Helping Reality Changers to Rise and Grind: Daymond John Fundraising Event Raises Scholarship Money for Inner-City Youth

Reality Changers usually relies on traditional philanthropy to support its programs but a recent event broke the mold, as some serious star power helped raise money for the college access and success program. Shark Tank TV star and New York Times bestselling author Daymond John, CEO of FUBU, headlined a fundraiser in late January. Hosted by Adventures by the Book®, the event helped raise money for deserving San Diego high school students who, much like Mr. John, have lofty goals of their own. In their case, it means becoming the first in their families to obtain a college degree.

“Reality Changers is honored to have someone like Daymond John convey his real-world experiences,” said Reality Changers’ Founder & President Christopher Yanov. “Mr. John’s own journey wasn’t typical, but neither was his tenacity and never-say-die attitude. We always instill these values in our students, so it was nice for them to see someone who has overcome difficulties to truly achieve the American dream.”

The Rise and Grind Fundraising Adventure was held on Thursday, January 25th at Reality Changers’ headquarters in City Heights. The festivities started on an inspirational note. Mr. Yanov asked the Reality Changers students, “Are you ready?” The students responded with a resounding: “Born ready!”

Then, Mr. Yanov interviewed Mr. John, and attendees learned about Mr. John’s unlikely journey to the top of the business world. Despite not attending college and multiple initial failures, Mr. John’s FUBU business grew into a retail empire. Mr. John also recounted:

  • Overcoming dyslexia and associated learning challenges
  • Growing his entrepreneurial spirit, which he started by selling pencils in elementary school
  • How mentors gave him a support system to succeed
  • Why benevolent leadership is important – Mr. John employed more than 100 people from his old neighborhood
  • The importance of giving back to those in need

Afterward, participants received a signed copy of Mr. John’s bestselling book, Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life.

Mr. John, usually seen on national TV in heated negotiations with other “sharks” like Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, and Mark Cuban, took time out of his busy schedule to meet students on the path to college. After discussing his personal struggles and successes, Mr. John talked about his latest bestselling book, Rise and Grind. He summarized some of the book’s key points:

  • It’s OK to be selfish with what’s important to you – your time, your goals, your family, and your health
  • Establishing a routine can help foster a killer work ethic
  • Develop your own support system of family and friends who will inspire and motivate you
  • Every day, set aside some time to discuss what you want your life to become – always keep long-term goals on your radar

Mr. John’s own successes will surely inspire Reality Changers students to chart their own unforgettable journeys. Mr. John concluded the fundraising event by discussing parallels between Shark Tank and the American Dream. “Our show illustrates how hard work, determination, and the ability to rise and grind can help anyone achieve their dreams. To me, it’s not just a TV show. It’s the practical application of what I preach every day, and I’m honored to be a part of it. I learn just as much from the guest entrepreneurs as they do from me!”

Reality Changers would like to thank Mr. John and Adventures by the Book® for a memorable, fun-filled event. If you’d like to make a donation to Reality Changers, click here. Thanks for visiting Reality Changers!

Chanel Bradley



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