Ignacio De La Torre, AT&T Vice President of External Affairs, speaks about $500K contribution to Reality Changers, standing alongside Mayor Kevin Faulconer and students. Photo Credit: AT&T

San Diego’s Reality Changers, an organization dedicated to academically supporting low-income students, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from AT&T on Friday.

It was one of 18 groups nationwide to receive grants from AT&T through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition, as praise for its work to help disadvantaged youth succeed in school and beyond, according to an AT&T representative. The recipients gain “integrated student supports, focus on college and career preparation,” said an AT&T official.

The company received hundreds of applications from a breadth of organizations to participate. This competition was part of AT&T Aspire, their signature philanthropic initiative to motivate and support students in underserved communities, said AT&T officials. Over 500 low-income, promising high school students will graduate on time with support from Reality Changers’ College Town program.

AT&T presents check to Reality Changers. Photo Credit: AT&T

“Young people need a high school diploma to stay on track for college and career success,” said Ignacio De La Torre, regional vice president of external affairs, AT&T. “And our company’s and country’s future is dependent on today’s young people.”

Reality Changer’s Founder and President Chris Yanov was handed a check at 12:30 p.m. Friday from AT&T Vice President of External Affairs Ignacio De La Torre, according to AT&T.

Local politicians that attended the event include California Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, San Diego Council member Marti Emerald and Hoover High School Principal Joe Austin, according to AT&T.

“Too many young people struggle to get on the road to college and a career,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, in a statement. “Reality Changers is providing an onramp for students in our community, and supporters like AT&T are helping to ensure a new generation of college graduates in San Diego.”

Students from Hoover High School in the College Town program also attended. AT&T officials said they selected competition winners that used an evidence-based approach to helping students with quantifiable results.