PRESIDENT | Apryl is a local author, artist, and scientist. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Michigan State University where she is currently a Research Associate in the MSU Neuroscience Program. Apryl researches the effects of traumatic stress on the brain, with particular focus on how hormones, sex/gender, and early-life developmental processes influence how individuals respond to trauma. Apryl is the faculty advisor for the MSU chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where she works to ensure that all people struggling with mental health issues on her campus receive the resources and respect they need.
Apryl is passionate about educational outreach and institutional policymaking as it pertains to building a community that invests in the holistic healing of those who have survived sexual trauma. She believes in the healing properties of yoga, art, music, and writing as therapeutic modalities for trauma recovery. Apryl’s own story, Fortitude: A PTSD Memoir, was released in 2015 and her art has been featured in ArtPrize. Apryl enjoys practicing yoga, writing and playing music, going to concerts, and making fun of her two dogs, Lady and Bean.
TREASURER | Tyler Dyke is a grammar and spreadsheet nerd. He pays his bills by working in securities regulation as a financial institution examiner (think stocks and bonds, not security guards). Tyler enjoys volunteering and participating in the community. Currently, he also serves as the treasurer for Michigan Pride, on the board for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, and is the president of the Grand River Connection. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, home update projects, skydiving, reading, and brunching.
Kathleen “Violet Defiant” Livingston
VICE PRESIDENT | Kathleen Livingston (goes by Violet) is a queer femme storyteller and community-based artist / organizer. She has a PhD in Rhetoric & Writing from Michigan State University, and is currently working on a collection of essays on consent in queer culture and communities. She is also the Advocacy committee co-chair and a contemporary circus performer with Violet & Fortuna, Bird’s Eye View Circus, and The Ann Arbor Aviary. Her work explores how people can come to know their own power and use it well. This work often comes out as lyric and narrative essays, acrobatic storytelling, and zines. Violet works with memory, photographs, scraps of paper, scissors, glue sticks, her body, and her voice. She wears maroon boots, cropped hair, and silver rings. Violet likes loud-mouthed women, unconventional laughter, and anything handmade. There’s a good chance she wants to use your photocopier.
SECRETARY | Liz Abdnour owns her own law and consulting firm providing legal representation to individual clients, as well as independent investigative services, consultation, and training in K-12, higher education, and workplace discrimination and harassment matters to employers and educational institution clients. Liz’s specialty areas include special education, school discipline, Title IX, disability, discrimination, harassment, and other civil rights issues, as well as family law, housing, and personal protection order matters. Liz previously worked in legal services providing free representation to low income individuals with a specific focus on advocating for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, children, and immigrants, and as a university Title IX and civil rights investigator. In her free time, Liz enjoys sleeping, eating, and watching funny cat videos.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
Kathleen Miller is the Program Coordinator of the Capital Area Response Effort (CARE) Program, where she advocates for survivors of domestic violence. Kathleen is a licensed attorney and previously worked at Lakeshore Legal Aid providing civil legal representation to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She received both her undergraduate and law degree from Michigan State University. Kathleen is a lifelong Michigander who loves euchre, dogs and any activity that involves a camping chair. Lake Michigan is her happy place, and the way to her heart is through an ice cold, fountain Diet Coke.
Claudia Rodgers is a social worker, therapist with a passion for empowering children and families in the face of adversity. A recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Claudia has a specialization in working with trauma affected children and youth. While her focus is of a clinical nature, Claudia remains committed to engaging in community activism; policy and politics and being a crusader for social justice. In her spare time, Claudia enjoys spending time with her family, traveling the world; taking ballet and boot camp classes and snuggling with her Boxer pup, Max. Claudia is excited about the work she will be doing as a Firecracker Foundation board member, and is eager to be a part of the positive change that is sure to take place in the Lansing area.
Theresa Squires is a Assistant Director at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition and the Her Power Director.
An award-winning activist, Theresa proudly identifies as a woman with multiple invisible disabilities. Theresa is the founder of Her Power! a four day event where teen girls across Michigan challenge media stereotypes/lies and shatter myths about what it means to be a teen girl with a disability. For her work in disability and gender justice she was featured in YES! Magazine as their, “Person we Love” and received an award from Michigan State University’s Center for Gender in Global Context. Theresa currently serves as the Project Director for the Training and Services to End Violence Against Women with Disabilities Grant Program. In her free time she organizes Weaving the Symbolic a feminist and disability reading group. While her training specialties and grant projects vary, ending violence against women and girls is at the core of all she does.
Tim Welch is a doctoral student in Couple and Family Therapy at MSU. He has two bachelor’s degrees (philosophy and psychology) and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Oklahoma State University. He has professional experience working as an elementary teacher in Kansas City Missouri, working in a psychiatric hospital for children and providing in home therapy services for families working towards reunification with their children.
As a therapist Tim has seen the impact sexual violence has on survivors. He has seen how the experience(s) of sexual violence are hard enough, but the shame of secrecy, or sharing your story only to have it shut down are like a second trauma – one that can be prevented with not only access to quality treatments but by believing survivors when they first tell their stories.
Katie Sova is the Operational Manager at Ulta Beauty. She has been in the makeup industry for 5 years. She loves making women feel beautiful. Katie has been a Fitness Coach through her own family personal training business with her husband Tony Sova for 10 years. As a fitness coach she has helped many people gain a more healthy approach to life. Katie has a back ground in business and marketing, customer service and human resources.Her hobbies include weight training, running, traveling, and creating art with her four kids.
Jennifer works as a Senior Sales Professional with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a Johnson & Johnson Company. Raising two kind-hearted, well-rounded scholar athletes brings her great joy. She spends much of her time empowering Allison (16) and Blake (13) to be future leaders through both academic and extra-curricular activities.
Born and raised in the city of Detroit she has spent more than 25 years working and living in the greater Lansing area. She is a graduate of Cass Technical High School and has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. As a proud member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Greater Lansing Chapter, MSU Black Alumni Association, Inc. and a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, Jennifer is committed to impacting the lives of others positively.
She enjoys traveling with her fiancé, Harold and eating almost any cuisine prepared by someone other than herself.
The Firecracker Foundation is seeking applications from community members interested in serving as board members charged with the oversight of this ambitious 501©3 nonprofit organization.
As a newly-launched grassroots nonprofit, the board of directors operates as a volunteer work force developing programs, policies and procedures that will ensure the sustainability of this invaluable community resource. The Firecracker Foundation provides free, high quality holistic healing services to children that have survived sexual trauma in the tri-county area and their families.
Currently board positions are available for individuals with the following professional experience;
- Legal expertise pertaining to nonprofit business and/or child advocacy law and policy in the state of Michigan.
- Trauma Sensitive Yoga training, practice experience and/or a passion for building therapeutic yoga programs.
- Experience cultivating and training a team of advocates to participate in crisis intervention for children and their families.
- Financial expertise related to nonprofit accounting, best practices and accountability.