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.

Rappeller hanging off the side of a building

Over The Edge

Join Reality Changers for a one-of-a-kind fundraiser! Over the Edge is your opportunity to rappel down the side of a high-rise building. Enjoy gorgeous views of sunny San Diego and a life-changing adrenaline rush -- all while making a difference for local youth. No prior experience necessary, for participants ages 13 to 103!

Become a Volunteer Tutor

YOU can be the person who makes a difference in a teen's life! We're seeking collaborators who will work together with our youth to help them achieve their academic goals.

Volunteer tutors help out once a week in the evenings. No experience necessary. Training is provided.

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

graduation rate for First-Gen Youth


Young people served Annually

8th grade through early career


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

News: Reality Changers Wins U-T Community Heroes Award

Thank you to the San Diego Union-Tribune for selecting Reality Changers as a recipient of their "2022 San Diego's Best Community Heroes" award. As part of their annual Best Of readers' poll, readers and the Union-Tribune Community Advisory Board selected three local organizations and businesses "that have gone above and beyond for their employees and the community during this past year."
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News: Tamara Craver Advocates for First Generation College Students

Congratulations to CEO Tamara Craver for winning the San Diego Business Journal's CEO of the Year award! Tamara was profiled by reporter Karen Pearlman in the July 18th, 2022 edition of the Journal.
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22nd Annual Scholar Celebration

On Sunday, May 22, 2022, about 300 people gathered at UC San Diego @ Park & Market to celebrate Reality Changers’ graduating high school seniors. These 142 students from across San Diego County will be the first in their families to attend college and some are the first in their families to graduate from high …

22nd Annual Scholar Celebration Read More »

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We’re Just Getting Started

Since 2001, more than 3,000 students have graduated from Reality Changers. This spring, we’re celebrating an additional 142 graduating high school seniors who will become first-generation college students. But that’s only the beginning. With your help, we can ensure that students currently enrolled in Reality Changers have the resources they need to graduate high school. …

We’re Just Getting Started Read More »

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