CONNECT WITH A WISH INC

Brightening the Lives of Children in Local Foster Care

aka CWW   |   Virginia Bch, VA   |  connectwithawish.org

Mission

Connect With A Wish works to connect the wishes and needs of children in local foster care with the generosity of our community. We provide the resources and support needed to give these children the opportunity to grow into positive and productive members of our community.

Ruling year info

2014

Founder & Executive Director

Joy Rios

Main address

2492 North Landing Road Suite 102

Virginia Bch, VA 23456 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-5415099

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There are appx. 5000 children in foster care in VA and there are about 240 youth in VA Beach foster care and these children are living in the system by no fault of their own. Our programs help smooth the transition into foster care (Handle with Care Bags), we furnish basic necessities (beds, clothing, car seats, etc.), we provide things that will brighten the lives of these kids (Field Trips, Specialty Camps, Birthday Bags). Our events help boost self-esteem (Prom Event, Interview Workshops) and help connect youth in foster care with others in similar situations (Youth Groups & Santapalooza). Connect With a Wish's calling is strong, and our work is necessary for the well-being of these children and the foster community. As one grateful foster parent once put it, we are “champions" for the children. CWW truly makes a difference.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wishes Program

Local children in foster care are able to make a wish, and Connect with a Wish will work to procure items or lessons that the child(dren) have requested. We provide extracurricular activities like sports teams, martial arts, clubs, music lessons, dance lessons, etc. We also provide wishes like special occasion clothing, instruments, bicycles, sports equipment, etc. We encourage wishes that have a long-lasting effect on the child's life and offer hope, nurture a dream, or promote future success.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our Supporting Success program provides for the needs of those in independent living situations or aging out of the foster care system. CWW assists in setting up their apartments as they move out on their own for the first time. We will help them navigate finding permanent housing, and procuring a driver's license and, through generous donations, we provide items like cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, pots & pans, and even small appliances.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Young adults

Our Birthday Brigade program ensures that every child in Virginia Beach foster care is remembered and celebrated on their birthday. Every month we get a list of children in VB foster care, with birthdays that month. We brighten their day by giving each birthday-child a personalized gift bag with a hand-made card, cake mix, frosting, party plates & napkins, and a great BIRTHDAY GIFT!

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

CWW provides every child removed from his or her home with a Handle With Care bag. These bags contain comfort items as well as necessities. We supply overnight bags filled with comfort items to ease the transition for children being removed from their homes and placed into foster care. Most children leave their homes with nothing at all and these bags are a great comfort to both the child and foster parent during this difficult time. Each is packed by age & gender, which creates tailor-made bags for each child and is theirs to keep.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

#GirlCode is CWW's monthly youth group for girls ages 14 -21. We take them on field trips, host guest speakers, and provide a safe space where these girls can interact socially and engage in sensitive topic discussions. We have had Vision Board Workshops, Self-Defense Class, and Yoga and Wellness Events. Some of our Field Trips have been going to Paint Studios, Bowling and going to the movies. These meetings & field trips help to bolster self-esteem, improve communication skills and create bonds between the girls and our volunteers. And they are FUN!

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

#757BYG is CWW's youth group for boys age 14-21 and aims to provide mentorship and fun experiences for foster care boys ages 14 to21. We take them on field trips, host guest speakers, and provide a safe space where these boys can interact socially and engage in sensitive topic discussions. We have had Body Training Classes, Kung-Fu, and Taco Night! Some of our Field Trips have been laser tag, Triple-A Baseball games, and going to the movies. These meetings & field trips help to bolster self-esteem, improve communication skills and create bonds between the boys and our volunteers. And they are FUN!

Population(s) Served

CWW's Placement Referral program provides needed items for the successful placement of children into foster homes, kinship care homes, or reunification. We provide items to make the transition into a foster home or kinship care possible, sometimes these items can help keep a child in their home. For example, we often supply mattresses, bunk beds, and bedding for these families. Diapers, car seats, and safety items are also provided.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Adolescents
Young adults
Children
Infants and toddlers
Preteens

Connect to Careers, Our most recent program, Connect to Careers, supports youth who are aging out or have recently aged out of foster care. The program helps these young adults with getting a driver's license, finding transportation, and finding a job or career to sustain an independent life. This includes services like job training, job searches, interview coaching, and resume advising. We hold monthly group meetings with resume workshops, job fairs, and to help connect the youth with employers in the community. Over many years of working with this age group, CWW has assisted many homeless youth by providing temporary housing until more permanent options become available.

Population(s) Served

With our Take 2 Community proposal, our goal is to provide youth aging out of foster care transitional, affordable housing for up to two years that includes wrap-around services through various community partners and collaborations that are imperative to ensure the success we expect from Take2 Community. The Take 2 Community, which will house 8 to 10 individuals in either an innovative and sustainable multi-unit development or in an existing structure reimagined for that purpose. CWW will provide our wrap-around support services for the residents and include collaboration with community resources as well.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Young adults
Adolescents
Young adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Young adults, Foster and adoptive children, Foster and adoptive parents

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of families who report they are supported in utilizing natural supports in their communities (e.g., family, friends, neighbors, churches, colleges, recreational services)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Young adults

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Of the 300 children mentioned in the year to year results section, every one of their families is exposed to these natural supports in our community.

Number of youth receiving services (e.g., groups, skills and job training, etc.) with youths living in their community

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our boys and girls youth groups service approximately 35 kids, and we provide them with counseling and skills training, along with social activities and field trips.

Number of youth who have a positive adult role model

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Foster and adoptive children, Orphans, Foster and adoptive parents, Grandparents

Related Program

#GirlCode Youth Group

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Connect With a Wish has motivational speakers present at certain meetings/events, and typically they were foster children as well! This provides the children with a visual of what they can become!

Number of foster youth who completed high school or equivalency

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Adolescents, Children, Infants and toddlers, Preteens

Related Program

Supporting Success Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

CWW communicates with the Human Services Department of Virginia Beach to receive updated data on foster care children. We ask for high school graduates, drop outs, college acceptance, and etc.

Number of clients who report that services/supports are available when needed, even in a crisis

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Adolescents, Children, Infants and toddlers, Foster and adoptive children

Related Program

Handle with Care

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

When a child is suddenly placed into foster care, Social Workers will reach out to CWW for a Handle With a Care bag. This bag provides needed personal items for the first few nights in their new home.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Connect With a Wish works to connect the wishes and needs of children in foster local care with the generosity of our community. We provide the resources and support needed to give these children the opportunity to grow into positive members of our community.
We have expanded most of our programs to serve the 7 cities, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, Newport News. We have added 2 new programs; Supporting Success program provides for the needs of those in independent living situations or aging out of the foster care system. Connect to Careers, assists Fostering Futures youth population navigate entering the workforce along with getting a driver's license, finding transportation, and finding a job or career to sustain an independent life. We hold resume workshops, host job fairs, and help connect the youth with employers in the community. Over many years of working with this age group, CWW has assisted many homeless youth by providing temporary housing until more permanent options become available. This leads us to our latest mission; Take 2 Community is a proposed affordable, transitional housing project. This is for the young adults aging out or recently aged out of foster care. This project will include wrap-around services via our Connect to Careers Program. Connect with a Wish’s housing proposal will provide safe and affordable transitional housing for foster youth aging out of foster care, while equipping them with the life skills necessary to support themselves and avoid future homelessness. Connect with a Wish recognizes the importance of working with other local organizations with similar missions to protect the vulnerable in our community.

We have many different strategies here at Connect With a Wish.
CWW provides each child in Virginia Beach foster care a Wish. We encourage wishes that have a long-lasting effect on the child's life and offer hope, nurture a dream, or promote future success. Our Placement Referral program provides needed items for the successful placement of children into foster homes, kinship care homes, or reunification. CWW provides every child removed from his or her home with a Handle With Care bag. These bags contain comfort items as well as necessities.These bags are theirs to keep. Our Clothes Closet program provides these children and young adults with enough clothes to attend school for a week without repeating items. Our Birthday Brigade program ensures that every child in Virginia Beach foster care is remembered and celebrated on their birthday. Connect With a Wish also facilitates Youth Groups for teen boys and girls in foster care. We take them on field trips, host guest speakers, and provide a safe space where these teens can interact socially and engage in sensitive topic discussions. Our Supporting Success program provides for the needs of those in independent living situations or aging out of the foster care system. CWW assists in setting up their apartments as they move out on their own for the first time. Our newest program, Connect to Careers, assists Fostering Futures youth population navigate entering the workforce. We hold monthly group meetings with resume workshops, job fairs, and to help connect the youth with employers in the community. Our Take 2 Community goal is to provide youth aging out of foster care transitional, affordable housing for up to two years that includes wrap-around services through various community partners and collaborations

In addition to these main programs, we also hold annual special events such as the Prom Event, Back-to-School Pep Rally, Summer Camps, Winter Coat Drive, and Santapalooza. These programs make sure no child is forgotten when it comes to their own special events such as Prom or Ring Dance, senior portraits, much-needed school supplies, engaging summer camps tailored to each child's interests and needs, a warm winter coat, or presents and a visit with Santa during the holidays. We serve not only children in the Virginia Beach foster care system but their potential and current foster families, those children deemed old enough to "live independently" within the system, those aging out of the system, those children at risk of entering the foster care system and kinship families. We also serve children & foster families in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, and Newport News.







Our capabilities are vast due to the generosity of individuals, community and national businesses and various community partners and collaborations. We utilize resources from local organizations and from national groups. We are very grateful to be able to provide for youth in foster care.

Although our organization was founded only 9 years ago, we have been able to positively influence the lives of children in Foster Care.
CWW started with just the Wish Program and has expanded with many more programs including a Placement Referral Program, Handle With Care Bags, Clothes Closet, Birthday Brigade, Youth Groups, Supporting Success, Connect to Careers. We have also added a Coat Drive, Christmas Party, Back-to-School Supply Drive & Pep Rally and a Prom Event.
Our next endeavor will be the Take 2 Community Housing Project.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve children and teens in local foster care.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We added African-American hair products to our Handle With Care bags. These are distributed by Social Services to the children on their first-night entering foster care.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The more feedback we receive, the more specifically we can ensure our programs and projects fit the needs of our actual client community, resulting in a higher level of inclusivity.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

CONNECT WITH A WISH INC
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CONNECT WITH A WISH INC

Board of directors
as of 09/30/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Joy Rios

Connect With A Wish

Term: 2014 - 2022

Joy Rios

Connect With a Wish

Ralph Rios

Rios Insurance Agency, Inc.

Michelle Payne

Ron Zoby Tours Inc.

Joe Anderson

Movement Mortgage

Don Rodriguez

Sysco District Sales Manager

Kathleen Roberts

Connect With A Wish Secretary

Susan Anderson

Connect With A Wish Advisory Member

Ashley Fussell

Soirees by Lauren

Terry Stevens

Connect With A Wish Treasurer

Courtney Vlk

Crunchy Carrot

Megan Cobbs

Foster Parent

Jeff Calhoun

Convergence Wealth Management

Mary Taylor

iMedical Healthcare Solutions

Jocelyn Scott

Colleen Luksik

Connect With a Wish Vice President

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/29/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/23/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.