Our Graduates

Guest Blog: Ashley Carbonell

This past fall, I was chosen to be a part of the inaugural Reality Changers Beyond Blending In leadership cohort program, led by Diversity and Inclusion expert and author Wendy Kim. The 3 month program was geared towards women or femme in their final years of college or early in their professional career. The program offered building relationships, gaining communication skills, taking actionable steps towards your goals, and honing leadership competencies. 

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2020-2021 Annual Report

We’re thrilled to announce the release of Reality Changers’ 2021 Annual Report! This year’s report showcases some of our incredible students and breaks down the data on how many students we served, how many youth graduated from college, and more.

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Michelle and Reality Changers

Have you ever thought about how your life might have gone differently? Is there one pivotal moment in your life that changed everything for you? For Reality Changers graduate Michelle, it was the day she learned that she had been accepted into the program.

“Honestly, if it weren’t for that phone call, if it weren’t for getting into Reality Changers, there are so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had. I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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Michelle’s Story

Michelle joined Reality Changers in 2016 and graduated from Hoover High School in 2020.

Throughout high school, Michelle had an interest in medicine and biology. She joined the Health Academy and took biomedical classes at Hoover. She also participated in community internships at health facilities and even got to do rotations in a hospital.

“I really enjoyed the hospital. I liked how fast-paced it was. You’re always on your feet. You’re always going back and forth between patients. I really enjoyed that.”

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Carlos’s Story

For as long as Carlos can remember, he’s had one goal.

In kindergarten, on Carlos’s first-ever field trip from Daniel Boone Elementary, Carlos had a chance to visit a fire station. On that day, he realized that he was going to become a firefighter. Since then, everything he has done has been in pursuit of that dream.

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Ashly, Class of 2008

Ashly, Reality Changers Class of 2008

Ashly continues to make a difference, hoping to use her experiences in her next venture to highlight underrepresented voices in media and film. She says, “I’m proud of reaching goals and working for the American and Mexican embassy. I’m proud that I have learned so much and gathered so many connections, met so many people, and heard about their experiences.”

Now, she is working on securing a job in Hollywood doing Global Publicity for heavy hitting film agencies like HBO, Paramount, and Universal. In thinking about her impact and the next generation she says, “It’s so cool and inspiring to see young people reaching for their dreams and achieving even more than we were able to achieve. They are taking the tools they have and pushing themselves forward.”

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Analuz, Reality Changers Class of 2021

As Analuz enters into her new life as a San Diego State Aztec Warrior, she feels “honored” to be a part of the Reality Changers legacy.

“Reality Changers’ work within the community is very important. There are so many kids out there who could use the help of Reality Changers to become first generation college students. Shoutout to my tutors, Achievement Coach, and College Apps Academy Instructor for being the best and providing such wonderful support.”

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Linh, Reality Changers Class of 2016

“Reality Changers is a place that provides students with a safe environment to grow and learn. From the tutoring sessions to college prep to speech competitions to volunteering opportunities to each other’s presence, Reality Changers really covers it all to prepare students for college and beyond.”

After high school, Linh attended UC San Diego and graduated in 2020 with a B.S. in Public Health and a Minor in Business. She says that this is one of her proudest accomplishments.

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Laura, Reality Changers Class of 2014

“Reality Changers supported me throughout my senior year in high school to now. The organization’s resources and staff have been the reason I was able to graduate from college and continue on route to participating in post-graduate programs and even a master’s degree. I attribute my success in college to this amazing organization and its staff.”

Today, Laura works in Social Media Marketing and Communications for Ana Luisa Guluarte Castro, a political candidate in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. She continues to stay engaged with the Reality Changers Alumni Network and access Alumni Network resources.

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Dilshod, Reality Changers Class of 2015

Dilshod moved to the United States from Russia in 2009 and joined Reality Changers in 2010. At the time, he was facing academic challenges because he was not fluent in English and learning to navigate the American education system.

As part of Reality Changers, Dilshod participated in tutoring, leadership development, public speaking, and career readiness programming. He found a welcoming family with the Reality Changers staff, volunteers, and peer community.

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