This week, we surprised our People Taking Action Award winner, Joy Rios, at the headquarter of the charity she started in Virginia Beach. It's called Connect with a Wish.
The charity's board members, her husband, Ralph, and friends were there as well. She was wondering why they were all here on the July 4th holiday.
These folks are used to working odd hours and even on holidays but this day was special. News 3 presented Joy with our PTA and a $300 gift card from community partner Southern Bank.
She was surprised and wanted to know how we knew about her and charity. One of her board members, Michelle Zoby Payne wrote News 3 on Facebook and told us about how Joy works tirelessly in the organization she founded two years ago.
Connect with a Wish helps the 250 Virginia Beach foster kids and their foster families with everything from birthday presents to making sure the kids are able to take music or dance lessons.
Joy already has a plan for the gift card. "We have a lot of kids who are in different types of homes, group homes and things like that and it is possible they are getting overlooked on their birthday," says Rios.
She and the rest of the wonderful volunteers make sure every foster child has a present, cake, and other birthday fixings on their special day.
One of the people who wanted to celebrate Joy is Joyce Torrence. She is a foster mom who has two little girls in her care who wanted to take dance lessons.
"Not only does she pay for their tuition, but she was able to get tickets for my girls to invite their siblings as well as foster parents and social workers," says Torrence.
Rios was a foster mom herself and now she and her husband have adopted three children they were fostering. She knows full well how tough it can be on the kids and challenging for the foster parents.
Now she works hard to make sure these families have the tools they need to feel loved during what is in many cases a difficult time in a foster child's life.
And that's why this week's award winner is Joy Rios. Congratulations!