Reality Changers helps youth throughout Southern California achieve the dream of higher education. Our experienced staff and volunteers utilize the “Tightrope Theory” approach to ensure students keep their focus on college. But that’s only half of the story; the other half involves our students’ grit, tenacity, and determination. Without these characteristics, even the strongest institutional backing will not guarantee success.
Our new feature, the Monthly Student Spotlight, will chronicle the obstacles and challenges Reality Changers students face on their journey to a better life – all from a first-hand point of view. And for our first spotlight, we’re honored to offer Ronald’s story. His struggles – and ultimate success – encompass all the qualities and leadership characteristics we help foster with every student, including a strong moral compass, fierce determination, and community service.
“What challenges have you faced growing up?
Throughout my entire life, my biological father was in and out of prison and on and off of drugs. Because of this, I naturally became the father figure to my little brother and the “man of the house.” My role at home became official on November 3, 2015 when my father was sentenced to nine years in prison for robbery. This forced me to take on many responsibilities, such as paying the rent for our motel room when my mother couldn’t, buying groceries, and taking care of my younger brother.
How has this impacted you?
My responsibilities at home have made a huge impact on my entire family; I had to take the initiative and network with people who could offer my family housing opportunities. I did this in hopes of finding a place to live, a place where we won’t fear getting kicked out and being forced to live on the streets. It also impacted my family by being a role model to my brother by getting good grades and being active in extracurricular activities such as soccer, gardening club, robotics, and Reality Changers.
What did you learn from these experiences?
Despite living in a motel and barely having any food on the table, I want to show my brother that it doesn’t matter what you are going through or the circumstances you are in, what matters is what you are going to do and what you are currently doing to change your future. I want to show him that even though we are poor we still have the same opportunities, if not more, than a person who is wealthy.
We’d like to thank Ronald for offering his story. His unique experiences illustrate the enormous hurdles our students must overcome in their quest for higher education. Our ability to assist disadvantaged youth depends on the generous contributions of individuals, philanthropic-minded corporations, and faith-based organizations. If you’d like to make a donation to Reality Changers and help students like Ronald, please give now. Thanks for visiting Reality Changers!