Your Staff

Firecracker head shot

Tashmica “Firecracker” Torok, Founder & Executive Director

I am a survivor.

I own the sparks flying off the wreckage, the scars that still burn, and the story I am left to tell about the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. As an inspirational and engaging public speaker, I draw fire from the embers of my past to empower and encourage other survivors healing from the devastating effects of sexual trauma. As the founder & executive director of The Firecracker Foundation, I work to honor the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma by encouraging the Mid-Michigan community to invest in the healing of their whole being.

I am wife to a talented tile installer and mother to three boys that carry my heart with them wherever they go – much like the worms I find in their pockets. I am the author of my namesake blog, Tashmica Torok, and sometimes contributor to xoJane, where I offer humor, insight and inspiration to women across the U.S.

I preach militant self-care for all freedom fighters, the walking wounded, the in-the-trenches parents and the ambitious souls interested in building a productive and adventurous life without sacrificing self-love. As a former skater with the Lansing Derby Vixens, I have a deep love for all things roller derby and some of my closest friends still call me Firecracker. I can usually be found pouring my heart on to a yoga mat, writing in a local coffee shop or offering up behind the scenes volunteer work to the brilliant world changers in my hometown.

Despite my best intentions, I forget to turn the oven off, cannot arrive anywhere without GPS assistance, and will never succeed at two things: knitting or waking up without hitting snooze. These hiccups aside, I aspire daily to take Mother Teresa’s advice and “do small things with great love.”

Mandy Charping, Program CoordinatorMandy Charping

I’m a lifelong mid-Michigander with a variety of experience with a common thread of helping people thrive in whatever situations they find themselves. Much of my past work encouraged the growth and development of children and communities through recreational programs, child respite care, service learning, and nonprofit collaboration. Combine that with more recent experience in crisis intervention and support for individuals experiencing trauma, and therein lies my advocacy platform. The strength of individuals facing sexual trauma fuels my passion for building partnerships that will connect them with invaluable community resources that address the aftermath of such trauma and encourage healing. I’m grateful to be part of an advocacy community that thinks more creatively, more holistically, and more intentionally about how to best support children who have experienced sexual trauma.
Everyone reacts to trauma in different ways. For me, advocacy is about providing children and families with an individualized substrate for the quality, consistent care they will receive from our community partners on their path to healing. A child who survives sexual trauma deserves the support of our entire community as they begin to heal and lead a healthy life into adulthood. I believe that children and families have the right to quality and consistent healing services. I believe in the power of communities to create lasting change.

When I’m not working alongside the freedom fighters and world changers of my community, I’m pretending it’s still the 90’s with my lovely wife—rollerblading, playing Pokemon, and listening to Ace of Base. Together, we’ve rescued two rambunctious dogs, Lady and Bean, who keep us on our toes and bring so much life, love, and hair to our family.

It is an honor to contribute to The Firecracker Foundation’s work to support resiliency and well-being in all stages of development into adulthood, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to this growing, powerful organization.

Carolyn Abide, Bookkeeper/Office MangerWoman sitting on the ground wearing glasses, smiling and holding a baby goat in the sunshine outside.

As someone who has spent over a decade working with many different sensitive and vulnerable populations, I have seen the myriad of ways that trauma can drastically alter the course of a life. I have also had the privilege of seeing first-hand the light we can bring into our community when we act with love and listening compassion. I first heard of The Firecracker Foundation at yoga and was instantly interested in learning more. Having walked with dear friends and loved ones through the pain of sexual abuse and trauma, I am so excited to be a part of an organization that is working to honor and support the incredible strength of these survivors.

I am a lucky momma of a vibrant and strong-willed 5-year-old, who keeps me on my toes and at the top of my game and the partner to a kind and hard-working man. My husband and I recently made every middle school girl’s dream come true by buying a farm with my best friend and her family. We are having a blast raising our combined three children, 6 goats, and ever growing flock of chickens and ducks while navigating the joys and difficulties of living in close community with each other. We have just started training our goats to work as therapy animals and have been reveling in the resulting cuteness and peoples’ response to these beautiful and engaging creatures. Our friendship with The Firecracker Foundation has inspired us to move towards becoming more therapy-oriented as a farm and we are so excited to see where this path leads.

I am honored to be able to do the behind the scenes work that enables healing and hope to flourish.