We had the good fortune of connecting with Regina T Gamboa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Regina, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are of course so many layers to my answer, but without a doubt, my success comes from the Lord. I’m a woman of faith, so I try to live according to my purpose and honor God in everything I do. I don’t always succeed, but I earnestly try. You may think I’m joking when I say this, but I believe that I am blessed and highly favored and that my success is a direct result of God having His hand on me.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Interestingly enough, from an early age I was always intrigued by homeless people. On Halloween, I would always want to dress up like a “hobo” (or maybe it was because my parents were too cheap to buy us costumes)! Seriously though, I can remember wanting to be a journalist, so that I could interview homeless people and ask them why they were homeless. I was so very curious. Questions like “Where’s your mom and dad?” “Where do you sleep?” and of course, “Where do you go to the bathroom at?” As I got older of course, my thoughts changed as did my views and my heart. I began to see the homeless through eyes of compassion and sorrow. Although P1:1 provides a lot of resources to the community, serving the homeless is the core of what we do, and it is my passion… It’s my driving force when it comes to serving others. Has it been an easy road? Without hesitation, I would say, yes, because I love what I do. That‘s not to say that there hasn’t been challenges over the years both organizationally and personally. P1:1s challenges are more like frustrations such as housing and temporary shelter. Another challenge is seeing the potential in an individual that doesn’t see any worth or value in themselves due to years of external abuse or self-destructive behavior which makes choosing or believing that a different life is possible nothing more than a dream to them. However, the counterbalance to that is the great success stories that we’ve had the privilege to be a part of. Finances, as with any non-profit, can always be a challenge, but I have to say the Lord has been faithful to provide. I think that‘s one of the things that sets us apart from others that serve the community. I have no desire to chase a dream of becoming the BIGGEST non-profit or to serve a kazillion people. I think for me, I measure success in seeing a changed life and not so much the numbers. I am all for collaboration and very much against competition among non-profits. I have nothing to prove to anyone and I think our track record speaks for itself. I also don’t want to chase grant money to keep Project 1:1 going. My husband and I for the most part funded the majority of what was needed for the last 13 1/2 years of serving those in need. God truly has provided for us. I will say that 2021 proved to be a very lucrative year for Project 1:1 and because of that we have been able to serve the underserved in other capacities and provide more resources as well.
As far as my personal life, that’s proved to be a bit difficult at times. We have a special needs daughter who is 19 years old and 10 years ago I lost my 34-year-old daughter suddenly to a rare lung disease. I don’t know if the loss of a child has made me stronger. It has, however, made me realize the depth of my soul and that there are no words in any language that even comes close to describing the pain of that. These challenges definitely put things into perspective that’s for sure. If I’m being brutally honest (which I usually am) I’ve learned more about life from my non-verbal handicapped daughter and more about living through the death of my other daughter than from anyone else in my entire life. I appreciate every opportunity to be kind to someone whether they deserve it or not. I genuinely do see the good in people and I try to see everyone through the eyes of compassion, grace, and without judgement.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hmm that’s a tough one for me because I’m still in Covid paranoid mode, but if the world were back to “normal” whatever that is, my go-to spot is Little Italy. Going there in the morning is so delightful. As you stroll down the sidewalk, you get to witness the ol’ timers and locals sitting on their porches or the sidewalk cafes sipping espresso and eating fresh rolls, carrying on rich conversations in Italian and the smell of Solutos Bakery in the air… “il pane ha un profumo cosi buono,” which means, Oh the bread smells so good!
If Little Italy is not your thing, our city is diverse and rich in culture, I doubt if we would be at a loss for places to go. The question would be which way do we go? Do we head out to Grand Ole BBQ in Flinn Springs or Julian for apple picking and Mom’s Pie? Or maybe House Hash a Go Go in Hillcrest or Il Fornaio in Coronado. How about the endless ramen places on Convoy? Gosh the possibilities are endless! However, I would much rather have my friend come to my house. My husband and I love to cook and entertain. Were actually very competitive in the kitchen. My home is my happy place and my sanctuary. We work hard at making it a place where our guests feel welcomed and relaxed. It’s not unusual to have friends over for homemade pizza or a hands-on sushi night followed by chit chat around the fire pit. Once Covid is over I look forward having our home filled with lots of friends and laughter, reminiscing over good food and conversation. And if we’re lucky, a guitar or two and maybe even a horn!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
In and of myself, I’m a mess, but God has given me such an amazing group of people that stand beside me. That first group is my family. They are beyond supportive. My husband, my children, my siblings and even my 95 year old Father helps run Project 1:1. Project 1:1/Magnolia Project has many different areas of service and to juggle everything can be quite daunting at times. Our 13 1/2 years of success would not be possible without the help of not only my family, but also our amazing group of volunteers. We have a volunteer staff of 34. Most have been with us since 2008 when we first began. I’m a bit of a control freak and very particular with how I want things done. Yet, they’ve continued to stand beside my husband and I, which speaks volumes about their compassion, dedication, and loyalty not only to us, but to the people we serve. Our Board of Directors team consists of 10 ten members. I guess it takes that many people to keep me out of trouble! Project 1:1 is a group effort and I couldn’t be more pleased with our team. I am BLESSED!
Linkedin: Regina T Gamboa
Facebook: Regina Delos Angeles Gamboa or Project 1:1
Photograper Joe Ramirez, Mission Focused