Reality Changers Hosts Inaugural College Festival in City Heights

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First generation college students are bringing higher education to a neighborhood where less than 3% of residents hold a college degree.

Jesse Sanchez was raised in City Heights by a single mother who earned less than $8,000 a year. In 2009 he received a full-ride to Harvard University.

That's what the College Festival is about -- making college accessible to everyone and bringing the information directly to the residents [of City Heights].

Reality Changers will be hosting the inaugural College Festival on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The celebration is being organized by Reality Changers alumni, all of whom are first generation college students or graduates.

In a neighborhood where less than 3% of residents hold a college degree, event organizers are hoping to bring information about higher education directly to the City Heights community, "City Heights cares about its kids and whether or not they are going to college," says Jesse Sanchez, the 2012 College Festival Chair and graduate of Reality Changers, "many times families just don't know where to get the information about how to get into college. That's what the College Festival is about -- making college accessible to everyone and bringing the information directly to the residents."

Sanchez, a resident of City Heights, knows firsthand about the struggles that many individuals and families in his community face. Raised by a single mother whose income was less than $8,000 a year, Sanchez and his family struggled. "I always knew that I wanted to go to college, but I didn't know what I needed to do to get there," states Sanchez, "but then I found Reality Changers. They guided my family and me through the college application process and helped me to apply to more than 20 colleges." Sanchez's hard work paid off, and in 2009 he earned a full-ride to Harvard, where he will be graduating from in May 2013.

The College Festival will feature university booths from throughout the nation, as well as informational booths about the college application process. There will also be live entertainment, community information booths, food and fun activities for younger children.

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Marshela Salgado
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