Tashmica “Firecracker” Torok
Founder & Executive Director

(she, her, hers)

Tashmica Torok is a nationally recognized survivor activist working to end child sexual abuse. She is a powerhouse fundraiser and movement maker who has raised thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours in support of her work.

Tashmica is the co-chair of the Capital Area Sexual Assault Response Team. Through her leadership, the foundation is spearheading trauma-sensitive yoga in the Lansing area and is providing services to the Lansing School District, Child & Family Service’s Angel House, Community Mental Health and to youth and families in the community. The growth of this innovative organization has inspired a move into a larger space where all programs – mental health therapy, trauma sensitive yoga, and pediatric medical advocay– will be hosted under the same roof.

Tashmica has been awarded the Michigan Jaycees Foundation’s Outstanding Young Michigander Award in 2014, USA Network’s 2015 Characters Unite Award, the 2016 Emerging Leader Award from Sistrum: the Lansing Women’s Chorus, and Child Advocate of the Year 2017 by the Lansing Exchange Club.

Her biggest thrill continues to be accomplishing her heart work at The Firecracker Foundation with healing children, teens and families. As the executive director of The Firecracker Foundation, she incites riots of generosity and advocates for the healing of children and families every day. Tashmica is the kind of friend who always encourages you to do more. She’s a published storyteller and a nearly retired roller derby skater. She’s also the mother of three boys, wife to a talented tile installer and a behind-the-scenes volunteer.

Carolyn Abide
Operations Manager

(she, her, hers)

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 an ever growing flock of chickens and ducks while navigating the joys and difficulties of living in a 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.

Erica Dziedzic
Donor Relations Coordinator

(she, her, hers)

Erica is an anthropologist who brings over ten years of formal experience in research methods, working in collaborative environments, and writing about complex topics for a wide range of audiences. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Michigan State University and transitioned from academia to the Firecracker Foundation in order to focus on survivor advocacy.

Erica brings enthusiasm and passion to her role as Donor Relations Coordinator. She values honest communication, connection, and compassion and uses these principles to sustain and generate support for the kids and families served by the Firecracker Foundation. She believes in the healing power of community and strength in solidarity. She is honored to be a member of this team of talented individuals.

She shares a lively home with her two spirited children, her creative and adventurous husband, and two naughty cats.

Ayanna Spencer
Peer Support Specialist

(she, her, hers)

Ayanna D. Spencer is a doctoral student in Philosophy at Michigan State University from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her research focuses on institutionalized epistemic violence as one of the challenges to addressing childhood sexual violence (CSA) as experienced by Black and Indigenous girls and gender non-conforming youth in the U.S. As a Black feminist and former student community organizer, Ayanna is passionate about political education, youth leadership and organizing, and community power for gender and racial justice. She brings her experience working with youth of color at MSU Upward Bound for two years, recent tenure with the FCF Teen Club, and experience as a MeToo Movement research consultant to Sisters in Strength-Lansing. Ayanna is fired-up to work with the dynamic FCF team and support teen survivors of color as SIS Peer Support Specialist.

Sisters in Strength-Lansing promises to be a powerful and transformative program for teen survivors of color in the tri-county area of Mid-Michigan. In many ways, opportunities to be a student social justice leader at Spelman College launched Ayanna’s healing journey as it affirmed that she has a voice and she can make a change in her community. She is excited to support other young survivors of color use their voices and skills to be leaders and organizers around gender-based violence.