REALITY CHANGERS transforms lives by providing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the academic support, financial assistance, and leadership training to become college graduates.

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Reality Changers helps youth throughout Southern California achieve the dream of higher education. Our experienced staff and volunteers utilize the “Tightrope Theory” approach to ensure students keep their focus on college. But that’s only half of the story; the other half involves our students’ grit, tenacity, and determination. Without these characteristics, even the strongest institutional backing will not guarantee success.

Our new feature, the Monthly Alumni Spotlight, will chronicle the obstacles and challenges Reality Changers students face on their journey to a better life – all from a first-hand point of view. And for our first alumni spotlight, we’re honored to offer Gerardo’s story.

Fast Facts:
Gerardo Jaimes
Reality Changers, Class of 2008
University of California San Diego, Class of 2013
Major: Ethnic Studies

What was the biggest challenge you faced when transitioning from high school classes to college courses?

Learning how to actually study. High school was not much of a challenge for me and college provided more rigorous and time-consuming assignments that challenged me, academically.

What was your favorite part about participating in Reality Changers?

My fellow peers. Most of RC back then went to Madison as well and we often times found ourselves hanging out over the weekend or going to all types of social gatherings.

Why did you decide to work at Reality Changers?

I really mean when I said that RC did change my reality, especially as an undocumented student. I simply want to be partake in this movement that changes lives for those whose lives want to be changed and challenged!

What advice would you give current seniors at Reality Changers about college that you wish you had know before stepping on campus?

On the real, you don’t know as much as you think you do! Reality Changers exists because of the resources and benefits first-gen students take from the program. Trust your instructor and have an open mind on the process and where you may end up (especially the latter).

Involvement outside of work or school: 

Mainly sports, I watch most and play soccer regularly. I also try to maintain personal connections healthy with those I feel close to. Networking is essential!

Who inspires you and why?

Students every year inspire me every year as they genuine personalities assures me that I am where I belong!

What is your favorite quote?

Work for the best, Prepare for the worst.”  Nothing in life is guaranteed, but we got to keep our head up; either when our hard work pays off, or when outside influences try to bring us down.