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.

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

Welcome Rosa María

Reality Changers is proud to announce that Rosa María Hernández has joined our team as our Vice President of Programs! Rosa María is an accomplished executive who is deeply committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in all aspects of life. Her exceptional ability to bring together strategic program initiatives, community relations, and development …

Welcome Rosa María Read More »

Read More

News: Students meet with State AtTorney General

On August 17, 2023, Reality Changers students gathered with youth from MidCity CAN and Youth Will for the first Youth Community Conversation held by California State Attorney General Rob Bonta. The purpose of this event was for the Attorney General to hear directly from California youth about the issues that are affecting their lives. Five …

News: Students meet with State AtTorney General Read More »

Read More
Employer Gift Matching

Employer Gift Matching with Reality Changers

As an employee or job seeker, you’re likely familiar with the benefits of employer-sponsored health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Many people don’t realize that employer donation matching is also a key benefit for employees. This often overlooked benefit can make a significant impact on your favorite charities and non-profits without ever costing …

Employer Gift Matching with Reality Changers Read More »

Read More
Smiling Reality Changers volunteers

Volunteer Opportunities in San Diego

You likely know by now that Reality Changers is not just any college prep program; it is a life-changing initiative that aims to break barriers, uplift communities, and pave the way for first generation college students to pursue higher education. As a volunteer-driven organization, we rely on compassionate individuals like you to make a difference …

Volunteer Opportunities in San Diego Read More »

Read More


Scroll to Top