5 smiling future first-gen college students

College Changes Everything

Reality Changers is a nonprofit organization in San Diego that prepares youth to become first-generation college graduates and agents of change in their community.

Farm to Table(aux)

Thursday, April 11

Support first-gen futures while enjoying live painting, artisanal food, and world class entertainment and MORE!

Career Exploration Week

April 2 - April 5

Career Exploration Week is an annual event where future first-generation graduates visit workplaces across San Diego County.

Steven's Story

Get to know Steven, a Class of 2022 high school graduate, who is currently completing his first year at San Diego State University.

Student working on a poster

Give Monthly

Monthly giving spreads the financial impact of your contributions across the entire year, lessening the one-time impact on your wallet and allowing you to give more over time.

Our Work

Smiling high school graduate with cap and gown

Supporting First-Generation Futures

Reality Changers serves youth who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. Our programs support students from racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and academic backgrounds that are typically underrepresented on college campuses and overlooked by institutions. In fact, before Reality Changers, many of our students may not have considered themselves "college material."

Launching Agents of Change

College degrees create new opportunities for individuals. On average, a Bachelor's degree increases a person's lifetime earnings by 84%.

College builds equity for underserved communities. Not only do our graduates bring new economic resources to their families and neighborhoods, they also and work, invest, and get involved in their communities.

2 young adults in professional attire

Our Youth

High school student standing outside

Alvaro (‘23)

The Preuss School UC San Diego
“Reality Changers shows you that school could change your life, even if you don’t think it might.”
Karina Cardenas Graduation

Karina (‘17)

UC Berkeley
“Reality Changers has definitely been the backbone in my life, in my academics and on a personal level.”

Michael (‘10)

“Reality Changers taught me how to discover the power of my own story.”

Our Impact


X 7

Seven times more likely

to graduate from college


people served Annually

8th grade to career & families


High School Graduates

Since 2001

Our Programs

A volunteer tutor helps a high school student

College Town

College Town is a cost-free afterschool and summer program for 8th-11th graders. The curriculum focuses on building a strong foundation of academic, personal, and community-building skills. Students receive tutoring, join field trips, participate in community service outings, and more. Programs for families help to build resiliency and prepare parents for college.


College Apps Academy provides cost-free support for high school seniors through the college application process and beyond. We help students get into the 2 and 4-year institutions that are the best fit for them, with an emphasis on maximizing financial aid options and preparing for college life.

Reality Changers alumni at a reunion

The Alumni Network

Just getting first-generation students into college isn’t enough. Nationally, 90% of first-generation, low-income college students don’t graduate within six years. The Alumni Network helps youth get through college graduation and launch their careers.


Volunteer tutor helps a student who is using a computer


Looking to get involved with nonprofit organizations in San Diego? You can be the person that makes a difference in a young person’s life.



Come see our education center and meet students working to become first-generation college graduates.



Help youth achieve their dreams.

Blog and Media Coverage

See How Reality Changers Makes a Difference

Meet Victoria

When Reality Changers alum Victoria (‘13) was getting ready to begin applying to college she knew that she would need support. Victoria was eager to be the first in her family to attend college, and knew that the best way to achieve this goal was by finding a like-minded community of peers who understood what she was going through.

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Meet Mariel, First Generation College Graduate

Mariel (‘09) is one of the many Reality Changers staff members who have participated in the program themselves. She joined Reality Changers in 2005, early on in the organization’s history. And she knew that Reality Changers was the place for her.

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Where are they Now: Jonathan

In 2001, Jonathan was part of the first-ever class of Reality Changers students. Growing up, college was an aspiration for him and his family. With his involvement in Reality Changers, Jonathan was able to find a community of like-minded peers, all with the goal of becoming the first in their family to go to college. 

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Meet Sheyla

When she immigrated to the United States from Cuba, Sheyla (‘22) realized that the path to higher education she was familiar with in Cuba wouldn’t be the same in her new country.

Read More


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