Maria “Ria” Raquel Thomas, a 13-year-old entrepreneur, Youtuber and philanthropist, has been appointed our first National Youth Ambassador.
Once appointed, Ria said, "I am very honored to be appointed as a youth ambassador for StandUp for Kids. The organization is about helping homeless kids get off the street and get into programs that will help them better themselves. My goal is to spread the word to other young people about youth homelessness and what StandUp for Kids is doing to address this concern.”
Ria is the owner of Ria's Slime Shop, an online store for tweens and teens who love slime. She makes the product because it is fun to play with and it helps calm kids. Since opening her online store in 2018, she has amassed over 14,000 followers on Instagram and her YouTube videos have garnered over 75,000 views from across the globe. Her business has been highlighted on ABC television and in print media.
Ria is an honor-roll student and an award-winning athlete. She was awarded the National "Girl of Merit" 2018 and 2019 award and was selected as a 2018 Junior National Young Leader. She is one of the youngest nominees for both Forbes "30 Under 30" and Inc magazine "30 Under 30." Recently, she became a member of the 2019 National Junior Honor Society.
Ria continues to give back to the community and has given a portion of her profits to organizations that are dedicated to children such as Victoria's Voice, SE4K, and StandUp for Kids.
"Through Ria's entrepreneurial work as an owner of a slime shop, her philanthropy, and her advocacy, she demonstrates what happens when someone is supported and given the tools to make their dreams come true. We need her help to replicate this again and again with the thousands of youth we serve across the country each year," stated Dr. Eddy Ameen, Co-Chair of the National Board of Directors.
Read more details in this press release and on Ria's website. Ria was also recently featured on wonderful CBS and Fox news segments in the Washington, DC area. Check these out to learn more about Ria and her pride of representing and supporting StandUp for Kids in our mission to end the cycle of youth homelessness.