Meet Our New Owner

Rita Pin Ahrens

Rita Pin Ahrens

Chief Happiness Officer, Child’s Play Toys & Books

Rita Pin Ahrens brings a lifetime dedication to play, education and social justice to her role as chief happiness officer for Child’s Play Toys & Books. As a long-time customer, former teacher and community advocate, Rita is honored to continue the legacy of Child’s Play as a beloved neighborhood toy store that has brought happiness to families for 35 years.

A Khmer refugee who settled in Idaho, Rita learned to speak English playing Scrabble with her family. Her passion for games and imaginative play led to this junction in her career, from creating kung fu theater shows as a child to building LEGOs with her son and daughter. She’s particularly proud of play testing the Dungeons &Dragons 4.0 Forgotten Realms campaign with her husband, Russell. (She’ll even show you the play tester credits in the handbook!)

Rita’s love of supporting children’s creativity was clear in the classroom, where she taught weekly origami lessons and website programming to her middle school math students. She took this passion into the nonprofit world, where she spent fifteen years advocating for increased educational opportunities; economic mobility; and diversity, equity and inclusion, with a particular focus on immigrants and refugees. She recently retired as the executive director for OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, the nation’s second oldest civil rights organization for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Rita continues to nurture her artistic side and inner child by performing classical Cambodian dance, oil painting, charcoal drawing, urban edible landscaping and writing poetry. She is currently illustrating a children’s book and loves binging Netflix late at night. She also makes sure to set aside time each night to play with her son, before reading his bedtime story.