The Firecracker Foundation 2017 Spring Newsletter

Welcome to your first newsletter. We come bearing good news of growth, healing and goats. Yep. You heard me. Goats. 2017 has started with exceeded expectations. Yet again. So settle in, grab your favorite celebratory beverage and read all about it. - Tashmica Torok, Founder & Executive Director

Thanks to you, The Firecracker Foundation offers free, high-quality mental health therapy, trauma-sensitive yoga, caretaker support groups and pediatric medical advocacy to child survivors of sexual trauma and their families in the tri-county area of Mid-Michigan. You can continue your support with a generous gift today!

Who's counting? We are. Because every child, every family we have the ability to serve through your generosity is important to us. So far this year, we've provided high quality services to more than 80 children and their families. We've also trained 7 new Pediatric Medical Advocates and enjoyed the support of more than 30 volunteers contributing nearly 100 hours of their valuable time. Wow.
HOLISTIC HEALING PROGRAMS
Your community’s generosity has allowed us to contract therapists to provide consistent, quality therapy to children and their families, who have experienced sexual trauma. There are 5 children in therapy now but we have room for more! Contracted therapists facilitate individual therapy sessions for child survivors between the ages of 3 and 17 in the safety and security of their existing practice location. Service providers and legal guardians can refer a child for individual therapy services by calling 517-242-5467.
Are you a therapist or trauma-sensitive yoga instructor interested in contracting with The Firecracker Foundation? Click the link below to find out more about how to join a powerful team of healers!

Early intervention for the child survivor is important, but many families are unsure of how to support their children, and ultimately how to move forward as a safe and healthy family unit. Caretaker Support Groups are being provided to offer psychoeducation and support to families who have experienced sexual trauma. Group leaders will work to create a safe space to share questions, concerns and ideas to support one another as they navigate moving their family forward after sexual abuse.

The next 8-week session is coming soon! For more information or to register for the next session, please call 517-242-5467 or send an email to mandy@thefirecrackerfoundation.org.

TRAUMA-SENSITIVE YOGA

You provided trauma-sensitive yoga instructors with scholarship funds to deepen their knowledge and experience. It's no coincidence that the foundation now has 5 new yoga instructors available to the community!

Your Rising Phoenix teens had a special visit from some little goat friends last month. We like to call this "goat in a tree" posture. This is where healing yoga meets the therapeutic benefits of spending time with baby animals. All of the kids were smiling that day. Pun intended.

Those yoga instructors are working with students in the Lansing School District, teens living at Angel House, clients of Community Mental Health, your own Rising Phoenix Teens, Little Sparks, and offering demos to partners and conferences across the state. You are giving children and teens who have experienced complex trauma the skills and tools they need to cope, calm and thrive in their every day lives! You have created a model that others will learn from and share with the youth in their communities. Thank you!

Sessions are ongoing. Registration is now open for the following programs: Rising Phoenix (ages 13-17), Little Sparks (12 and under). Service providers and legal guardians can refer a child for yoga therapy services by calling 517-242-5467.
"This is my friends." - a yoga student.

Friends are like little sequins in the heart, right? Wouldn't you agree? Interested in hearing more about the trauma-sensitive yoga program from the families who have participated. Watch this video...

PEDIATRIC MEDICAL ADVOCACY

Firecracker volunteers do everything! From sitting on working committees to feeding Audre and Zora (our betta fish) in the office. They keep our ship sailing smoothly every day. There is a place for you, your skills and your expertise. All you need to do is fill out a volunteer application to start the process. The next Volunteer Orientation & Training is going to be held in June!

The Pediatric Medical Advocacy Team (PMAT) provides medical advocacy services to children and families at the hospital during specialized medical care and forensic examination after experiencing sexual assault. The advocate's responsibility is to listen, to empathize, and to ensure the survivor's needs are met to the fullest extent possible. Advocates are required to obtain 35-40 hours of training that includes topics like cultural competency, crisis intervention with families, medical and legal advocacy, etc. Are you a good fit for this specialized team? Contact us to find out!
Children need advocates. That's where you come in.

The Firecracker Foundation is the only organization in the tri-county area offering crisis intervention to children who need to visit Sparrow's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for a forensic interview. Your financial support of this program is critical to its growth and development. If you are able, please consider a monthly gift of $83 a month to sustain this important advocacy program with the resources we need for training, recruitment and supplies. Thank you.

Jessica Kane started volunteering with survivors of sexual assault almost four years ago. She wanted to do something constructive with the anger and sorrow she felt as sexual assault became a national conversation and found that outlet in advocacy work, particularly in the hospital. When The Firecracker Foundation began providing medical advocacy to children and families last summer, Jessica was among the first to become a member of the Pediatric Medical Advocacy Team (PMAT). She finds it challenging but deeply rewarding to walk with survivors and families through what can be a very scary and overwhelming experience at the hospital and within the medical system. As advocates we cannot erase the trauma before us, but providing support - from information and referrals to a warm blanket and a cup of juice – is one way to care for people holistically, and to show them that they’re not alone. A trip to the hospital is often the very beginning of a difficult journey towards wholeness for survivors, and among the first few times a survivor can hear that what happened to them is wrong and that it’s not their fault. Thank you, Jessica! We are so grateful for the work you do and your support for survivors and families along their road to healing.

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UPCOMING EVENTS
Save the Date for Stargazing 2017 on Thursday, July 20th at Abrams Planetarium.
Did you know that you can shop our Amazon Wishlist to purchase supplies for our office, yoga gear, journals and even books for our young clients? Check us out when you shop online and see if you can drop something extra in your cart for the Firecracker families. You are so appreciated!
IN THE NEWS
Want more from behind-the-scenes?

Does your employer match your donations to organizations like ours? Click here to find out how to DOUBLE your donation today!

This community is the reason that the Firecracker families are so well supported. Whether you voted in the Big Bang-quet Challenge, organized your class to fundraise or shared a social media post with your family and friends, we are so grateful for YOU and all you do to help children and families heal. You are truly a gift and we thank you.

Who are you and what do you need from us to feel connected and appreciated? Chime in using this survey. We cannot wait to hear from you.

Trauma-sensitive yoga lessons.

And there you have it. One amazing spring wrapped up into your Spring Newsletter. There's so much to say about the work being done under our roof. I hope this gives you an uplifting peek into what you're a part of. You can expect the next newsletter in August. Until then, please keep in touch. Come visit. Give us a call. Drop us a line over email. You are our community and we thrive on our connection to you. I'll see you soon. - Tashmica

The Firecracker Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 1146 S. Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48910. (517)242-5467

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