action Award from News Channel 3, as well as an Exemplar Award Honoree in 2017. The Virginia Beach Human Services Department recognized Joy for her outstanding and dedicated service to Virginia Beach foster care children in 2017. Joy also accepted the Coastal Virginia Giving Back Award for Connect With a Wish in the years 2017 & 2018. Most recently recognized in April of 2019 for her Partnership and Teamwork with the Virginia Beach Department of Human Service. In addition she is currently on the Community Policy and Management Team for the City of VA Beach. a board member at Tidewater Friends of Foster Care, a member of the Affinity group for family violence & child advocacy with Hampton Roads Community Foundation and a member of the Human Services Advisory Committee at Old Dominion University. In 2022, Joy received the VBHRC's Human Rights Award.