We are Ray and Kelli, counselors at City. Mark Cuban's money tips. Best cell phone plans. 28 things to stop buying. 50 best big companies to work for. 25 highest and lowest paying jobs. 15 odd jobs that pay great. 1st grader asks for food and blanket from Santa. Homeless to Billionaire. Which debt to pay off first. Money in the bank. Wonder. Funeral for a neighbor.

The veterans page: Veterans Day. A surprised 8-year-old. Honoring heroic dog. Honorably discharged veterans shop tax-free. 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.

Empowering students to fulfill their dreams through education.

Life-Changing Opportunities

Pic by Dale Yudelman
This page features stories about the people and organizations who change lives. If a story resonates with you, contact the organization to see how you can become involved. By doing so, you add to your resume or scholarship application and help your community at the same time. 

What does a 7-year-old girl want for Christmas? 1st Grader Asks for Food, Blanket in Heartbreaking Letter to Santa appeared on Yahoo! News.

John Paul DeJoria was homeless at one point in his life. Now he is heading one of the most successful haircare companies in the world. That in itself is amazing but his values for his company are even more impressive. John Paul DeJoria Went From Homeless to Billionaire by Following Three Simple Rules appeared in MSN News. 

How do you define a hero? Look no further than 19-year-old Christopher Rodriguez. Homeless Teen Spends Birthday Helping Puerto Rico Victims appeared on MSN News.

If you're tired of negativity, here's something to brighten your day: Montebello Officer Robert Josett went out of his way to help an elderly man. Cop Rescues 92-Year-Old Man Turned Away At Bank Because His ID Had Expired was published on Yahoo! News.

"Money is just money." -- Tinyia Frank.

Hat's off to Tinyia Frank for making this world a better place. Woman, 19, buys LeBron basketball sneakers for grateful kid: 'Money is just money' appeared on Yahoo!

You don't have to be an adult to make a difference. Just ask Braden Baker, who helped raise $15,000 to provide hearing aids to other children. Meet the Hearing-Impaired 10-Year-Old Who Raised $15,000 to Buy Ear Aids for Other Kids: He's 'So Proud!' appeared on MSN News.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"When the accident happened, nobody knew who I was. You'd go by and sometimes people would lock their doors, say 'Oh, my gosh, there's a homeless person, lock your door,'" Pocock said, sitting in a chair in his tent. "Well, since then, people are like, 'Oh, my gosh, there's that homeless guy. Roll down your window.'"

A Miracle Save By A Homeless Man Gives Him A New Beginning was published by ABC News on June 7, 2017.

"People who don't know me gave me brand new shoes, socks and prayed for me. It's awesome. It touched my heart. People really care about people."  -- Christopher Roe, living at the Rescue Mission.

Volunteers Wash Feet and Lift Spirits appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on June 10, 2017.


Kudos to General Motors, a company which is making a commitment to buying only sustainably harvested rubber for its automobile tires. "This isn't just about going green. It's about driving real business results." -- David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability at GM. 

GM Commits To 'Green' Natural Rubber For Millions Of Tires appeared in Automotive News on May 15, 2017

"Every morning at 5:30 we walked three miles down a country road -- rain, shine, or snow -- just to take you to day care. Then I'd walk the three miles right back to catch the first of my three buses I had to take across town to work." -- Veronica Hughes, Commencement Speaker at Miramar College.

Once Homeless Grad Delivers Miramar Commencement was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on May 20, 2017.

"It was like, what am I supposed to do? It's so expensive to buy a dress. It was hard to decide whether or not I should go." -- Trang Huynh on whether to attend a friend's prom at Crawford H.S. after missing her own.

Gown Giveaway Lets Teens Shine on their Prom Night appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on April 22, 2017.


Two years ago, Eugene Yoon quit his job to help a paralyzed stranger named Arthur Renowitzky to walk again. Now he is helping a family in poverty sustain themselves in dignity. Man Proves, Once Again, That Kindness Can Be A Calling appeared in MSN News.


Homelessness is getting worse in San Diego: unsheltered chronically homeless increased from 1,087 in 2016 to 1750 in 2017. As Government Saunters, Homeless Crisis Accelerates was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on April 23, 2017.

Homeless Up 5% in the County, Skyrockets Downtown appeared in San Diego Union Tribune on April 21, 2017

“There’s got to be a remedy; something’s got to be done. This is like the Great Depression.” -- Juanita Broughman, 11 years homeless in East Village. Lots of Talk for Homeless, Verging on Action was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on April 9, 2017. 

"Bravo to them for being bold. Let's not just take tiny nibbles at this problem but try to get to the heart of it." -- Steve Russell, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation on Father Joe's plan to help the homeless. Solution for Tented Homeless? $531 Million for 2000 Homes Proposed by Father Joe's appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on March 30, 2017.


“They gave us a chance and let us in, they saw hope in us. It felt unbelievable to think there was someone who had hope for us.” -- Robert Zendejas, on receiving help for his homeless family. Chula Vista Homeless Get Day to Reconnect With Community was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on March 28, 2017.


I take my hat off to Padres Managing Partner, Peter Seidler, for working toward real solutions to San Diego's homeless problem. In Padres' Seidler Fuels New Push on Homelessness -- by Day and Dark of Night, Seidler is heading a group looking into Arizona's innovative program to help their homeless population with an eye toward bringing the solution to San Diego. The article appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on March 18, 2017.

“The largest population of kids who are in our public schools and identified as homeless by the Department of Education are those who are doubled up, sharing places,” -- Michelle Lustig, director of Foster Youth Services, Coordinating Program and Homeless Education Services for the County Office of Education. Homeless Students Reach Nearly 23,000 in County appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on Feb 28, 2017.

Escondido Puts Homeless on Priority List appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 19, 2017.

Oceanside Debates Homeless Solutions was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 14, 2017.

"This situation is beyond outrageous, but our homeless population is not to blame -- the culprit is failed leadership." City Camp Could Be San Diego's Homeless Solution appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 10, 2017.

How to solve the homeless problem? Homeless Crisis Is Solvable, But Won't Yield to Political Timidity was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on January 29, 2017.

Volunteers helped count the numbers of homeless in San Diego. "It was an eye-opener to see people sleeping under the bridge." -- Natasha Howell of Oceanside, who helped search for homeless near Camp Pendleton. 1,700 Volunteers Hit the Street to Count, Interview the Homeless appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on January 28, 2017.

Homeless Connect gave services and basic necessities to 1,016 people on January 25. "This is where my life turned around." -- David Hyland, one of the many people who received help. 1,000+ Receive Clothes, Services at 11th Homeless Connect was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on January 25, 2017.

“When I step out of my home, I give people the benefit of the doubt that they are decent human beings, despite our history and despite what you see on social media. Game Changer is about proactively bringing about our best American selves, or at least taking steps to do it.” -- Sean Sheppard. San Diegan Heals Community Wounds With Talk and Sports appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on March 7, 2017.


"We hear way too many stories about people not caring, but on a daily basis, we see the best side of people. When someone brings in a bird that hit their window, or they drive all the way across the county to bring in a baby bird they found in their driveway, that's the side we see." -- Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator, Aireo Shipman. Found A Baby Animal? Project Wildlife Can Help was published by the San Diego Union Tribune on March 3, 2017.


“This day is a reflection of the beauty that there is in the world and the hope and joy that the San Diego community has come out and embraced our family and foundation. For us it’s about choosing hope every time.” -- Kelly King, mother who lost her daughter, Chelsea King, to murder.

Friends, Strangers Finish Chelsea's 7th Annual Run appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on March 4, 2017.


"Jerry has a very caring heart and he's a man of action. When he sees something wrong, it's like instead of cursing the darkness he lights a candle. He has unlimited energy and an unlimited desire to respond when someone needs help." -- Mike Poyner, Koi Club volunteer, on Jerry Myers.

Homeless Fish Find Shelter at Koi Show appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on March 3, 2017.

“One time Aden asked me, ‘Do you get paid to do this?’ And I said, ‘Dude, my benefit is, someone did it for me, and I hope you can go out and do something nice for someone else.’ I’m a big believer in paying it forward, and if I have the means and the ability to do it, I’m going to do it. I can’t give money, but I have time to give. That’s what we should all do to make the world a better place.” -- Derek Hegyi, volunteer mentor for Jewish Family Service of San Diego's Jewish BigPals program.

San Diego Mentor Pays It Forward, Tacos Included was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on January 27, 2017.

"To know that just my mere presence brings light to someone’s day is an amazing feeling that can’t be explained in words. To watch these kids grow and regain trust in society, and to achieve what they believe is the impossible, is something that still, after 10 years, surprises me every time it happens." -- Maggie McWhorter, Executive Director for StandUp For Kids

This profile of Maggie McWhorter was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 22, 2017.

Want to volunteer to help animals find a loving home? The San Diego Humane Society has opportunities in San Diego.

If you live in the LA area and want to make a difference to veterans injured in combat, check out the ways you can be a "buddy" at UCLA's Operation Mend.

"We live only one life. When you die, there's nothing great about being the richest person in the world. That doesn't count. What's important is to have a positive attitude, come up with good ideas and have a willing heart." -- Charlie Yim

Self-Made Millionaire Plans to Give It All Away was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Nov. 8, 2016.


"When I was here in this country, my mom was really sick. Some of the guys I grew up with, whenever she needed something done, they would do it. This is my way of giving back. If someone could help my mom, then I feel it's my duty to help someone else's mom." -- Meals on Wheels volunteer, Allan Thomas.

Retiree Finds Second Career With Meals On Wheels was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Oct. 25, 2016.


Azim Khamisa lost his son, Tariq, to a senseless act of violence. Forgiveness gave his life a new purpose. Khamisa and Ples Felix, the grandfather of the boy who killed Tariq, have formed a bond to prevent youth violence. 

"I like to quote Gandha. 'The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.'" -- Azim Khamisa

"Mr. Khamisa's forgiveness and the forgiveness of Mr. Khamisa's family helped my grandson realize he is not a throwaway person." -- Ples Felix.
Senseless Violence, Unbelievable Forgiveness: The Tariq Khamisa Foundation was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on October 8, 2016.

Tariq Khamisa Foundation

The message below was sent recently from Mesa College regarding a worthwhile project they just completed. Even though City sometimes sees Mesa College as a rival big sister, the project is notable for the spirit of promoting literacy in its community:
On Friday September 23, 2016, Mesa’s Honors staff collaborated with Principal Sarah Saluta of San Diego Cooperative Charter Schools to place the little library right outside of the elementary school located on the corner of Linda Vista Rd. and Genesee Ave. If you’d like to learn more about the little library project, please go to https://littlefreelibrary.org/

I got the idea for this project one day when I was jogging in my neighborhood, Hillcrest. I saw one and thought, Linda Vista, a community that Mesa is a huge part of, needs to have one of these. A lot of generous individuals put in time and money to make this happen, so I’d like to take a moment and give them all a shout out:

San Diego Mesa College Foundation; AFT Local 1931; and Mesa’s Honors program helped fund the project.

Professor Sam Lee, Math professor at Mesa and Miramar, volunteered his time all Summer 2016 to paint it.

Honors student staff members, Andrew Rice, Erik Tomlinson, and Carissa Carrasquillo, all of whom are works studies Veteran students, worked with the elementary school students to place it outside of the elementary school.

Arthur James, Stockroom Clerk at Mesa College Receiving, helped transport it to the elementary school. He helped with the digging too. :)

Mesa Facilities allowed us to borrow their shovels.

Please go and visit the little library located on 7260 Linda Vista Rd. San Diego CA 92111 (corner of Linda Vista Rd. and Genesee Ave.) Take a book, give a book, and spread the importance of literacy.


Pegah Motaleb

Shelter to Soldier connects stray and abandoned dogs with veterans. Shelter to Soldier Gets 15K Grant from Petco was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Sept 9, 2016.

"They're not too old, and it's not something they can't do. This is good for their physical and mental health." -- Sarah Ludington, who developed the nonprofit, Dance2Heal.

Teen Dancers Get Seniors on their Feet was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Aug. 26, 2016.


Sue Chambers has helped many worthwhile causes in San Diego, including the Rancho San Diego Library. Volunteer Has a Head for Numbers, A Heart for Helping was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on August, 23, 2016.

I never was able to have pets of my own, so this is my way of being around animals. When I go to college, I plan to take my nonprofit with me and help animals wherever I go.” -- Nikita Krishnan.

Teen's Ingenuity Gets Animals Back on their Feet appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune on Aug. 16, 2016.




Foster kids always had a special place in my heart. They’re innocents caught up in an adult struggle they have nothing to do with. It grabs your heart because they need you so much. It becomes your mission to help them.” -- Foster parent, Susan Kurtik

Senior Couple Step Up As Foster Parents was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on August 8, 2016.

"It was fun giving back to the (homeless) community. They deserve respect from us. They're people just like us, and they deserve the best." -- Alec Johnson, original member of Burrito Boyz.

Charity Cooks Up Milestone was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on August 1, 2016.

Burrito Boyz

"Math was not a strong subject of mine. I had difficulty with that. I overcame it, but it took a lot of work. I had to get outside help." -- Social Advocates for Youth volunteer Nicholas Griffin.

For Math Whiz, Helping At-Risk Kids Adds Up was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on June 13, 2016.


Pic by Urbansnaps - kennymc
"The shoes are just the vehicle. The real deal is prayer, touching people, letting people know they're cared about." -- Rescue Mission President and CEO, Herb Johnson.

Feet Washed and Hearts Touched was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on June 4, 2016.


"I wasn't homeless. I just didn't have a roof." -- Aaron, who received help from Urban Street Angels.

Homeless Youth Get a Hand Up was published in the San Diego Union Tribune June 1, 2016.


Pic by Keven Law
"I don't want her memory to die. It makes me feel that she lives through these other kids." -- Carrie McGonigle, mother of 14-year-old murder victim, Amber Dubois.

Scholarship Nurtures a Memory was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on June 1, 2016.



"We have a twofold mission. One is to provide comfort and love to children in need. The other part is to provide an opportunity for individuals and agencies to make a difference in a child's life." -- Ursula Sorensen, Coordinator of Project Linus.

Ursula Sorensen's goal is to give security blankets to the San Diego children who need them the most. Wrapping Needy Kids in Layers of Love was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on May 27, 2016.


Pic by Ken Funakoshi
"I remember never having attended a funeral until I was 22 years old, and then I went to two different funerals on the very same day for two separate killings. Both of the kids were buried in their soccer uniforms. I didn’t want to have to go through that again." -- Reality Changers founder, Christopher Yanov.

Prepping Students for Life was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on April 25, 2016.

Students' Reality Changed for the Better was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on May 15, 2015.


Pic by scbailey
"So, kids stop by," she explains, "they pick out books. They read to us, unless they don't know how to read. In that case, we read to them. And then for every book they read, they get a Book Buck. And then they use these to buy prizes." -- Emily Moberly, founder of Traveling Stories.

10 News Leadership Award was posted on YouTube on Sept 4, 2014.

San Diego Made Better: Random Acts of Citizenship was published in The Reader on May 28, 2014.

Creating a World of Bookworms was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 23, 2012.

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