Physiological and psychological needs, such as food, shelter, and good mental health, are paramount to student retention and success. These resources are typically available through an Advocacy Resource Center; however, possibly due to a low sense of student belonging only a small number of students use these services. Having a low sense of belonging makes students less likely to talk with their instructor and seek out these resources, which decreases their ability to succeed. Building strong student/instructor relationships through the Pedagogy of Real Talk helps create a sense of belonging and increases communication with their instructor about resources early in the semester. Participants will discover how incorporating the Pedagogy of Real Talk into their classes builds strong relationships with their students through common dialogs and shared experiences. We will also explore how these relationships lead to higher engagement with materials through the use of Alternative Lessons focused on peaking students’ interests and increasing retention.