top of page

Joy Rios

President and Founder

Joy Rios has been married to Ralph Rios for 30 years and is the proud mother of four kids, now 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 19 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.
Since CWW began Joy has 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 her for outstanding and dedicated service to Virginia Beach foster care children in 2017 & 2019. In 2022 the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commissions awarded Joy the Human Rights Award and in 2023 Virginia Governor Youngkin recognized Joy for her service in the field of foster care as he proclaimed May to be Foster Care Awareness Month. Joy also accepted the Coastal Virginia Giving Back Award for Connect With a Wish in the years 2017, 2018 & 2023. Joy is currently a member of the Affinity group for family violence & child advocacy with Hampton Roads Community Foundation, a member of the Human Services Advisory Committee at Old Dominion University, a member of Interfaith Alliance at the Beach, on The Kinship Roundtable, and is on the Norfolk State Child Welfare Advisory Board.

bottom of page