Reality Changers hosts events to providing opportunities to underprivileged youth

Reality Changers senior Michael Gaulden (left), who was homeless for 10 years but will be starting UCLA in the fall with a $50,000 scholarship, with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (right). Duncan was recently in San Diego  and visited with members of the Reality Changers.
Reality Changers senior Michael Gaulden (left), who was homeless for 10 years but will be starting UCLA in the fall with a $50,000 scholarship, with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (right). Duncan was recently in San Diego and visited with members of the Reality Changers.

With encouragement from his son and local teachers, the local home of Nick Lambesis became a haven for homeless kids. From there, a family tradition of helping the homeless began.

On Nov. 7, from 4-6 p.m., Lambesis will open up his home to members of the community and provide the opportunity for his friends to meet several young adults that have inspired him.

What started as a business relationship for Lambesis when he designed the logo for Reality Changers quickly turned into a passion for not only helping the kids involved, but for the kids themselves.

“I really fell in love with the program when I started tutoring,” said Lambesis. “ It’s one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”

Lambesis works with kids in the program every Tuesday as a tutor, and he said looks forward to that evening every week.

“I just love these kids,” he added. “They could be out there getting involved with gangs and killing people, but they aren’t. They are just the nicest kids in the world.”

And Reality Changers is turning these potential gang members in to college graduates by providing opportunities for them to succeed.

Lambesis has always been drawn toward aiding those who were underprivileged, so when he met Chris Yanov nearly a decade ago, a formidable team was created. Reality Changers, Yanov’s not-for-profit to assist underprivileged and disadvantaged kids become first-generation college graduates, was in its early stages, and Lambesis was impressed with Yanov’s business model.

“Chris had the best business model I had seen for helping these kids,” Lambesis said. “It’s really kind of a miracle what (Yanov) has done.”

On the website for Reality Changers, Yanov is quoted as saying, “If we truly want to cleanse the generations of gang-related bloodshed spilled onto our sidewalks, then we must flood our inner-city streets with options and opportunities so that urban youth can become caught up in the rising current of high expectations, newfound leadership and previously unimaginable realities.”

The event at Lambesis’s home is designed to raise awareness and funds for the work to which Reality Changers is committed.

“This program is very successful, but it could be bigger and better,” Lambesis said. “So many kids are still on a waiting list, and that’s unacceptable.” At least 150 kids are on a waiting list to be a part of the program, and events like the one being hosted by Lambesis is one of the ways Reality Changers can bring more kids into their fold and ensure they receive the college education that will, indeed, change their reality. To further the efforts of Reality Changers, Keith and Connie Kortman will also be hosting a party for these young people on Nov. 14 at their home in Del Mar.

Anyone interested in attending either event may contact Lauren Henno at 760-547-2333 or

lhenno@lambesis.com

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