ARLENE CHUA SAY SOTO
I live my life by the belief that “to whom much is given, much is also expected”. I feel very blessed in my life, so helping others is a fundamental component of my life.
I was born to middle class, second generation Chinese immigrants in the Philippines. Growing up in Manila, I learned to find joy in even the simplest of things. I had a loving family, and I especially liked spending time with my siblings and cousins playing hopscotch on the sidewalks or making airplanes out of newspapers.
My parents prioritized education as their heritage to their children, and a quality education has been a huge blessing for me. I value learning, as I experienced how education can transform lives.
Growing up in Manila also exposed me to the grim, harsh realities of life because I shared the city with many people who lived in extreme poverty. Their suffering was a daily reminder that I had been given much, and it was also a reminder that I mustn’t be complacent. I knew I needed to use my education to help others in whatever small ways I could.
My passion for volunteer work started during my high school days with my school’s Christmas outreach programs. We visited orphanages, charity hospitals, senior citizen’s homes and mental institutions. I was a regular volunteer at the Missionaries of Charity and recruited friends to help with the donation and delivery of diapers and supplies to orphanages and hospices. Although I no longer live in the Philippines, I still visit the orphanage and spend time with the abandoned kids whenever I’m there.
My education eventually led me to a job with Intel Corporation where I met my Costa Rican husband. We both relocated to Arizona where our daughter was born an American. The cultural mix in my own life – Chinese, Filipino, Costa Rican, American – has given me an even greater perspective of being a global citizen. We are all connected, and I look beyond political boundaries and seek to make the world a better place.
I am an optimist. I love meeting new people, mentoring and listening to their life stories, and inspiring and being inspired by them. Now a wife and a mother, I’m even more motivated to being a living testimony of God’s blessings. At the end of each day, I reflect on this question: “Have I made my family proud of me today?”