Eastern Michigan University
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EMU Foundation

Do you believe in MAGIC? EMU senior Hope Pierson does.

Over 80% of students from the foster care system aspire to go to college - however, only 3% obtain a bachelor's degree by age 25. Additionally, many of these students experience or have experienced housing instability and lack a support system. EMU’s MAGIC (Mentorship, Access and Guidance in College) program and accompanying scholarship fund aim to help these students succeed. MAGIC is a federally-funded program that helps foster care alumni obtain independent living skills and successfully transition into adulthood. The MAGIC Scholarship Fund assists with the cost of college tuition.  
"Anyone pursuing a degree knows how difficult it is to finance an education,” said Joi Rencher, an independent living skills coach/coordinator for MAGIC. “It’s exponentially harder for someone without a family or support system to call on for help. We try to alleviate some of the hardships that might otherwise cause our students to give up on their education.”
Hope Pierson, a senior majoring in social work, has experienced the value of MAGIC firsthand: "MAGIC helps me on so many levels. It provides support, introduces me to resources on campus, assists financially, and teaches me how to self-advocate." Here, Pierson shares more of her personal experience with MAGIC and asks for your help supporting this important program.

Hope PiersonWhat’s the difference? I used to ask that question a lot. 

During 2012, I was kicked out of EMU and my financial aid was taken away. At the same time, I battled mental illness. I struggled with seemingly simple things like going to class and completing assignments. “What’s the difference,” I thought. “College just isn’t for someone like me.”

I wasn’t worried about jeopardizing my future, because I didn’t think I had a future to jeopardize. It wasn’t until I became homeless that I realized I needed help. 

You may not know what it’s like to be homeless, but I bet you know who you’d turn to if you needed help. Right? I didn’t think I had anyone to turn to – until MAGIC.

MAGIC is a support program at Eastern aimed at empowering students who have experienced foster care or homelessness. The MAGIC staff helps remove barriers that prevent us from being successful in college and graduating. We have access to study sessions, support groups, emergency assistance, independent living skills coaches, and so much more. 

After nearly 10 years of school and some difficult times, I’m now preparing to graduate with a degree in social work. I have a 3.5 GPA and I work at the Ozone House in Ypsilanti helping at-risk and homeless youth. Without Eastern and MAGIC, I would not be where I am today.

MAGIC is one of the many programs Eastern offers to support student success and I am one of many students who has benefited from the support. I want you to know that your support is powerful. Your gifts are the reason Eastern is able to offer me and my peers such life changing opportunities.

Students like me depend on your support to keep critical programs like MAGIC on our campus. Please consider extending your generous support. I know that not everyone has something to give, but remember – not everyone has someone to ask for help.

So, when you think ‘what’s the difference’ between giving a gift and not giving, I hope you remember my story. I hope you remember the thousands of students whose lives are impacted day after day by your gifts.

Making a gift online is easy - click here to give now. Thank you for making a difference.

Click here to read more about MAGIC!


EMU Foundation is located at 112 Welch Hall, 850 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197 Phone: 734.484.1322