foster care youth

‘Move-In Day Mafia’ Gives Former Foster Youth The Ultimate HBCU Experience With Dorm Room Makeovers, newsletter 2,

No student should have a lonely transition as they begin their college journey.

Television editor and producer TeeJ Mercer is putting an end to the harsh reality that many students lack proper resources when entering college through her non-profit, Move-In Day Mafia (MIDM). The initiative supports young adults aging out of the foster care system who are furthering their studies at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

According to the non-profit’s website, the “MAFIA” is a group of volunteers that supports underserved first-year students by presenting them with the ultimate dorm room makeover experience to boost their drive to pursue their educational goals. The “MAFIA” shows up to the campuses of HBCUs to provide these services for former foster youth as they start a new chapter of their lives.

“How can students focus, create and thrive when they are worried about their basic human needs,” Mercer, a Howard University graduate, told Essence. “I just want them to go to school and not have to work two or three jobs to take care of themselves. The only thing they should be concerned about is studying hard, partying, making memories, and ultimately graduating.”

The dorm room makeover also comes with care packages stuffed with hygiene and cleaning products.

“It costs about $1,700 to get each of our MIDM scholars moved in and set up with their first few months of care packages,” Mercer said. “But we have resolved that we will do EVERYTHING in our power to disrupt the foster care to prison pipeline and transform it into the foster care to HBCU graduate pipeline!”

MIDM stays connected with the students for four years and celebrates them upon graduation. 

Move-In Day Mafia is a collaboration with TV production company Planet Bougie. You can also help the “MAFIA” as a volunteer or send a donation.