From 1996 to 2001, Christopher Yanov worked as a youth director near downtown San Diego. The majority of teens with which he first worked with were involved with drugs and gangs, often leading to violence, vandalism, teen pregnancy, and even death. To respond to this challenge, Reality Changers started in 2001 with just four students and $300 to its name. It is based on the principle that it is just not right that most inner-city students today know more people who have been shot or killed in the street than people who are on the road to college. Nearly a decade and a half later, Reality Changers now serves nearly 1,000 youth from disadvantaged backgrounds every year. The program’s 1,300 graduates – including 29 Gates Millennium Scholars – have now earned over $100,000,000 in scholarship from all sources.
Number of Students Served:
Grants, individual contributions
Reality Changers believes that college changes everything, especially for low-income, inner-city youth. That's why our 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. Our vision is to create universal access to college, one community at a time.
Reality Changers strives to help low-income, high-potential youth become first generation college students.
Tutoring/mentoring, SAT prep, public speaking practice, community service, college application prep
High School (9-12):
Hispanic/Latino (including Spain):
Black or African American:
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander:
White (Including Middle Eastern):