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As a college undergraduate at Damon College in Amherst, New York, Regi Ching wasn’t sure what type of career she wanted to pursue.

She was studying humanities when she received an opportunity to work at the Buffalo Area Council on Alcoholism, where she taught alcohol education to teens in inner-city schools. Regi thrived in that role, and with some encouragement from a supervisor, she decided to become a social worker.

“I enjoyed teaching and educating, and the concept of empowering people to make informed decisions,” Regi said. “I loved it!”

She received her master’s degree in social work from SUNY Buffalo and a few years later, a friend who owned property on Hawaii island asked Regi if she wanted to take care of it for three years. Hesitant at first, after two years of her friend asking, Regi decided to make the change.

Following a cross-country trip in a two-door Dodge Colt with 18-wheeler drivers as company, she landed in Los Angeles and crossed the Pacific to the Aloha State. Hawai’i Island has been her home ever since.

Regi, a clinical supervisor, joined Hale Kipa in 2018. The nurturing environment that the organization provides is one of the things that she loves most about working there.

“It’s probably been the most supportive agency I have ever worked with in terms of allowing you to explore who you are and what you want to be, and being your best self as a clinician,” Regi said.

In her free time, Regi hangs out with her Jack Russell Terrier, Jackpot (named by her late husband, Delbert, who enjoyed trips to Las Vegas), reading, gardening, sewing, and cooking.