She is a member of the Just Beginnings Inaugural Cohort, Lansing Area Transformative Justice Collective, and MSU’s SANE Advisory Board. She has trained hundreds of parents, educators, social workers, and other community stakeholders in topics related to child sexual abuse, trauma, militant self-care, and prevention. She is also a published storyteller. Most recently, she is a contributor to Love With Accountability: Digging up the roots of child sexual abuse which is currently available on AK Press.
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, Child Advocate of the Year 2017 by the Lansing Exchange Club, and was the inaugural recipient of the Greater Lansing Inspirational Woman of the Year Award, in 2019.
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 children, wife to a talented tile installer and a behind-the-scenes volunteer.
After earning BAs in Sociology, Anthropology and Women's Studies from the tiniest of midwestern liberal arts colleges, Carolyn spent 15 years living and working in intentional communities in Chicago.
Her work centered historically marginalized communities including those with developmental disabilities in the L'Arche community and those coping with mental illness, trauma and homelessness at Leland House. It was within these intentional communities that Carolyn learned the transformative value of reciprocal relationships and the necessity of sharing accountability, grief and joy in everyday life.
Carolyn then spent a year working for an organization called Alternatives, which used circus arts as an entry point for Restorative Justice in Chicago public schools. There, she gained firsthand knowledge that if we are to ever find a way forward, it will be rooted in the strength of community, authentic connection and the power of deep listening.
In 2017 Carolyn met Tashmica in a bar to talk about bringing her baby goats to a TFF yoga class and the rest, as they say, was history. Driven by her passion for economic justice and the practical choice to pursue a degree in accounting, she jumped at the chance to become TFF's bookkeeper and general administrator. She stepped into the role of CoDirector in 2020 alongside Tara Scott-Miller and Founding CoDirector, Tashmica Torok where she continues her ongoing work of dismantling the white supremacy she was cultured into from birth and remantling with possibility, joy and hope for a different world.
Carolyn's office magic still keeps paychecks and parties flowing while relishing the challenges of curating healing justice spaces with her fellow CoDirectors.
But Spirit is her first language.
For the past 14 years, Tara has followed the deep call to bridge her holy curiosity in cognition and behavior to the spiritual foundations of mindfulness — immersing herself in the study and practice of collective healing. She is an experienced meditation teacher, founder of a contemplative community, and a curator of transformative, sacred spaces dedicated to justice, liberation and healing practices — whether in private rituals, spiritual direction sessions, or communal gatherings.
Discovering an organic alignment between her facilitation of spiritual development and the frameworks of Healing Justice + Transformative Justice, Tara has designed numerous workshops on embodied awareness practices; hosted community-based dialogues for MSU’s Project 60/50; presented healing justice sessions at the Allied Media Conference; launched her healing justice project, radical bodhicitta, and led Quaker and Buddhist communities through this intensive inquiry-and-discernment model; co-facilitated workshops on health equity and social justice for a local public health organization; helped to seed the first Transformative Justice cohort in her community; and continues to develop her knowledge, capacity and skills in service of intersectional justice and abolitionist teaching.
In September 2019, when Tara was recruited to join The Firecracker Foundation as the Program Director for Sisters In Strength, she immediately recognized the opportunity as an expansion of her vocation and an extension of her soul's call to cultivate legacy work. Affectionately known to her colleagues as the "Kween of Pump Da Breaks" (and most likely to be heard asking, "Have you factored in time to transition + rest?"), Tara brings her spirit of "radical bodhicitta" to the organizational mission of building a community invested in the holistic healing of children and teens who are survivors of sexual trauma and gender-based violence(s).
Ash is a first-generation college graduate who left South-West Michigan to attend Michigan State University. There, they earned two B.A.s—majoring in Social Relations & Policy, Anthropology, and Gender Studies and minoring in Mandarin Chinese and LGBTQ & Sexuality Studies. Their passion for taking action and building bridges across socioeconomic differences helped them grow into a student leader and an activist. They facilitated workshops for MSU’s Sexual Assault & Relationship Violence Prevention Program for four years and worked for several MSU programs serving International Students. They also served on the executive boards of student organizations committed to building relationships interculturally and registered voters during the 2018 election. Ash is a Survivor (with-a-capital-S) living an ongoing healing journey from the traumas of child abuse and adult sexual & relationship violence, among others. They are deeply committed to personal and societal transformation, understanding them as interwoven. They're tenacious and spirited!
Outside of the work Ash does for The Firecracker Foundation, they're engaging in civic life with their community. In their leisure time they enjoy cooking (and especially eating!), listening & dancing to music, ritual, audiobooks, watercolors, sewing, and swapping stories about this fascinating world we share!