After working with gang members for five years, Reality Changers Founder Christopher Yanov felt that it was just not right that most inner-city teenagers today know more people who have been shot or killed in the street than people who are on the road to college.
As a response, Reality Changers began in May 2001 with four 8th grade students at the Hispanic Presbyterian Church near downtown San Diego with the hope of building first generation college students. Starting with just $300 to its name, Reality Changers has given more scholarship awards to college-bound students than any other single organization in San Diego County since 2006.
Reality Changers opened their second location at Solana Beach (2004) and two additional chapters in the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights (2006 and 2011), with new sites led by program graduates. More recently, Reality Changers moved to a new headquarters in City Heights in April 2008 and became California’s leading tutoring program for scholarships in June 2009.
In 2011, Reality Changers launched its new social enterprise, College Apps Academy. This mission-driven endeavor offers college application assistance to ALL high school students. For every full-paying customer in College Apps Academy, Reality Changers can serve up to five inner-city students for free. This expansion of services will lead Reality Changers to have nearly as many graduates in 2012 as the program has had in its first ten years of existence.