Reality Changers began in 2001 with just $300, four 8th graders, and the belief that college changes everything, especially for low-income, Latino youth. Today, Reality Changers has over 1,600 alumni and 1,600 annual participants. Reality Changers has three programs: College Town, College Apps, and the Alumni Network. The programs are designed to help students in grades 8 through 12 become college ready. These services include ACT/SAT vocabulary workshops, a summer college experience, and college application and selection guidance. Additionally, program alumni receive professional development and help current program seniors with their college application process. Historically, over 90% of program participants are Latino. Currently, 68% of program participants are Latino. Reality Changers accepts between 40 and 60 eighth grade students a year into its College Town program.
Reality Changers’ mission is to transform lives, schools, and communities by providing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the academic support, financial assistance, and leadership training to become first-generation college students. The outward goal of Reality Changers is to ensure low-income youth, particularly Latinos, have the academic and financial support to become first-generation college graduates.
Reality Changers has over 1,600 program graduates and over 1,600 8th-12th graders currently in the program. Since 2011, Reality Changers has hosted “Challenge Assemblies” for local Latino at risk 8th graders with a 2.0 GPA or below. Students who were able to raise their grades the most over the next month skip the years-long waiting list and join the program. Up to 60% of students at these Challenge Assemblies raised their grades. Of the males that were not able to join Reality Changers, none graduated from the local high school, while only 25% of Latinas graduated.
Of the students served:
- 97% of students enroll in college and 86% are persisting towards or have already earned a degree from a four-year university.
- Out of 250 program graduates in 2015, Reality Changers had 7 Gates Scholars.
- 86% of students who have completed the College Town program have graduated or are currently persisting in college