Firecracker Blog

The Listening Ear: An Official Response

By June 6, 2016April 21st, 20173 Comments

You’ve probably read the headlines.

“Sex offenders volunteered for group serving sex assault victims.”

Lansing’s The Listening Ear has confirmed that they have utilized volunteers that are registered sex offenders in the same space where they serve survivors of sexual assault. This news is really scary and you deserve to hear how safe space is protected at The Firecracker Foundation.

Here are some key things you need to know.

The Firecracker Foundation requires all staff and upper level volunteers to submit to full state and federal background checks as well as provide a Central Registry Clearance that tells us they don’t have a substantiated accusation of child abuse on their record with DHS. You can check out the volunteer requirements and apply to join the team here.

The Listening Ear has a process by which they change policies and that process has begun. While they work on their internal process I recommend that all community members utilize MSU Sexual Assault Program  and EVE (End Violent Encounters) as a resource for crisis hotline and intervention services. We have also removed The Listening Ear from our list of resources until further notice.

Survivors deserve to have their agency respected. You deserve to know if you are working, serving or sharing space with a registered sex offender. That is the point of the registry. It is our policy that should a sex offender be identified within our ranks, all staff and volunteers are required to report it either to the Executive Director (yours truly) or the executive leadership so that they may be immediately removed.

It is never appropriate for registered sex offenders or people with substantiated reports of child abuse on their record with DHHS to work with survivors of sexual assault.

Here’s how you can help.

The foundation is working to expedite the launch of the Pediatric Medical Advocacy Team we had planned to kick off in 2017. Due to this unfortunate situation, there are no medical advocates qualified to respond to pediatric crisis calls at Sparrow Hospital. It is critical that families have the support they need and our job is to respond even when it doesn’t fit our timetable.

This critical response effort will cost The Firecracker Foundation approximately $10,000 outside of the budget planned for 2016.

Give today to support the Pediatric Medical Advocacy Team.

Volunteers are already pushing themselves through last minute trainings and signing up to take on shifts. You have the most amazing team of advocates on your side! Support their valiant efforts by giving a monthly gift of $83 . If you are already a Firekeeper, consider increasing your already generous monthly commitment.

If 10 people make this commitment today, this critical response effort will be fully funded!

I want to sincerely offer my compassion and care to all of the volunteers and community members who have been negatively impacted by this situation. Please know that you are in my thoughts. I remain hopeful that this situation will inform and strengthen our community’s crisis response into the future.

Since the very beginning, YOU have created a space or sanctuary for child survivors of sexual trauma and their families. It is our commitment to you that it will be fiercely safeguarded through survivor-focused policies.


Firecracker Sig



Tashmica ‘Firecracker’ Torok
Founder & Executive Director


PS –  Background checks are a vital component of working with ALL vulnerable populations. It is a FREE process and does not take a lot of time. If you want information for your programs on our process, feel free to email me at