Gabby Herencia https://realitychangers.org Tue, 05 May 2020 00:43:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://realitychangers.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cropped-RC-Logo-32x32.png Gabby Herencia https://realitychangers.org 32 32 Impact Story: Whitnie Szutu https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-whitnie-szutu/ Wed, 06 May 2020 01:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14982 Read More

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Whitnie Szutu has been a volunteer tutoring students in the College Town program with Reality Changers for nearly a year and a half.

What is the biggest challenge your students are facing due to the impacts of COVID-19?

I think the biggest challenge that my students are facing right now is feeling disconnected from their friends due to the quarantine. They’ve told me that they miss their friends. Losing the social aspect of their education must make it more difficult to cope and focus with all that is happening right now, especially with the transition to online classes.

How did it feel when you were able to provide support to your students?

I always look forward to the programs at Reality Changers on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The support I provide the students ranges from small talk, to academic support, to being a listening ear for personal concerns. It feels rewarding to be able to be there and support my students during this time of uncertainty and worry. I know that they are still hanging in there and being able to catch up with what is happening in their life. Hearing their priorities reassures me that the students and their families are still doing well. 

With so many great organizations to support, why should individuals choose to support Reality Changers?

Reality Changers is such an integral community for the students. All the staff goes above and beyond to provide a safe place of unconditional support. Every person involved has a meaningful impact to how the kids succeed, whether it’s academic or personal. I think supporting Reality Changers means being able to provide more students the resources to pursue their dreams and make their families proud. Being able to go to college is not something that everyone has the financial or emotional resources for, but Reality Changers strives to make sure each of their students gets the resources they need. 

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers?

I think people should know that Reality Changers is more than just a program, but it’s a family of students, staff, and tutors who all care for each other. On top of that, Reality Changers helps make sure students are well-rounded individuals, so that they reach personal and professional success. The longer I have volunteered for Reality Changers, the more I’ve learned that there is more to each student than meets the eye. The students are all bright and unique, and their level of ambition is outstanding. Speech Night is definitely a great showcase to get a glimpse of how much these students overcome and accomplish, so I would definitely recommend everyone to attend at least one!

What are some of your hopes for the future? 

I hope I get to bake brownies for my students soon! I miss them a lot, and I want to see them excel in their classes, get accepted to the college of their dreams, and walk across that graduation stage. I hope that Reality Changers continues to positively impact students across the county, who will eventually become leaders across the world.

Support #GivingTuesdayNow by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Efforts

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Impact Story: Ananely Alonso https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-ananely-alonso/ Tue, 05 May 2020 22:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14986 Read More

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Ananely Alonso joined Reality Changers in the 11th grade and is going to be a rising senior in high school. She is currently receiving support from our College Town program.

What is one way Reality Changers has supported you during this global pandemic? 

During this pandemic I have been given support by Reality Changers in many amazing ways. Reality Changers provides a space for me to be social with my friends and coaches in the program through Zoom. I was afraid at first because I thought that I would not be able to see my friends again, but Reality Changers made it possible which I truly appreciate. Aside from giving me a space to interact with the people I love they have also made it clear to me that if my family and I ever need food they will be there to help me. I have been going to many food drives due to the fact that money is very limited right now, so knowing that Reality Changers is there for me just in case our food runs out is such a blessing. 

How did it feel when Reality Changers provided you with support? 

When Reality Changers provides me with support I feel cared and loved for. I absolutely love that Reality Changers cares deeply about me and my family. Reality Changers makes me feel like I am a part of an even bigger family because they truly care about my well-being. When they provide me with support I feel more at ease and less afraid. As cheesy as this sounds, Reality Changers is the light at the end of the dark tunnel for me. They help me however they can and I will forever cherish them. 

What would you say to someone considering making a donation to Reality Changers?

Making a donation to Reality Changers will make you a part of our family because it shows that you care about us. Reality Changers is such an amazing program that helps hundreds of low income students achieve their dreams. Through the good or the bad, Reality Changers will always be there for us and with your donation you are helping them find new resources for us (the students). I can confidently say that Reality Changers believes students come first. Thank you so much. 

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers?

To any student who needs academic or emotional support Reality Changers is the best program for that. We are a big family. I have been in Reality Changers for about seven months and I would go to the end of the world for them. They have helped me a lot and one day I’ll be able to donate money to them. Reality Changers is special and I hope everyone is able to acknowledge that. 

What are some of your hopes for the future? 

Some of my hopes for Reality Changers is that it will have huge companies and corporations who support us. I want Reality Changers to be known worldwide because I want to see programs similar to Reality Changers begin to spread around the world. There are more students in the world who need the same help that I am receiving. Hopefully one day, they too will be given the support to go to college.

Support #GivingTuesdayNow by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Efforts

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Impact Story: Martin Bolteada https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-martin-bolteada/ Tue, 05 May 2020 20:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=15003 Read More

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Martin Bolteada is the father of Carla Bolteada. Carla is in the 11th grade and is currently receiving support from our College Town program at Reality Changers.

What was your life like before your child joined Reality Changers and how has it changed? 

For me, it was an obstacle to help my student with school work because English is not my first language. I only finished high school so I could not help them with a lot of their work. Reality Changers has changed our lives a lot because they have motivated my children to get good grades, get involved with the community, and do everything they can to make it college one day. Reality Changers has been a positive influence for my children and I will forever be thankful. 

What is one way Reality Changers supports you and your family during this global pandemic? 

Reality Changers continues serving my family. They provide academic support for our children and they also offer help and information about financial assistance or unemployment aid for parents. 

How did it feel when Reality Changers was able to provide you and/or your child with support?

Honestly, it was a relief for us because my student has been able to receive support three times a week. 

What would you say to someone considering making a donation to Reality Changers?

I would thank them and I would say that their donation is like an umbrella for all those seeds that are waiting for an opportunity to be born and bear good fruit for our community. 

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers? 

Reality Changers is a non-profit program that works very hard so that our children can become successful college graduates. They are doing everything they can to motivate our students to pursue higher education and set a great example for future generations in our community.

Support #GivingTuesdayNow by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Efforts

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Impact Story: Alexandra & Samantha Beas Mora https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-alexandra-samantha-beas-mora/ Tue, 05 May 2020 17:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=15008 Read More

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Alexandra and Samantha Beas Mora are twins and joined Reality Changers in the 12th grade. They are both currently receiving support from the College Apps Academy program.

What is one way Reality Changers has supported you during this global pandemic? 

Alexa: Reality Changers has motivated me to continue pursuing my education no matter what the circumstances are. This program pushed me to the potential I never saw in myself at the beginning of the school year. They have proved to me that no pandemic could deviate me from my dreams of going to university. Not only do they take the time to still give us all lessons, but they also support me and encourage me to keep going even on the days where I have felt so drowned and hopeless. They listen to all my struggles and help me come up with solutions, so that this distance is not a problem… they motivate me to move forward always.

Samantha: Reality Changers has helped me a lot during this global pandemic situation with COVID-19. I’m grateful that they’ve continued to host the weekly lessons. Also they’ve been more than happy to help me when offering office hours on Zoom. Reality Changers always sends me emails, making sure to stay safe, not feel so down and keeping me busy with scholarship opportunities, surveys and mental health. It’s been very difficult for me to make a college decision. Reality Changers are people that have made me realize that my thoughts and feelings matter. In addition, any doubts or issues that I’m having, whether they be personal or academic, they demonstrate and constantly remind me that they are here for me and that I’m a priority for them. Therefore, I appreciate and value the group and individual zoom meetings that have been hosted online. 

How did it feel when Reality Changers provided you with support?

Alexa: I felt as though when everything was lost, there was a light shining upon me. It felt miraculous, and my joy was and still is overwhelming.  I never thought anyone could help me as effectively, both mentally and academically since I always solved my own problems alone. When it came to writing essays, or writing my thoughts on a piece of paper, I thought I would never be good at it. However, this program never shamed me. If anything they uplifted me and I take it as a gift from God. I could never thank my instructor, my peers, and every single soul involved in this organization enough for all the sincere support and action made for me to succeed and be happy. 

Samantha: Reality Changers makes me feel less confused and I felt like they brought some clarity into my life. The people are what make Reality Changers. Being part of this organization just bought a comfort in my mind and my heart because they made me learn more about my persona. The thought of even applying to college scared me because I’ve never been sure of myself and my decisions. When Reality Changers began to support me, they didn’t just support me with material resources. It was much more than that. They reminded me that they were there to help me when I would hit a wall, become frustrated, or when I was constantly being negative about my chances of being someone in life. Their support and energy made me recognize how capable I am to get things done and this allowed me to learn more about my story as well. That was the main thing that struck me, because they helped me discover that there was more to my story than I thought. They helped me remember where I come from and who to value more in my life and to value myself more. They enlightened my perspective on life and what they teach you applies to everything, school, relationships, careers, personal issues and more.

What would you say to someone considering making a donation to Reality Changers?

Alexa: This is the best investment you will ever make towards the entire world, not just one community, or to one country, but globally! Thanks to you, low income students will have the opportunity to pursue higher education and create positive change in the future generations. You’re contributing to the happiness, hard work, and dreams of all students. You’re an inspiration! Without you, there wouldn’t be leaders to help all these students. Everyone deserves the free opportunity to continue their education. You’re making millions of dreams come true! God bless you always and with your donation you are our blessing!

Samantha: Make a donation to Reality Changers! They will not disappoint you. They help literally shift the reality of all those kids that struggle to find meaning in their life, to understand the value in receiving and continuing an education. You’d be saving a kid’s life. I think a lot of the issues nowadays adolescents are having a hard time with being mentally safe. If you don’t have a healthy mindset, this affects all aspects of your life. One big aspect is education. When a kid enters this program, I can guarantee you that their whole perspective on life will positively change. They’ll learn their meaning in life, and receive some clarity in their path towards being someone in life. Students can become someone who takes care of their community even when they may have not felt like they didn’t seem to matter to their community. Reality Changers is a community that will help all types of kids discover themselves and that will help better their paths in life.

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers?

Alexa: Through Reality Changers, you will learn what it is to pursue something so valuable to you that you will realize you are not alone in your journey. You will be reassured that your hard work is admirable and worth so much more than you think. Reality Changers will push you to want to become the best version of yourself and take action upon that. Your economic disadvantage will never be a barrier in this program, but through it you’ll end up viewing it as one of the most valuable pieces of your life. You will accomplish and develop skills that you either never thought you could do or were ever even good at. Best of all, you will be inspired so much that you will believe in yourself. You’ll be so proud of yourself for it all, and so will your family and the entire program… trust me this program will always have a special place in your heart and mind. 

Samantha: I think what a lot of people don’t see is that Reality Changers isn’t just meant to pursue a higher education. It is so much bigger than that. You will get to understand yourself more as a person, discover your limits and become more inspired and motivated to do things in life. You’ll start to notice the people that surround you more. What I mean by notice is that you’ll learn to value your family members more, your friends, and your teachers. It’ll help you gain respect for knowledge and value relationships and the accomplishments in life whether they’d be little or big. You’ll learn to depict who are the people in your life that have been there since day one and have always and continue to push you to be better for yourself. One main thing too, you should realize that Reality Changers is like a family. Everybody looks out for each other, no one gets left out, and I mean absolutely no one. We all make one, and if you struggle then we all struggle, but we’re always going to be there when you’re struggling because that’s what families do. Also, you’ll start to understand who you are as a person, and go through things and surpass things and realize that you are so much more capable than what you think!

What are some of your hopes for the future? 

Alexa: I hope with all my heart to come back to Reality Changers and assist all of you, because seeing how hard my instructor (Christian Feliciano) worked to help me accomplish things even on the days I almost gave up on myself has inspired me to give back to my community as much as possible. I hope nothing but the best for Reality Changers’ families, staff, instructors, volunteers, students… all of you deserve all the positivity and educational opportunities in the world. I hope you continue to help realize the dreams of students, like me, in similar living circumstances. I know you will and I hope to witness it all over again in my future. I wish you growth, mental health, economic stability rising through the roofs, scholarships, peace and love within each and everyone of you. Go make dreams happen. 

Samantha: I hope to be happy. That is all I ever want, which is to reach my happiness. I hope to make myself happy and my parents happy. I hope to become a professional and be passionate about my profession. I hope to continue my education and work hard enough to one day receive my Ph.D. There’s this saying that goes, “not everything that shines bright is gold,” which makes me come to value my parents a million times more. My parents deserve tons of blessings and all I want in this life is to repay them for all the love, care and the fruitful knowledge that they’ve given me and helped me gain and continue to give me everyday. With that being said, I hope that one day I make it happen so that the whole world knows who my parents are. I plan on writing a book for each of them, or produce a movie of their stories or maybe both. But one thing’s for sure, I will work twice as hard to give back to them. I also hope to give back to my community and I hope I can change one kid’s life. Just like Reality Changers helped me change my perspective on life, I hope to one day be able to do the same for a kid that I was once like and be part of RealityChangers in the future. I don’t know what life holds for me, but I know that God helps those who help themselves, and if I continue to work hard towards my dreams and goals, I am one step closer to achieving the happiness that comes with them. Thank you.

Support #GivingTuesdayNow by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Efforts

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Impact Story: Paola Romero https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-paola-romero/ Tue, 05 May 2020 14:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=15016 Read More

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Paola Romero joined Reality Changers when she was in the 12th grade and graduted from high school in 2016. Paola is currently attending San Diego State University and plans to graduate this year. She is currently receiving support from our Alumni Network program.

What was your life like before joining Reality Changers?

Before Reality Changers, going to college wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t put much thought into going to college and really, I had no idea what the first step was to apply to college. Before Reality Changers, I didn’t know much about college applications and the admissions process. In high school, I had good grades and started thinking about what I wanted to do after I graduated. I realized that it was college, but I didn’t even know where to start on the applications, testing, deadlines, or anything else.  

Now that you have graduated from the program, what is your life like now?

I am a fourth year student at San Diego State University. I will be graduating this May. I am a Child and Family Development major with a minor in Counseling and Social Change. I am working as a Counselor Intern for SDSU Upward Bound/ HCOP, which is a college prep program that serves first generation, low income students. Reality Changers helped me so much during high school and I would not be where I am now if I didn’t receive that support. I want to be able to give back to the students who come from similar backgrounds and be a part of their support system, just like the Reality Changers team has been for me. 

What is one way Reality Changers has supported you during this global pandemic?

I still feel Reality Changers’ presence, even from a distance. The Reality Changers Alumni Network set a RC Real Talk Session to hold space for alumni to talk about how campus closures have impacted us and how we have been feeling through it all. They also shared valuable resources with us. Reality Changers isn’t just for academic support or to get help with college applications. They are more about building a community with students and helping us out academically, professionally, and personally. 

How did it feel when Reality Changers provided you with that support?

It feels great knowing that Reality Changers is still here to support me. I know that I have a support system within the Reality Changers team and can go to them for anything. It gives me peace of mind knowing that I am not alone. It makes me feel like they still believe in what I can do and it motivates me to keep on going. 

What would you say to someone considering making a donation to Reality Changers?

Your donation, no matter what size, is kindly appreciated by the Reality Changers team and students. The donations truly make an impact on our lives. They keep the organization running which makes it possible for us to get the support that we need to reach our goals. 

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers?

Reality Changers is life changing. I really do not think I would be where I am at today if it was not for the support and motivation from Reality Changers. Applying to Reality Changers is not a decision I regret. I feel so glad and blessed that I was able to be part of the program and that I am still connected to the team and peers.

Support #GivingTuesdayNow by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Efforts

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Impact Story: Valeria Rodriguez https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-valeria-rodriguez/ Mon, 04 May 2020 20:03:23 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14972 Read More

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Valeria Rodriguez joined Reality Changers when she was in the 12th grade. She is currently attending Orange Coast College and receives support from the Alumni Network program.

What was your life like before joining Reality Changers? 

Before Reality Changers, I didn’t have anyone to turn to when I had a question about college. The counselors at my high school did not understand the specifics of my situation and even when they had useful information, I felt overwhelmed. 

Now that you have graduated from the program, what is your life like now?

I am beyond grateful that I was able to join Reality Changers. The support that I have received from my mentors, during and after the program finished, was unexpected. I don’t think that my transition to college would have been so smooth without Reality Changers. 

What is one way Reality Changers has supported you during this global pandemic? 

Reality Changers continues to reinforce positivity and support. At a personal level, Reality Changers gave me a platform where I could express my feelings and thoughts on this pandemic. Knowing that I have a safe space at Reality Changers lifts a weight off my shoulders. 

How did it feel when Reality Changers provided you with that support? 

They gave me the social support that I needed. Everything happened so fast, I wasn’t able to say goodbye to friends, family, or professors. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was very affected by the pandemic. 

What would you say to someone considering making a donation to Reality Changers?

Reality Changers is a program that truly cares about it’s students. I only have respect for the people who work there. They are always hosting events on valuable information and reaching out. Your donation doesn’t just help one person, because when someone is able to get help on higher education, all of society benefits.

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers? 

Reality Changers is trying to make a change in the representation of minorities in higher education. Without Reality Changers, I would not be where I am today. They are able to help me understand how higher education works and what I need to do in order to be successful. 

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Impact Story: Rosario Perez https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-rosario-perez/ Mon, 04 May 2020 19:55:03 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14974 Read More

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Rosario Perez joined Reality Changers when she was in the 8th grade. She is currently in 12th grade and receives support from our College Apps Academy program. She is one of three siblings who are a part of the Reality Changers’ family.

What is one way Reality Changers has supported you during this global pandemic?

Reality Changers supports me academically and emotionally during this global pandemic. Reality Changers provides me with resources such as office hours, financial aid advice, scholarships support, and computers. They also gave me the ability to create relationships which are helping me emotionally during these times, like my tutors checking up on me. 

How did it feel when Reality Changers provided you with support?

Reality Changers has always been such a big help in my life. I like to consider them my second family. I am thankful for all they’ve done. 

What would you say to someone considering making a donation to Reality Changers?

Your contributions are doing much more than just donating for more funds. You are giving students a chance to prove to our community that we bring a change to the world. A chance for a new path. 

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers?

Reality Changers is not only an organization that helps first generation college students achieve their goals but they’re a family that will never turn their back. They are your number one supporters. 

What are some of your hopes for the future?

My hopes for the future would be to have more funding for more students to be able to join Reality Changers. I hope we continue to have the loving staff that makes up Reality Changers. Also, I hope that Reality Changers never ends. Lastly, I hope this global pandemic ends soon (:

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Impact Story: Anthony Wang https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/05/impact-story-anthony-wang/ Mon, 04 May 2020 19:44:49 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14962 Read More

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Anthony Wang has been a volunteer tutor with Reality Changers for nearly two years.

What has been the biggest challenge you have seen your students face due COVID-19?

By far the most common challenge that my students are facing is adapting to a new pattern of life. While dealing with the abrupt change to an online learning environment and abiding by social distancing measures due to COVID-19, my students have expressed fear in the uncertainty of their new situation, especially when it comes to school. Will they be able to schedule one-on-one time with their teachers? How will they complete their standardized testing? How will this affect college admissions and the college admissions process? How are their friends/relatives doing, and when will they be able to see each other again? It’s clear that COVID-19 has disrupted the norm in my students’ lives, but knowing their sense of drive and resilience, I have confidence that they will overcome.

During this time, what has it meant to be able to provide support to Reality Changers students?

I was glad to still be able to provide the same support through video conferencing to my students that I would have if I were seeing them in. To be able to adapt to these new standards with my students constantly reminds me that we were all in this together. I’m proud to virtually stand by my students’ side and counsel them through their academic challenges, for the remainder of these social distancing measures and beyond.

With so many great organizations to support, why should individuals choose to support Reality Changers?

Throughout my time with Reality Changers, the biggest thing that continues to inspire me to volunteer for this organization is their dedication to their students. The programming they organize, such as daily life lesson sessions, one-on-one meetings with Achievement Coaches, and tutoring services from current college and graduate school students, meets each of their student’s needs in every dimension. The services they provide to the student population that needs them the most are truly invaluable. Supporting Reality Changers is supporting real and better change for students of the inner-city San Diego community.

What do you think other people should know about Reality Changers?

Many of us volunteer with Reality Changers because we have passion and true belief in the mission: helping inner-city youth become first-generation college graduates. The staff and volunteers compose a diverse group, from long-time San Diego residents to visiting scholars from all across the country. Nowhere else have I seen such as strong collection of individual passion and dedication to student youth than I have at Reality Changers, and that reflects in the success of the program.

What are some of your hopes for the future?

I hope that Reality Changers gains more of the recognition it deserves, and that the organization continues to find more success.

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Student’s Self-Care for Staying Home https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/04/students-self-care-for-staying-home/ Tue, 28 Apr 2020 15:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14944 Read More

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Compiled and written by Katie Craig, Volunteer and Intern Coordinator at Reality Changers.

“It’s tough staying inside…Stay safe out there!”

Wise words from College Town junior Joseph German on his student Takeover Tuesday post for College Town’s instagram (@collegetownrc) sums up what many of us feel as the world reduces to the same four walls, same people, same routine, day after day for those in quarantine. Meanwhile, the outside world becomes a little bit scarier, a little more constrained with masks, gloves, and constant hand sanitizer for those in essential roles. We all feel the strain of our changed and changing world differently.

As College Town students move to online learning, navigating new schedules, and spaces, they’ve ramped up self-care strategies and even shared them with staff! We thought we’d share the love and a few of their self-care strategies during COVID-19, in hopes that they may inspire you to find some innovative ways to care for yourself through this time.

“I enjoy reading, doing some exercise inside the house, going on a jog in the morning, and playing video games with my friends. I also like talking to people to keep my health in check. Just remember. Nothing will work unless you do. “

– Alvaro C., Preuss School UCSD Class of 2023

“A self-care technique I practice is taking a long warm bath to relax and either read or write my thoughts or feelings down. I know times can be stressful right now but always remember tough times never last but tough people always do. You got this and keep striving.”

– Xiadani T., Kearny High School Class of 2021

“Reading a nice fantasy book, listening to some nice tunes, or just sitting down and take a break from life for at least five minutes. You got this! Just remember, Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Always Do!”

– Natalie V., Hoover High School Class of 2021

“My favorite thing to use are hydrating face masks, I know they should not be used more than 3 times a week so I keep a limit but they have been really helping my skin and it only takes 15-20 minutes. Even though we are not supposed to leave our homes, I still have to walk my dog and it is a little thing but it really makes my days. I do not know how long this pandemic will last but just remember, Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Always Do! We can learn so much about ourselves and build meaningful connection with other people too even if it’s online.”

– Mayte B., Mira Mesa High School Class of 2021

“I find that journaling, reading & cleaning are super helpful. Again, stay healthy & take care of yourself! Tough times never last but tough people always do.”

– Alyx S., Helix Charter High School Class of 2021

“I would recommend letting yourself cook something you’re craving and enjoy the moment of eating in peace as a self-care technique. I think it’ll allow you to feel good about being productive and doing something for yourself at the same time. I’ve actually been doing this and I’ve felt better and more positive because of it. I hope this helps you as you navigate through your work at this time. Sometimes it’s the little things you give yourself that matter the most. And I’m sure you’re doing your best so don’t put yourself down. You have many people who care about you and the reality changers family is part of them so remember to take care of yourself.”

– Mokhinabonu N., Patrick Henry High School Class of 2023 (culinary creations featured in blog banner!)

“Wake up and do some stretching to loosen up your body and head to the kitchen and make some breakfast. After put on some workout clothes and go for a jog but make sure to wear 2 masks before going out. While you run out of breath take a shower and take the time to binge watch some Netflix and catch up on your show. This is my self-care routine. I hope you enjoy it.”

– Tania C., Bonita Vista High School Class of 2021

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Our Volunteers are Reality Changers https://realitychangers.org/blog/2020/04/our-volunteers-are-reality-changers/ Thu, 16 Apr 2020 19:00:00 +0000 https://realitychangers.org/?p=14927 Read More

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Written on behalf of Katie Craig, Volunteer and Intern Coordinator at Reality Changers.

In the half year that I have been with Reality Changers, I have been incredibly grateful for my role as the Volunteer & Intern Coordinator and for the incredible people who volunteer with Reality Changers. Of course, my role necessitates working with volunteers, but what it doesn’t necessitate is the ease, energy, joy, and passion I experience with them on a day to day basis. In reflecting on their work I find their collective soul to enrich and expand not only my own work, but that of the entire organization. We cannot and do not exist in the same way without their exuberant, tenacious dedication to our mission and students. In gratitude, I would like to expand on a few of the most prominent qualities our volunteer force embodies.

Joy – On any given program night, the room already buzzes with anticipation. Students bring their own energy to the space ready for what’s to come. When our volunteers arrive–as tutors, mentors, and friends–they match this energy with their infectious joy for the students they work alongside. They show up from their jobs, school, families, and communities with a plethora of reasons to bring those worries, exhaustion, and distractions into Reality Changers, but alongside and above all, they choose joy. And it’s not only amazing, but contagious, empowering, and inspiring.

Tenderness – To be tender is to bend but not break. To feel and respond authentically. To empathize and embrace. Watching volunteers work with Reality Changers students frequently calls tenderness to mind. Reality Changers’ volunteers sit with our students through it all–successes, failures, challenges, growth–with open minds, hearts, and ears. In this they go above and beyond the call to simply complete math problems or edit essays. They connect deeply with students to cultivate mutually life changing relationships.

Adaptability – Even before a pandemic necessitated the complete overhaul of programming, our volunteers have always been nimble, adaptable. This essential trait is by no means an easy one. Changes in staffing, student support, and program expectations keeps volunteers on their toes; yet, their utter graciousness in adapting to these changes is truly invaluable–making a small organization with a big dream survive and thrive in the face of uncertainty.

Tenacity – Reality Changers volunteers stick around. Week after week and year after year, our volunteers stay in the game. Their steady presence creates continuity even in the midst of great change, and knowing we can count on them when it matters means the world to staff and students alike. For those who have been here from 10 months to 10 years, we thank you for your dedication.

In sum, I am led to say without exaggeration: Reality Changers works with the best volunteers in San Diego County. For you who have joined our forces as a tutor, mentor, guest judge, community service member, board member, job shadow week host, event liaison, cabin counselor, and the many, many other roles that you have filled energetically and effortlessly–thank you.

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