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!

Career Exploration Week

Career Exploration Week is a chance for students to see what real offices and job sites are like, identify interests, practice professional conversation skills, and understand the connection between college and career.

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 backgrounds that are typically underrepresented on college campuses, advancing equal education opportunities in our region and beyond.

Launching Agents of Change

College makes a big difference for underserved communities. Not only do college degrees open up new career prospects for individuals, but our work builds equity for families and neighborhoods. Reality Changers alumni create change by working, investing, and getting 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



Above the National Average

college graduation rate


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 focused on college readiness, academic support, and leadership opportunities for 8th through 11th graders. Students receive tutoring, join field trips, participate in community service outings, and more.


College Apps Academy provides cost-free support for high school seniors throughout the college application process. 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

The Alumni Network helps Reality Changers program graduates meet their academic, personal, and professional goals. We provide individualized services –including coaching, mentorship, and more– to young people in college and beyond.


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


We’re proud to share our latest Annual Report! This report, which covers the 2021 – 2022 School Year, includes profiles, infographics, an update on our strategic plan, and more.

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IRA Charitable Rollover

Anyone over the age of 70 ½ years old can take advantage of IRA charitable rollovers to benefit nonprofit organizations like Reality Changers and receive tax benefits in return. You can give any amount up to $100,000 annually from your IRA directly to a qualified non-profit like ours with zero tax burden. This gift option is often …

IRA Charitable Rollover Read More »

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Stock Donations for Reality Changers

Make an impact for Reality Changers by donating your long-term appreciated securities, including mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. When compared with cash donations, or selling your appreciated securities and donating the after-tax proceeds, stock donations allow you to automatically increase your gift and your tax deduction. How to Donate Stock to Charity Stock donation is easier than …

Stock Donations for Reality Changers Read More »

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NEWS: Johnny Ritchey Scholarship

The San Diego Padres and the Masons of California are partnering with Reality Changers to honor Johnny Ritchey, the “Jackie Robinson of the West Coast,” and provide 10 scholarships to Reality Changers college students. See below for the official press release from the San Diego Padres.

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