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Leticia Robles: Continuing a Legacy of Caring

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By Sofia Robles

For many individuals, waking up every morning and going to work is simply a repeated process to fulfill financial obligations. For Leticia Robles, it is to fulfill a passion. Over 18 years ago, Leticia Robles leveraged her sharp mind and devotion to helping others into what has now become an impressive and successful career. She continues to live by the values of honesty, respect and kindness instilled by her parents and she exemplifies them both personally and professionally.

The year was 1960 when Leticia’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico as farmer workers in search of better opportunities for themselves but more importantly for their children. Although their journey to begin their new life was no small feat, as they never had the chance to graduate college, were unfamiliar with the culture of their new home and were limited in speaking English, they managed to develop roots in Stockton and build a home for their family.

Seven years later, Leticia was born. As the youngest of nine children, Leticia was raised in a family-oriented household in which she learned the importance of creating a warm home environment, caring for loved ones and developing values to turn to through every stage of life. “I have very fond memories of growing up and being together as a family. I’ll always remember my parents telling us to take care of one another. They always taught us through action, not just lectures,” said Leticia.

Focus on Education
Despite never having one of their own, Leticia’s parents always reminded her of the importance of a college education. From her childhood, they encouraged her to pursue her passions and strive for whatever she set her mind to. While they might not have been able to fully support her financially or give her insight into the material of her college courses, her parents supported her with love and by being the inspiration she needed as she began to make her mark on the world. “I feel like I won the lottery with my parents,” she joked, “They were strict but for good reason. They wanted the best for us. I always felt safe and loved.” Leticia continues to carry this gratitude for her parents and the nurturing support she received from them.

Thanks to the generosity of donors and scholarship programs such as the Community Involvement Program, which helped diversify the student body by encouraging local first-generation Stocktonians to attend college in their own community, Leticia attended the University of the Pacific. She graduated with a BS in business administration with a focus on international management. Being the natural born leader she is, Leticia was very involved in the student body, participating in clubs and organizing student events. It was at UOP where Leticia met her husband, Jorge. What began as a friendship between two first-generation 19-year-old college students has blossomed into 30 years of marriage and two daughters, Sofia and Emma. Leticia continues to raise her family in a way her parents would, by instilling the importance of looking out for one another.

The Beginning
As her parents predicted, Leticia’s education from UOP was the gateway to many opportunities throughout her career. Leticia would go on to work for Junior Achievement, starting as the program manager for the Sacramento division and later being promoted to the vice president of development for the Bay Area sector. It is no surprise that while at Junior Achievement, she won the National Pioneer Award for excellence and leadership.

When her daughters were born, Leticia decided to take a break from her career to raise them and spend quality time with them as their mom. “My best job of all,” she smiled. “I became a mama.” During this time, her parents, who had moved back to Mexico, visited many times and would always stay with Leticia and her family in their home. As the years progressed, Leticia could see age catching up to them. They simply could not do the day-to-day tasks they once did. Despite this, Leticia never considered sending them to a retirement home or putting them in the hands of someone they did not trust. How could she, when they had spent years devoting their care, respect and kindness to their own children decades before? This mindset would inspire Leticia as she pursued other business ventures.

Over 18 years ago, Leticia began working as an interpreter for Valley Mountain Regional Center, working with Spanish-speaking families who needed in-home care services. While working with these families, she noticed there were no agencies in Northern California who were treating their clients with respect, honesty and kindness. She realized these individuals were just thought of as clients and not someone’s loved one. So, after a discussion with Jorge, a borrowed $1,000 and a desk in her home office, Leticia founded Pacific Homecare Services.

The Gift of Care
Today, Pacific Homecare Services provides in-home care services for thousands of families throughout eight locations in Northern California. Despite the large number of clients her company serves, Leticia never thinks of them as a number or even a client, but rather as someone’s family member who is cared for deeply by someone else. Through her agency, individuals in need, whether they’re elderly or disabled, can have peace of mind knowing they can remain in their home by being cared for by a professional who would treat them as they would their own family member.

And that is what gets Leticia out of bed every morning. She often tells her admin team, “We are not in the business of building widgets, we are in the business of helping real live people. That’s it. That’s what we do. We have to show up every day and do our job or else we fail them.”

After the passing of her father, Leticia’s mother moved into Leticia’s home to be cared for until she passed away at the age of 94. During these years of caring for her mom, Leticia never looked at it as a burden or something she was obligated to do as the youngest child, but rather a privilege. To her, it was an honor to make her mother’s final years comfortable and peaceful just as she had done when raising Leticia. In a way, Leticia can see her own parents in each person her agency provides care for.

She often reminisces on the times when her mother was in Leticia’s home being cared for by Pacific Homecare caregivers. Leticia thinks back to the mornings when she would be upstairs getting ready for the day and could hear both her mother and her caregivers laughing hysterically with each other. Leticia would go downstairs and see a smile on her mother’s face. “This gave me comfort knowing my mother was in good hands. After years of seeing sadness on her face after the passing of my father, it warmed my heart to see a smile on her face. It was good for her soul,”
Leticia affirmed.

The Legacy
Although her parents are no longer with us, Leticia finds comfort in knowing she founded an organization built on the love her parents bestowed on her, which she can now channel into every individual, every family, and every care provider she works with every day. “Statistically speaking, aging individuals prefer to stay and live in their home, which benefits their overall health. It’s comforting to be able to stay in the home where they created memories. Our services allow people to be at ease knowing they can sleep in their own cozy bed or sit in their favorite chair. We can ensure they stay healthy by giving them their medication and taking them to doctors’ appointments,” Leticia explained.

Despite raising a family and running her own business, Leticia continues to be involved in her community. Currently, she is on the Board of Regents at UOP, the board of directors for the Children’s Home of Stockton, on the management team for Mezzo Restaurant, and she has developed numerous scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students. In addition, she acts as a leader in her own family, always bringing her siblings and family members together for holidays, special events or simply for Sunday dinners, just as she was taught by her parents.

In November 2023, Leticia was nominated and elected as the ATHENA Award recipient. “I’m truly honored to be recognized for this award. I’d like to share this honor with the individuals who have made a big impact on my life who go unrecognized. Without them, I would never have been chosen to be this year’s recipient.”

There are many women with backgrounds similar to Leticia’s. What has set her apart and led her to do extraordinary things has been her positive attitude on life and her ability to make use of the opportunities she was given. Growing up, she might not have been given the best odds, yet this did not hinder her from great achievement. Through all this, she remains humble and kind, knowing that, whether they’re here physically or not, the two people who directed her toward greatness are alongside her every step of the way.