You are about to experience your 2nd Stargazing celebration on July 31, 2015. WHOOT!
Can’t make it? Honor the bravery of a Firecracker child with your generous gift right now.
This marks another milestone in your commitment to the healing of children in your community. It also marks the continuation of a powerful tradition of storytelling and solidarity through the Stargazing event. Adult survivors have so much to teach your community about the healing journey. Thank you for saving your seat to listen.
Your Survivor Keynote honors you with a lesson on what it means to heal in solidarity with those in your life who have been impacted by sexual trauma. Meet her here and feel free to comment with a note of encouragement as she bravely shares her story with you.
Always in solidarity, FC
My name is Lauren Manston-Domino but usually I go by Ellie.
I am known for a few things, being a therapist for children with autism, always having cat hair in my car, being an advocate for those in crisis, and being a nag when it comes to laundry. But I also have opinions on how I know myself to be;
I am an animal enthusiast, a Game of Thrones marathoner, a reluctant camper, a stubborn daughter, an enamored wife, and “a still working on it” survivor.
Growing up, I was a happy, adventurous kid. I always loved to be behind the lens of a camera and would do anything to make someone laugh. When I was young, I spent school years in Rochester Hills, a suburb of Detroit, building snow forts and catching frogs with my parents and best friend down the street.
During the summer, I would often visit my paternal grandparents in the mountains of North Carolina or visit my maternal grandmother on the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. As a child and adolescent, my favorite saying was, “It’s not fair!” and I still fall back on it today. My dad would often reply, “Life isn’t fair,” and I would retort, “Well it should be!” That is how I became interested in law, social justice, and the mental well-being of others.
When I wasn’t playing with my dinosaurs and horses, or going to a bonfire with my friends, I was doing marathons to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or I was spending my week cutting grass in Cork Town Detroit, or hanging out with my 89 year old friend, Jenny, who just wanted some company. I am now a graduate of Michigan State University Honor’s College and have a Bachelors of Art in Political Science (Pre-Law), Psychology, and a minor in Women’s Studies with a focus on sexuality and violence.
During undergrad, I volunteered at a crisis hotline center and at Sparrow advocating for individuals who were sexually assaulted and came to the hospital. It is through volunteering at Sparrow that I met my wife. Currently, I am working on getting a Bachelors of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders so that I can continue my education and get a Master’s in Speech Pathology. I am also a Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist, which is a fancy way of saying that I provide behavior based therapy to individuals with autism and traumatic brain injury. I hope to integrate Speech Pathology and Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy so that individuals with speech, developmental, and behavioral disabilities can experience a more comprehensive treatment plan.
I started working with The Firecracker Foundation as a participant in their 2015 Soulfire Calendar when my lovely wife asked if I would appear as her co-survivor. Since then I have been amazed at what The Firecracker Foundation and Tashmica have been doing for children who have been through more than their share of life hardships. If I had the resources that this organization is providing when I was younger, I believe that I would have been an even happier and more obnoxious child.
In all seriousness, it has been a long road that I have traveled to get where I am today. Throughout my journey, there have been plenty of moments where I have fallen and it took someone else’s hand to pull me back up and steady me as I continued walking. I believe that solidarity is the key to surviving and thriving in all situations in life, but especially when it comes to sexual assault.
As a society, we share the burden and the joy of helping others heal and creating a safer environment for everyone to live in.
Join your community of fierce advocates at Stargazing 2015 on July 31, 2015 at the LCC Planetarium from 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. Light some sparklers and walk over to the afterparty at Henry’s on the Square immediately after.