Ministering to the Community
Juan and Martha Soria have built a life around family, faith, and fellowship.
The couple, who have been married almost 50 years, have five adult children and multiple grandchildren.
“We try our best to anchor our family and walk the journey with them,” said Juan.
“He works on our children. I work on my grandchildren,” said Martha. “I want to be present for them, and I am.”
That “work” takes the form of mentoring and ministering to family and anyone who crosses their path. He’s currently mentoring two grandsons on the importance of financial literacy.
Juan is an entrepreneur who, along with his wife, owns and manages apartment buildings and other real estate.
Early in his journey, Juan launched a career in finance. “I started working for a finance company, and I just loved it. I told Martha that I had found my love,” Juan said.
“Which was me,” Martha jokingly said.
“Of course, honey, but I also loved finance work because I can help and mentor people,” Juan said.
At the time he left the finance industry, he was managing 42 retail mortgage centers in 13 states.
Martha is a retired school teacher, administrator, and college counselor. “I was a college counselor for years, and I sent many kids to college because I knew that was going to change their lives.”
Today, while Juan spends much of his time managing their properties, Martha is a volunteer and member of the Queen of the Valley Hospital Auxiliary.
“When I started coming to the hospital, I was a cuddler,” Martha said, who would hold, feed, soothe, and talk softly to newborns for three hours each week. “It was a wonderful job. I would cuddle my babies all the time, and I felt they needed it.”
Martha also shares her time supporting the women of the auxiliary in a variety of ways.
“I help the ladies with their computer skills. Many of them don't know how to use the phone, or how to text, email, and scan, so I teach them. I see it as a ministry because it's helping the ladies, their socialization, and their support system.”
Active members of St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in West Covina, the Sorias have lived in the community for 36 years and built relationships with many people through church ministries and mentoring others.
“In the old way of mentoring, the apprentice is sitting with the Master,” Juan said. “As we sit at the foot of the Lord, let me sit down at the foot of the Master and learn from him. I enjoy this fellowship very much.”
The Sorias recently met with Emanate Health President & CEO Roger Sharma and former CEO Rob Curry to discuss the work of the hospital system and to weigh their interest in helping to bridge their community with Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina.
“Emanate Health is looking to help this community,” Juan said. “It's that young man who didn't have insurance coverage. It’s that young man who didn't know that there was a place for him. That young man was once me, so I want to help.”
The Sorias' reason for giving is tied to their faith and life experiences.
“There’s a bible verse in Mark about a woman who gave her last two coins, but that was such a generous gift for her. Christ said it was more than what the wealthy gave because it was everything that she had,” Martha said. “I give because I feel that it's important to always find the people who are most in need. It's not just giving money. It's also giving from the heart. It's giving emotional support and holding someone's hand when they need it.”
Juan has never forgotten where he came from.
“Why do I give? A lot of people gave to me. I was raised by a single mom on welfare. We were migrant workers and I received a lot from complete strangers. People had no real reason to take care of my mom’s family, yet they did, so that left an imprint on me. I’m going to give back to my community and that’s something that’s very dear to me.”
The Sorias Take on a New Role
To support Emanate Health Foundation’s ambitious $25 million comprehensive campaign, Juan and Martha will serve as Ambassadors and Campaign Co-Chairs for Queen of the Valley Hospital, focused on rallying support for fundraising efforts among West Covina residents and hospital staff.
“As a community, we need to do whatever we can to give Queen of the Valley Hospital the tools that it needs to enhance medical facilities and patient treatment now before the next health care emergency strikes,” Martha said.
Proceeds from the campaign will support facility expansion—including the new Emergency Department/Intensive Care Unit at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina—and patient care programs at Emanate Health hospitals and care centers throughout the region.