Today we’d like to introduce you to Elexus Hunter.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
A proud native of San Francisco, CA. Never one to run from difficulties, I transformed my life from surviving abusive relationships until my 18 birthday, to becoming a college graduate and burgeoning business professional. When I entered foster care at 16, it was a love and hate situation because I was no longer held hostage but I also felt alone and neglected. When it was time to graduate high school and go off to college, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there with no money.
I’d gotten accepted to a handful of universities but didn’t have the money to pay for college. I thought being in the foster care community, there would have been some type of funding that I would automatically qualify for and use it for school. There was nothing offered from the city and county of San Francisco. I knew right then, I had to do something. I worked three months straight and apply to scholarships and grants and sacrificed my social life in order to get enough money to pay for college. However, it wasn’t just about me – what about all the rest of youth who wanted to go to college and make something of themselves. Too many to count. Because of my experience, I didn’t want anyone to experience what I had to go through just to get by. I started Tragic is Magic to provide scholarships to youth aging out of the foster care system in California that wanted to go to college.
I partnered with organizations such as Jamba Juice, Applebee’s, Chipotle and Alex & Ani to fundraise $2,000 a year since 2016 to support our academic scholarship program. As of today, I have awarded five youth in California approximately $1,000 to support their educational costs. We recently hosted our first annual event called Foster Expo: Empowerment & Mental Health. It’s an event geared towards uplifting at-risk youth as well as addressing social issues that hinders youth from everlasting success. We all need that extra push.
I know the ins and outs of how difficult life can be with little or no support. The struggle is real. My organization is designed for individuals who are willing to stop with the excuses and make improvements in their life. I only want the best for others and I’m happy to be a helping hand throughout their journey to success.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth sailing ship. To start a nonprofit or any business takes work. Unlike most, I had to start from the bottom. I’d done a lot of research on how to start a nonprofit but I knew I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel, I just wanted to fill in the gaps. I’ve mentioned this before in conversation, I don’t get compensated for Tragic is Magic. I do it because it’s the right thing to do – who else is going to do it? That’s my attitude. Most of the time, I’d come out of my own pocket to fund certain events or fundraiser and honestly I didn’t even have the money to do it. Still don’t. Every penny that I had went into starting this organization and yet I’m still funding it. It’s a challenge balancing my personal life with a dream. To be honest, I need all the support that I can get to keep this dream running. It’s a growing and learning process. We’re five years in and a lifetime to go.
Please tell us about Tragic is Magic.
Tragic is Magic (TIM) is my baby! I’ve watched it grow from a logo to a more develop vision. Where tragic experiences become magical ones, this means that even though we go through trauma, our outcome doesn’t have to be traumatic it can be magical. TIM is what I believe to be a safe haven for foster youth to escape from their inner doubts and fears to unleash their hidden talents and maximize their purpose is in life. My role is to advocate on behalf of the foster community through my story by addressing social issues and partnering with others to make a difference. I am most proud for making it this far because there were times when I honestly wanted to give up on my dream because I didn’t think I could do it. Sometimes distractions got in the way. I’m proud because I am able to give back to my community one scholarship at a time. A thousand dollars isn’t a lot but it helps! What sets me apart from others is that my intentions/motifs are all for a good cause. I’m not driven by the money nor do I chose to take advantage of youth’s stories and displacement just to have power. Someone has to be the change and I’m one of them.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is definitely a good source to start a business like mine because you have so many individuals/organizations doing the same thing that whatever challenges you’re facing someone can guide you in the right direction. Since moving back to California, the greater Los Angeles area, there’s been major strides with our resources and supporters. This has helped me get through some challenges – that’s hard to come by in other cities who lack resources and funding. We’re all competing for the same dollar but instead of competing let’s join forces to make a bigger impact.
- Website: www.tragicismagic.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tragicismagic/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TragicisMagic/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tragicismagic
- Other: https://youtu.be/XgRnx5KF1yE
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