Stories of Lives Changed

Grant Success Stories
Scholarship Success Stories

Grant Success Stories

Tattoo Removal and Internship Equipment for Ja’mount

Just In Time JamountJa’mount was placed into foster care at the age of six. Over the next nine years, he was placed in many foster homes and group homes, and was eventually separated from his siblings. At 15, he endured physical abuse which led him to run away and live on the streets. Even though being in a gang was the normal choice for young men in his neighborhood, Ja’mount eventually left and began to look for other ways to become a productive member of the community.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant to pay for Ja’mount’s gang tattoo removal as well as his necessary work equipment to graduate from Kitchens for Goods. After completing the training course, he is now working and has been promoted twice. He is excited about being better able to take care of himself and his son. His confidence has boosted and he has become more self-sufficient.

New Bed for Emma

CHOC Emma HEmma is a 9-year old girl who has multiple disabilities as well as renal disease which requires her to have dialysis at home. Her progress toward greater independence was hindered as a result of injuries and treatment interruptions related to sleep. During her nightly dialysis, she would sometimes accidentally fall out of bed or pull out the tubing while dreaming or attempting to get up.

Change a Life Foundation provided a Safety Sleeper bed covering which keeps Emma safe from falls and prevents the tubing from getting disconnected. Emma quickly adapted to the new bed and her activity levels have greatly increased. Her parents have noticed that the Safety Sleeper has made a world of difference for Emma in terms of her independence and quality of life.

Oxygen System for Janet

LifeSTEPS Janet KJanet suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which was caused by her asthma. Although she has COPD, she has tried to stay active and attend functions put on by her housing community. Janet had oxygen for her home, but was in need of a portable machine. When she walked around without oxygen, her levels would drop significantly, putting her at a serious health risk.

Change a Life Foundation provided Janet with a portable oxygen system. This equipment has given her the freedom to travel about her community without feeling weak or anxious to return home. One of her favorite things to do is attend her granddaughter’s softball games. Janet has been able to take care of daily living activities and is getting better sleep at night. She no longer feels confined to the solitude of her apartment and is happy to be socializing with friends again!

Face Masks for Juan Jesus



Juan Jesus is a six-year-old burn survivor who was burned in a barbecue accident in October 2014. The barbecue exploded while he was walking by at his face and arm caught on fire. His father was able to smother the flames, but Juan Jesus sustained injuries and was admitted to the burn center for 3 days.

He was given a face mask to aid in his recovery, but took it off on a hot day and one of his siblings accidentally sat on it. The masks are very expensive and the family’s insurance would not pay for a replacement.

Change a Life Foundation was able to provide Juan Jesus with 2 new face masks to aid in the recovery of his facial burns. He was able to attend Champ Camp, where he built friendships with other child burn survivors. The masks are also minimizing his facial scarring and he has shown to be very resilient after the accident!

Phlebotomy Certification for Vanessia

Mercy House Vanessia CVanessia was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but found herself without a job after an unfortunate work accident. She searched day and night for a new job, and eventually found employment. However, she knew that if she wanted to be successful on her own again, she needed to return to school.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for Vanessia to enroll in Phlebotomy school. Vanessia did well in the course and graduated, receiving her Phlebotomy license. She is very excited to be in a position where she can use her new skills and training. Vanessia now has a stable home and feels very secure and confident in her future.

Scooter, Lift Chair, and Rollator for Jerry

LifeSTEPS JerryJerry is a very friendly man who enjoys making people laugh. He is a diabetic and has suffered multiple strokes that have affected his balance and use of the left side of his body. This made it difficult for him to walk and he was always in fear of stumbling and falling. These physical challenges caused him to isolate himself and become depressed and lonely.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for Jerry to purchase a scooter, lift chair, and rollator. Jerry is much more comfortable and confident, and has not had any falls. He enjoys going to town, paying bills, and grocery shopping without fear of injuring himself. He said, “Receiving these items returned so much of my independence that I thought I had lost for good. My life has immensely changed for the better since I received the help from LfeSTEPS and the CALF grant!”

Emergency Mini Grants Fund

Peninsula Family Service Org GrantPeninsula Family Service received an organizational grant and used the funds to provide mini grants to their clients to address their transportation, medical, and nutritional needs.

The funds allocated for transportation were utilized to purchase car seats, strollers, booster seats, gas cards, and bus passes. Individuals were able to safely transport themselves to school and doctor’s appointments.

The medical funds were used to purchase weighted blankets for children from homeless families and other items to support successful recuperation for participants in hospital-to-home transition programs.

The nutrition and self-sufficiency funds were used to purchase gift cards for participants to purchase interview clothes and groceries. Many individuals were able to secure jobs. The funds from this grant helped many of their clients become independent and move toward self-sufficiency.

Cataract Surgery for Sharon

PSHH Sharon TSharon recently started having vision problems, which caused her a great deal of stress. She is the primary caregiver for her husband and needs to be able to take him to medical appointments. Her poor vision was causing more problems, but she could not afford the high cost of cataract surgery even with her insurance.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for Sharon to receive cataract surgery. Her vision is restored and she is able to maintain her independence. Her health has improved and she no longer worries about the financial burden of her health care needs.

“As a 74 year old woman, the thought of no longer being able to drive due to poor vision was devastating. I am also the primary caregiver for my husband so driving is a necessity. I can’t thank you enough for providing me the funds to have a much needed procedure.”

Hearing Aids for Douglas

LifeSTEPS DouglasDouglas was an active senior in his housing community, but started to withdraw from social activities over the past year. He was diagnosed with hearing loss and expressed frustration over the situation. He would constantly ask people to repeat themselves and could not hear his son on the telephone.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for Douglas’ new hearing aids. He told his social worker, “I am a new man!” Douglas enjoys going to sporting activities and being outdoors again. He attends every meeting, educational opportunity, and social activity at is housing community and spends more time laughing with others. Douglas is enjoying life and engaging in more conversations and activities!

Dental Work for Denise

LifeSTEPS DeniseDenise is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2013, but has since finished treatment and is now in remission. She underwent chemotherapy which caused the enamel on her teeth to weaken and decay. Denise also suffered a stroke which caused facial paralysis, leading to a broken tooth.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for Denise to receive dental work. She received crowns and partial dentures and no longer feels embarrassed. She is able to eat a more balanced diet and feels better physically and emotionally.

“I never really smiled or laughed and people were always asking why. I was too uncomfortable about how my mouth looked. But now with your help I will be smiling all the time and showing my teeth all the time. You have given me a gift I have been praying on for years.”

Adjustable Bed and Mattress for Michael

PSHH Michael VMichael is a veteran who suffered a fall down three stories while working on a construction site and broke his back. He did not have surgery, but received many epidurals and steroid injections to help ease the pain. He was sleeping on an unsupportive mattress that increased his back pain and prevented him from getting the sleep he needed.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for a new adjustable bed and mattress. Michael’s back pain has reduced tremendously and he is now able to sleep through the night peacefully. He wakes up feeling refreshed and his overall stress levels have reduced greatly. His mobility has increased and he is now able to do things he loves, such as painting and playing tennis.

Low Vision Equipment for Ruby

Senior Advocates Of The Desert RubyRuby was always proud of her independence, but due to macular degeneration, she could no longer read her mail, manage her bank statements, or read prices at the grocery store. When she was forced to ask for help, she felt like she was becoming too dependent on others and missed her privacy.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for her to purchase a video magnifier to help her do daily tasks such as going through her mail or reading the Bible. She finds comfort in being able to manage her affairs on her own. She has regained her independence and can live safely with dignity and security.

Housing Post-Transplant for Joe

Ava's Heart JoeJoe received a kidney transplant and was already home when he discovered he had a rare infection that affects few kidney transplant patients. He needed a special treatment to cure the infection that required him to be less than 30 minutes from the transplant center. Change a Life Foundation provided funding for Joe to stay near the center, get his treatment, and return home to his family. He is now working and back to living a normal life.

“While an organ transplant is about the last thing anyone would want, Change a Life Foundation’s assistance and involvement in the lives of those impacted, has made and will continue to make a very big difference in both the patients’ and their families’ daily lives. Thanks again for caring and reaching out to serve your fellow neighbors!”

Power Wheelchair and Lift Chair for Betty

Partners In Care BettyBetty has various diagnoses that cause poor endurance, joint pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty transferring from sitting to standing positions. She was unable to walk or stand for long periods of time.

Change a Life Foundation awarded a grant for a power wheelchair and lift chair which have helped make Betty’s life easier. The power wheelchair allows her to increase her socialization by attending events such as bingo nights with her friends. She is more independent as she is now able to attend medical appointments and run errands without the fear of falling. Betty feels better physically due to decreased physical discomfort from fatigue. She is also happier and has higher levels of self-esteem!

Hearing Aids for Jacklyn

Age Well Jacklyn RJacklyn began suffering from hearing loss at a young age and grew accustomed to it throughout her life. Since retirement, she has attended several hearing aid classes and noticed that her world was shrinking due to her hearing impairment. The volume on her television was so loud that her neighbors were always able to hear it.

Jacklyn was awarded a grant for hearing aids which has brightened her world immensely. She remembers returning home for the first time and hearing alarms and cars passing by. She continues to socialize and attend classes, but is now able to sit in the back of the room and hear every word very clearly. Jacklyn enjoys not having to read lips and feels more alive and connected to her peers.

Vertical Platform Lift for Susan

National MS Pacific Susan 2Susan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and as her symptoms progressed, she became more uncertain if she would be able to simply get out of her home. Every step in and out of her home was shaky and filled her with fear that she may fall or injure herself.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for Susan’s vertical lift platform to help her safely enter and exit her home. She now feels more confident living independently and will not become isolated. She can positively manage her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and continue to be an active member of society. Susan is happy to be able to continue doing various tasks such as attending medical appointments and going grocery shopping without help from others.

Dental Work for Marlynes

Second Story Associates MarlynesMarlynes suffered extreme oral pain for many years. Her gums bled and here severe dental decay and erosion caused her to lose a majority of her teeth. This greatly affected her diet and she was no longer able to eat foods she enjoyed. Marlynes also became self-conscious about her smile and would cover her mouth anytime she laughed.

Change a Life Foundation provided a grant for Marlyne’s dental work. She is now pain free and her gums no longer bleed. With her new dentures, she is able to eat a more healthy and balanced diet with food that she enjoys. Marlyne’s self-esteem has also improved. She she smiles frequently and is not afraid to show her teeth to those around her.

Car Repairs and Gas Cards for Tom

Tom was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2015. He went through surgery and chemotherapy treatments since then and is currently stable. While Tom was recovering, he had to attend many follow-up appointments at the hospital. Change a Life Foundation provided a grant that allowed him to purchase new tires and auto repairs to ensure the safety of his vehicle. Change a Life Foundation also provided food and gas cards for his long drives to the hospital. This grant allowed Tom to continue to have his independence and self-sufficiency as he was able to take care of his own medical needs, decreasing his resilience on others.

“Your help made it possible to keep up with our medical bills and relieved a lot of stress, anxiety and depression. We are much happier and hopeful now with confidence that everything is going to be okay. Thank you again Change a Life Foundation for all your compassion and kindness you give to patients that are overwhelmed with unimaginable circumstances.”

Electric Scooter for Ruth

PSHH Ruth EPrior to receiving her scooter, Ruth was very dependent on others for rides and meeting her basic needs. She does not drive and her knee problems make it hard for her to walk or stand for extended periods of time. Whenever she needed to go to a local grocery store or pick up a prescription, she had to arrange a ride which was very difficult. Her immobility also made it difficult for her to participate in community activities, such as attending church.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for Ruth’s electric scooter which has greatly improved her quality of life. Her mobility has greatly increased and she is now making independent trips to the grocery store and pharmacy. Her mood has improved and she can’t help smiling when she talks about her scooter and how it has changed her life.

Vehicle Lift for Paul

National MS Pacific PaulPaul has been living with primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis for over 4 years now and is proactively fighting to maintain his mobility and overall health by living a healthy and active lifestyle. Paul was using a manual wheelchair, but found increased difficulty in getting it in and out of his vehicle. This worried him as he’d become quite fulfilled by his healthy routine and ability to take himself to medical appointments or run daily errands on his own.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for Paul’s vehicle lift which allows him to move his wheelchair in and out of his vehicle with ease. He is happy knowing that he can maintain his independence by driving himself places. Paul’s vehicle lift has given him confidence, hope, and motivation to continue his fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

Post-Transplant Housing for Ken

Ava's Heart Ken4Ken was in the military many years ago and contracted a rare virus that affected his heart. After coming back, he had a good job at a security company and was able to take care of his family. Ten years ago, he began having heart issues and has been in and out of the hospital ever since. His condition worsened and he was given an L-VAD to keep his heart pumping. He was placed at the top of the transplant list, pending until he could prove he had housing post-transplant.

Change a Life Foundation provided funding for Ken to stay near the transplant center and recover with the proper care after his surgery. He is now able to return home and continue building his strength. He looks forward to enjoying spending time with his family, returning to work, and becoming self-sufficient once again.

Emergency Basic Needs Funds

Just In Time Org IndividualJust in Time for Foster Youth’s Basic Needs program serves as a safety net for former foster youth who lack the support of a family when emergencies arise and threaten to throw them off track. Change a Life Foundation provided an organizational grant for emergency basic needs funds assistance. The mini grants were used for things such as bus passes to help with transportation to their jobs or food cards so that the students would have enough to eat for the remainder of their college semesters. Gabriella (pictured) was given gas cards to drive from San Diego to a summer session at UC Berkeley. She plans to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History with a minor in Anthropology. This grant positively impacted the lives of many youth, giving them the support to become more confident, capable, and connected.

Accessibility Modification to Vehicle

SCRS Deserie1Deserie is considered permanently disabled, but continues to work at a non-profit organization. She uses a wheelchair and is able to drive. However, her vehicle was not accessible when she was by herself. Her husband had to assist her on or off the driver’s seat in order for her to be able to drive the car.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant to provide accessibility modifications to Deserie’s vehicle. She is now able to safely transfer herself from her wheelchair into the driver’s seat of her car without risk or fear of falling or hurting herself. Deserie is able to drive herself to the store, the doctor, and the workplace. She has become more active in her community and hopes to give back to the community of people with disabilities.

Dental Work for Susan

SCAN SusanSusan’s teeth were very decayed and many were broken. Her dental issues made her teeth very sensitive to hot and cold things and she experienced a lot of pain when chewing her food. The pain was so uncomfortable that she would often skip meals to avoid the discomfort.

“I want you to know what a difference you have made in my life. I was so depressed because I was losing my teeth along with other health issues. I was having trouble sleeping because of having no solutions. You have made such a huge difference in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are so appreciated.”

Power Wheelchair, Lift Chair, and Bathroom Modification for Jim

Age Well Jim 1Jim has had physical disabilities since birth due to mild cerebral palsy and Type 1 Diabetes. The lack of circulation in his body caused him have his lower legs amputated. He would mostly use his prosthesis to ambulate as his portable wheelchair was broken, limiting his social activities outside of his home. After a safety inspection of his bathroom, it was found that it was challenging for Jim to access the shower.

Change a Life Foundation funded a light weight wheelchair that his friends can put in their cars easily. He can continue to visit friends and attend local events outside of his home. His wheelchair has arms that help him get into standing and sitting positions safely, greatly reducing his risk of falling. Jim is glad to have more independence and an improved quality of life. Change a Life Foundation also provided grant funds for his bathroom modifications and he is very happy knowing that he has so many extra layers of safety.

Portable Ramp for Luz

SCAN Luz CroppedLuz suffers from joint pain in her hands and legs due to Sjorgen’s syndrome which makes it difficult for her to climb or descend stairs. She spent most of her time indoors because she was dependent on others to assist her in and out of her home. She couldn’t go out and do the things she enjoyed and she only left her home if it was necessary.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for a portable ramp. Luz has now regained her independence and can leave her home without the assistance of another person. She enjoys spending her time outdoors and attending church events. Luz is very grateful and said, “I feel very fortunate and happy to have this useful ramp.”

Post-Transplant Housing for Jamie

Ava's Heart Jamie FJamie was born with an enlarged heart and received her first  transplant when she was three. Many babies and infants who receive transplants require a second one later in life due to antibody issues. Jamie’s first transplanted heart went into rejection when she was thirteen, but she was still able to continue with her schooling.

It is mandated that transplant patients live near their transplant center post-surgery to go in for tests, blood work, scans, and more. Change a Life Foundation provided funding for Jamie and her mother to stay at the Tiverton House after her transplant. They were able to walk to Jamie’s daily clinical appointments until she was well enough to return home. She is excited to go back to school and plans to attend college.

Dental Work for SarahIllumination Foundation Sarah

Sarah is affected with a disease that causes inflammation and infection in the bones that support her teeth. This was causing her to be unable to consume a healthy and substantial diet due to her teeth being brittle.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for  Sarah’s dental work which helped her in all aspects of life. She was able to re-enter the work force and provide for herself. She no longer experienced pain or stress related to dental issues. Sarah is more confident, always smiling, and on the way to self-sufficiency.


ROHO Cushion, Mattress, and Scooter for Mercedes

LifeSTEPS MercedesMercedes suffers from arthritis of the knees and osteoporosis, which causes pain in her knees and makes it difficult to walk. She was using a manual wheelchair, but often felt too fatigued to push herself in it. Mercedes enjoys doing arts and crafts, but the effort required to leave her apartment discouraged her from going outside.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for a scooter and ROHO cushion to prevent strain and stiffness while sitting. The grant funds were also used to purchase a new mattress as her old one was non-supportive and provided little to no comfort. Mercedes reports that she is now able to move around freely and safely without having to depend on others. She sleeps better and appears happier and more relaxed. Mercedes has increased her participation in community activities and increased her self-esteem and self-sufficiency!

Dental Work for Ruthie

LifeSTEPS Ruthie H PhotoRuthie’s teeth had deteriorated to a state that was causing her tremendous pain. Her poor oral conditions were causing trouble with her speech and eating. Ruthie was embarrassed of her appearance, and her self-esteem was suffering.

Change a Life Foundation funded a grant for Ruthie’s dental work. She reports that she has no more pain and has experienced total relief. She has no more discomfort and believes that her appearance has improved greatly. She enjoys smiling when she looks in the mirror and her self-esteem has improved. Ruthie is now consuming more nutritious food and has greater involvement in the community. She has experienced an overall improvement in physical and mental health.


Hearing Aids for Anne

LifeSTEPS Anne H PhotoAnne’s deteriorating hearing was making it difficult for her to participate in some of her favorite activities. Her hearing impairment made it almost impossible for her to carry on a conversation with someone if there was any noise in the room. Anne enjoyed watching PBS and educational programming, but the volume had to be so loud that it would be a nuisance to others.

She was awarded Change a Life Foundation grant for hearing aids. She no longer feels frustrated or confused when socializing in group settings, she can watch television without disrupting her neighbors, and she no longer shouts when speaking on the phone. She enjoys staying fit by walking around her apartment community for exercise.


Scholarship Success Stories

Victoria Kessel, 2-year Change a Life Foundation Scholar Recipient Speaks at 2014 Scholarship Awards Luncheon

Tori Kessel 5 CopyTori received a Change a Life Foundation Scholarship in 2010 and 2011 to attend Westmont University. Tori graduated Magna Cum Laude from Westmont University in 2014 where she received her Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies. This fall, Tori will be attending the Westmont Credential Program to continue her journey towards teaching.

Change a Life Foundation was delighted to have Tori come back and share her experience with our 2014 Scholarship Recipients. All attendees felt inspired by Tori’s speech. Good luck on your teaching credential Tori!

Mark is thriving at UC Irvine!

Mark, a 2014 Scholarship Recipient  just finished his first quarter at UC Irvine! He is taking classes towards a Computer Engineer degree and received an outstanding GPA of 3.5. Mark also just got a new job at the Starbucks on his campus! Everyone at Change a Life Foundation wishes Mark success as he completes his first year of college!

“I would like to thank you again for this scholarship opportunity; without this scholarship, it would have definitely been a struggle paying for my school fees. Thank you!”


Kaci will be graduating from the University of California, Davis May 2015!

Kaci Turpin 6Kaci, Change a Life Foundation Scholarship Recipient studied abroad in Ecuador

Kaci, a 2011 and 2012 Scholarship Recipient is getting ready to graduate from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelors of Science in Community and Regional Development and a minor in Communications. While she was at UC Davis, Kaci experienced a rigorous and challenging course load, had the opportunity to study abroad last summer in Ecuador, as well as complete an internship in Costa Rica. The picture to the left is of Kaci horseback riding at the base of one of Ecuador’s volcanoes, Cotacatchi.

This fall, Kaci will pursue a master’s degree at the University of Iowa in Therapeutic Recreation! Good Luck Kaci and we are proud we were able to support your higher education success!

Scholarship Grant Recipients Share Their Experiences

Ashley DoanRecent scholars have a lot to share about receiving a Change a Life Foundation scholarship:

“Thanks to your generous support, my dream of becoming the first person in my family to attend college is now becoming a reality.”

“Your generosity is unmatched, because your act is not for a personal gain, but a gain for the world, as each student you support will one day release their service and knowledge, thanks to your support.”

“Thanks to the Change a Life Foundation and its philanthropic vision towards my university endeavors, I will be able to start on my journey of finding my place in society, and help course our forthcoming generations toward a radiating future.”

“This scholarship has offered me hope, inspiration, and the chance to open doors to my future.”

Jessica“My life obstacles are only miles behind me thanks to the Change a Life scholarship. It has granted me the access to my dreams and to prosper in everything I do.”

“This scholarship proves to me that I can do more and be more than what is expected from society and statistic. No words can express my boundless gratitude.”

“This scholarship has motivated me on an academic and personal level. I will continue to strive to be the best student, the best leader, and the best contributor to my community as at UC Riverside and wherever my future endeavors may take me.”

“I thank you for supporting me in my adjustment to college and just know that you will remain a part of me throughout my journey to becoming a surgeon and in the rest of my life.”

“Your scholarship award reminds me that although life is full of difficult and painful obstacles, there are ways to move forward and see a brighter future.”