Today with Vicente Fox at the ASU+GSV Summit:
Reality Changers Announces the World’s First Foreign Exchange Program at a Presidential Library
Nonprofit expands partnership with Mexico’s Centro Fox and UC San Diego to create new opportunities exclusively for low-income youth
SAN DIEGO, CA — When former President of Mexico Vicente Fox visits San Diego and speaks at the ASU+GSV Summit today, his talk will highlight a new program for low-income youth on both sides of the border. Believed to be the first of its kind, high school students from Reality Changers – a program that helps build first generation college graduates – will travel to the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, and take a course entitled International Business & Culture. The class will be held at Centro Fox and offered by UCSD Extension for college-prep credit.
Additionally, students who live in some of the poorest villages surrounding Fox’s presidential library will join 400 other students from around the world at UC San Diego this summer to participate in a three-week program called Academic Connections.
“The strategies that (Reality Changers’ Founder & President) Christopher Yanov offers should not only be implemented in the United States, but worldwide,” said President Fox. “Today’s youngest generation must have better options than joining street gangs or working with drug cartels and Reality Changers makes me believe that accomplishing such a goal is possible.”
Since 2001, Reality Changers has worked to increase educational equity among low-income youth living in San Diego’s toughest neighborhoods. The program works with all levels of students – from 8th graders with 0.0 GPAs and 10th graders in juvenile hall to 12th graders bound for the Ivy League – and prepares them to be the first in their families to attend college.
Over the past two summers, 24 students living near Centro Fox had the opportunity to attend UC San Diego’s Academic Connections. This year, not only will more students from Centro Fox come to San Diego, but President Fox’s dream of bringing Reality Changers to study at Centro Fox will come true, too. The ASU+GSV Summit, which brings together the world’s top leaders in education and innovation, will make a generous $50,000 donation to Reality Changers to make this opportunity possible.
“It’s just amazing to have such great partners at the local, national, and international level,” says Yanov, who launched Reality Changers with just $300. “Gaining genuine perspectives from each side of the border as both a foreigner and a host will be a life-changing experience for these students.”
Added Dr. Edward Abeyta, UCSD Extension’s Associate Dean who manages Academic Connections, “It’s a cross-border program like this that could one day change the world.”
Fox, the 55th President of Mexico, first visited Reality Changers in 2011. He was inspired by how the program kept low-income youth from joining street gangs by offering them something bigger: the chance to become first generation college students. Fox believes that Reality Changers’ strategies could effectively prevent teens in Mexico from joining drug cartels. He has long advocated for Reality Changers and joined the organization’s Board of Directors in 2017.