Bianca Alvarado (featured on the right) has volunteered as a mentor with College Town for the past 3 months at Reality Changers.
What motivated you to volunteer with Reality Changers?
What motivated me to start volunteering was seeing the impact Reality Changers is having on their students. I work with youth and have been following Reality Changers’ work for the past 2 years, via the website and social media. I wanted to experience the work in person.
What do you do outside of Reality Changers?
I work on projects related to youth. I teach youth about digital media, freelance around the same topic, and support Hispanic businesses. I am an educator with over 8 years of experience in innovative program design and management, curriculum development, and strategic partnership cultivation. I am also a community leader with 7 years of experience engaging in projects related to community development, STEM, and workforce development. Lastly, in my free time I enjoy walking and hiking, getting to know new trails, and spending time with my nieces and family.
Tell us about a time that was a meaningful moment for you as a Reality Changers volunteer.
A particularly meaningful moment was when I met with my new mentee. All of the work that she’s doing in her community and school, the leadership she’s taking on at such a young age (she won a presidential award for her leadership and community work) impressed me. This made me reflect and analyze what Reality Changers is doing. I saw myself reflected in my mentee as she is so motivated to pursue leadership opportunities. It was amazing to connect with her to see the skills and support she’s getting from Reality Changers around leadership.
What is one opportunity that you are currently focused on in your role as a volunteer?
I’m always trying to find ways to serve youth that aligns with their needs. I want to see their needs from their perspective to better serve them. Right now, it’s difficult to connect online so I’m finding other ways to connect (i.e. via text) and deepen my knowledge of what they’re going through.
If you could encourage someone else to volunteer at our organization, what do you wish they knew about Reality Changers?
I wish people knew that there are real stories happening at Reality Changers. Getting to know the youth on a personal level and seeing how their stories make them different, as they each have unique backgrounds, is a reason to volunteer with Reality Changers. Getting to know these stories helps you understand a new dimension of Reality Changers’ work and gives you a deeper understanding of Reality Changers’ mission.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I’m from the San Diego – Tijuana border. When people get to know me they want to attach an identity to me, that I’m from one side or the other, but I am from both sides of the border. I grew up as a child in Tijuana, but at 6 years old I moved to San Diego so I identify with both places.
Anything else you want to share about volunteering at Reality Changers?
I’m always doing a lot of things between work and other projects. It’s hard to say yes to volunteering and commit to something else. However, volunteering at Reality Changers is not just about connecting with the students. There are so many more benefits of being a part of a new community. As volunteers, not only do we get to connect deeply with the stories of the students, but we also get to connect with the Reality Changers community. I’ve had an opportunity to meet other professionals in the San Diego community and see the impact they are having in San Diego. Volunteering at Reality Changers gives me a chance to connect with like-minded individuals.