We are Ray and Kelli, counselors at City. A Career in Acting. Cancelled wedding. Job skills. Select your college. Airbag deaths. Pursue your passion. Deadly jobs. Flair for drama. Homeless college students. Careers over $100K you will be happy in. Make money playing video games. Sell back books. A parent's dilemma. Military dad raises 4 kids. Dangerous cars.

The veterans page: Forever GI Bill. Father takes care of 4 children. Integrate Marine Training? Robotic legs. Costs of war. Saluting a fallen soldier. 300K Lotto winner. Vets and painkillers. Vet resources. Grandmother of veteran's family deported. Housing the homeless. Veteran finds healing through adopting a cat. Wounded Marines help others. Video: Soldier and dog greet each other after 6 months apart. Happy Veterans Day! Helping make a Marine's dream come true.

Empowering students to fulfill their dreams through education.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

10 Most Stolen Cars

If you're looking to buy a car, consider that some cars are stolen more than others. 10 Most Stolen Cars in America appeared on MSN Autos.

Honorably Discharged Veterans Can Shop Without Tax

"The intent is to really beat Amazon at their game because we have locations literally on the installations." -- Army and Air Force Exchange Service CEO, Tom Shull.

Honorably Discharged Veterans Will Soon Get to Shop Tax-Free appeared on ABC News.


Heroes Help Homeless

"It heals something in your heart to do something like this for other people." -- Jeannette Calzada-Sebastiano, Director of Altruistic Activities for Xtreme Justice League.

Super Heroes to the Rescue in Homeless Outreach was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on July 24, 2017.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Career In Acting by Ray Wong

In a previous post, I shared my daughter’s disappointment in not making it into Honors Drama in her middle school. Kristie is all of thirteen so a lot of things could happen between now and the time she is ready to start sending out resumes. At various times in her life, she wanted to be a doctor, work in a nonprofit, or be involved with nature and animals. Still, if she does decide to become an actress, I wanted to find out a little more about this field. It is a well-worn adage that acting is a difficult way to make a living so a few questions came to my mind. How difficult is it to actually make it in this profession? Would she need to supplement her income? What are some ways to do that? Would she encounter any particular challenges due to her gender or ethnicity?

Here’s what I found out. It is an understatement to say it is hard to make a living as an actor, but some people are able to make money at it. This article from Backstage.com by Piyali Syam was particularly helpful. The author provided a number of ways to earn rent money through acting, including Web series, YouTube, commercials, voiceover, cruise ship jobs, and theme parks. 

Most actors supplement their income through side jobs and this article from Balance.com by Phil Breman listed several ways to do that: Bartender, office temp, script reader, and process server, among others. 

Cancelled Wedding Has a Silver Lining

"It was really devastating to me. I called everyone, canceled, apologized, cried, called vendors, cried some more, and then I started feeling really sick about just throwing away all the food I ordered for the reception," -- Sarah Cummins

Bride-To-Be Calls Off Wedding, Invites Homeless to Reception appeared in MSN News.

Job Skills in a Short Time

Need to develop some useful job skills in a hurry? 101 Money-Making Skills You Can Learn In Less Than A Year appeared on MSN Money.

Forever GI Bill

“We believe that all veterans who have honorably served this nation have earned education assistance as partial compensation for the sacrifices they have made. Unfortunately, many who have served in uniform are currently left behind.” -- Charles E. Schmidt, American Legion National Commander.

5 Things to Know About the Forever GI Bill appeared in The San Diego Union Tribune on July 13, 2017.

Find Your College

Are you in a swirl of confusion about picking the right college? What are you looking for in a school? Financial Aid package, scholarships, job placement? Here are some online tools to make your life easier.


Money Magazine

School Guides

College Board

Airbag Deaths

If you are looking for a used vehicle, beware of certain cars that have deadly airbags. Twelfth Fatality Reported From Takata Airbags appeared on MSN Money.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pursue Your Passion by Ray Wong

We had a Student Success Day for new students to City College on June 30th, and I worked with a lady (I’m going to call her Claire) at an education planning session who said she went to an earlier workshop we facilitated called “Identify Your Career.” Claire said it made her think about passion and purpose and what she should pursue. She thought of being a softball coach but she was afraid and had some doubts about her age. She looked to be in her early forties. 

At the education planning sessions, we have a lot of students we need to work with to develop a two-semester plan, so we don’t have time to do career planning. I had to advise her to schedule an hour appointment with a counselor at a later date to look at her career in more depth. It was hard for me to tell her this because she was really struggling with whether to choose coaching as her career, but I couldn’t take the time to work with her there. 

I hope that Claire scheduled an appointment to talk with a counselor but if she didn’t, here is what I would have wanted to convey:

Dear Claire,

I know it can be scary to think about going after something you feel passionate about. From my perspective, if the thought of being a softball coach brings up some fears, that’s not necessarily a bad sign. The jitters may be because you’re on the right track. If you are thinking about a career you’ve never done before, some anxiety is perfectly normal and expected. The fact that you’re nervous tells me it’s important to you, and I hope you pick a career that really means something to you because you’ll put more effort and energy into it. You’ll put your heart and soul into it and you’ll make a difference to the players you’re coaching.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Flair For The Dramatic by Ray Wong

My daughter, Kristie, is thirteen and has participated in drama the last two years in middle school. She recently tried out for “Honors Drama” for the upcoming school year but didn’t get selected.  

Kristie was disappointed, especially when one of her friends did get chosen for Honors Drama. The glum expression on my daughter’s face told me how she felt when she checked the message board on the computer and her name wasn’t on it. 

Kristie tends to be quiet in school. She gets good grades because she studies hard, but comments from teachers are usually along the lines of, “Joy to have in class. Excellent effort, quiet, and dependable.”

I don’t have a problem with Kristie being quiet. I’m an introvert myself, so I understand my daughter’s personality. I don’t need her to be an outspoken candidate for student body president or a rah-rah cheerleader for the football team. I’m fine with Kristie just being herself but I’ve come to realize this can hamper her ambitions to become the next Jennifer Lawrence. 

My wife, Quyen, and I have been to a number of Kristie’s drama performances, and I’m slightly biased, but I think our daughter is pretty good. She remembers her lines, and she nails the dance steps in her routines. The thing is, she has a quiet voice and she isn’t animated to the extreme. This works against her in a field where flair and exuberance are the calling cards for success. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Homeless Students

"I didn't have anywhere to go. I lived in my car. I didn't have my job anymore and I got evicted from my apartment," said (Jennifer) Carr, who is in her first semester at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit. "I was ashamed I was living in my car."

Homeless College Students A Growing Concern on Campuses appeared on Yahoo News on June 25, 2017.

Hungry and Homeless in College was published in the San Diego Free Press on March 27, 2017.

Help for homeless students at City College

Tally of Sheltered Homeless Falls Amid More Shelter Beds was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on July 1, 2017.

Gordon Walker Takes Helm At Homeless Task Force appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on June 27, 2017.

Be Happy and Make 100K

You don't have to sacrifice your soul to make good money. Here's proof; these careers pay over $100K a year and the people working in them are happy in their jobs. The Ten Happiest Six Figure Jobs 2017 appeared on MSN Money.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Make Money Playing Video Games by Ray Wong

In my last blog post, I wrote about my son, Kevin, and his passion for video games. I also shared my ambivalence about encouraging him to make this a career because I have doubts about how viable this is. I mean, would an employer actually pay him or anyone else to play video games?

To find out, I did a little research. According to this article from MoneyPantry.com, there are six ways to make money playing video games:

  1. Test video games
  2. Sell “Gold” within a game
  3. Play in eSport tournaments
  4. Record “Let’s Play” videos
  5. Teach about video games
  6. Write about video games
The author of the above article makes it sound easy but at the end, he admits that making money at playing video games is probably more of a side job than a full-time career.

Money for Books!

For students looking to sell their books at the best prices, this website is gold. It allows you to type in an ISBN number for a book and it will provide up to 35 vendors with multiple offers to buy your book. The site even allows you to ship for free to get paid.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Career Choice: A Parent's Dilemma by Ray Wong

My son, Kevin, is 16 and just finished the 10th grade. It’s hard to imagine him that old. It seemed like just yesterday we were playing Bakugan Brawl, Yu-Gi-Oh, or racing his Hot Wheels cars down our driveway. It didn’t seem long ago that I saw him riding his Razor scooter in front of our house. Now, my wife, Quyen, and I are talking to our son about getting his driver’s permit.

Kevin just started a Japanese class at Grossmont College this summer because he found out taking one college course is equivalent to two years of high-school credit. He is really into Anime so he jumped at the opportunity to take Japanese.

I have asked him about studying Chinese, and Quyen has suggested Vietnamese but it was like trying to get him to the dentist for a root canal. This isn’t the case with the Japanese course. Kevin is taking it with a friend from high school, and they stay on campus after class to do their homework. Our son makes flashcards to go over his vocabulary, and there are times he chooses to study Japanese instead of watching YouTube videos at home. What I’ve learned is that Kevin puts a lot more effort into his work when he chooses the class.