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.

Applications Now Open

Are you a high school student who is interested in joining Reality Changers? Apply to enjoy free field trips, after-school tutoring, community service opportunities, career workshops, mentoring, college applications help, scholarship & FAFSA support, and more!

Over The Edge

Make a difference for college-bound youth by rappelling down the side of the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel!

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 early career and families


Program 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

Haniyeh’s Story

“Nothing could turn me away from school. This is the reason I came to the United States. My mom sacrificed everything so my younger sister and I could pursue our education. A lot of people dream of these opportunities.” – Haniyeh Haniyeh is a Class of 2018 Reality Changers graduate, part of the first UCSD …

Haniyeh’s Story Read More »

Read More

NEWS: Johnny Ritchey Scholarship Awarded

Johnny Ritchey Scholarship recipients were celebrated on the field before the April 17th Padres home game.

Read More

Student Film

Congratulations to Reality Changers high school senior, Saad, for completing a short film that was showcased at the Media Arts Center San Diego’s Through Our Lens: Youth Stories of Expanded Learning in San Diego.

Read More

News: Tamara Craver Op-Ed

“It takes great strength, confidence, resilience, and grit to be first. Whatever you do next, whatever you overcome, wherever you go; no matter how big or small it may seem, you are making history –– and changing the future for those coming behind you.”

Read More


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Scroll to Top