Provide Doula Care To Teen Survivors

by The Firecracker Foundation
Provide Doula Care To Teen Survivors
McLaren Incident Case Review at Sparrow
McLaren Incident Case Review at Sparrow

Sparrow Hospital and The Firecracker Foundation hosted a case review to improve birthing experiences and outcomes for BIPOC teen survivors.

In August 2022, a Black teen was admitted to the Birthplace at McLaren Hospital for a possible induction of labor. The medical staff charged with her care violated her Patient Rights and the nursing staff weaponized hospital security as a threat of criminalization and violence against the TFF Doula.

Statewide advocates working to improve maternal health outcomes came together for a press conference to spread awareness about the real-time experiences of Black teens seeking maternal healthcare at McLaren Hospital, demand policy changes, and discuss the importance of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and other legislation that aims to improve maternal and infant mortality rates for Black women and children.

Sparrow Hospital responded to TFF’s statewide call to action by offering to host a case review of the McLaren incident to help their staff prevent similar incidents from occurring during births. This key partnership further bolsters the hospital’s commitment to increased trauma-informed care, consent, and shared decision-making in the birth setting, and building healthy professional relationships between doulas and medical staff. 

I am happy to share that more than 40 nurses attended the case review! We facilitated an in-depth discussion about the incident as well as ways that doulas and other birthworkers can collaborate with medical professionals to make hospital birthing safer, and inclusive, and uplift the wishes of birthing folks. TFF will have another opportunity in June for another case review with physicians.  

Thank you to Tonyie Andrews-Johnson the Director of Women’s Services at Sparrow for inviting us and continuing the conversation. 

Your donations make it possible for our team to provide full-spectrum doula services and advocate for the young people in our care through culture-shaping work. 

While we are still hopeful that our client will receive a restorative response from McLaren Hospital, we are moving forward with those who are ready and receptive to improving birth equity for BIPOC youth in Ingham County and across the state.

In solidarity,

Domonique Brace
PALS Coordinator

PS - We are hosting a screening of the movie Birthing Justice on June 7th. Click here for more information or to reserve your seat. 


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Doula M prepares to drop off postpartum essentials
Doula M prepares to drop off postpartum essentials

New skills for the new year! One of our priorities as birthworkers is to create a safe space for pregnant and parenting teens and their families to learn. The 5 Love Languages is a tool we share with clients to help them think about different ways to communicate care and support. 

J has a really strong partner. Her baby was fairly large, so she birthed via c-section. Collaborating with her TFF Doula, these are the ways J’s partner practiced The 5 Love Languages through her labor and, later, as she recovered at home: 

  • Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation. During the birthing process, her partner offered comforting reassurance:: “You are strong. You are capable. Your body was made for this.” 
  • Love Language #2: Acts of Service.  While she is nursing, J’s partner makes sure she is nourished by bringing her favorite iced prickly pear tea along with fresh fruit. Tending to household chores, like doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher, is a tremendous help to new parents who are often sleep-deprived.
  • Love Language #3: Gifts.  We often think of giving gifts in the form of material items. But, one of the best gifts for a new mom is the gift of time — whether to take a long shower and do a body scrub, read a book or go for a walk with friends.. In this case, J’s partner arranged for a sitter so that they could enjoy a movie date to  see the latest  Black Panther film. 
  • Love Language #4: Quality Time. Making time for connection as new parents is important for building a strong family. When the baby goes down for a nap, J and her partner watch a few episodes of their favorite anime while snuggling on the couch. 
  • Love Language #5: Physical Touch. Back soreness is common for nursing moms whose  posture  changes to accommodate  feeding and carrying their growing baby. Partners can help relieve muscle tension by offering regular  massages or creating a D-I-Y warm compress from a sock filled with warm rice. With care like this from her partner, J has now been able to breastfeed for 4 months.

Your kindness has allowed us to build strong families by providing full spectrum doula care from labor support to respite care during the crucial postpartum period. Our sincere thanks! 

Nursery organization for an expecting family
Nursery organization for an expecting family
Lactation support visit means pumped milk for baby
Lactation support visit means pumped milk for baby
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After her own journey with the Perinatal Advocacy + Labor Support (PALS) Program, Bree felt compelled and inspired to become a birthworker too. 

The work we do is fueled by stories about birthing people like Bree. 

As the new mother of a 6 month old infant who is currently breastfeeding and supporting her other child, Bree is making bold dreams for her future. She has asked me tons of questions about how to become a doula and is planning to complete training for birth, postpartum, and childbirth education.

You are funding the future of birthwork.

Thanks to the network that TFF has been building in the local area, I have lots of doulas and lactation counselors that can help me offer guidance to Bree in her role as a parent and as she moves toward a future career as a birthworker. 

It has been a pleasure connecting her and other clients with a community that values education, evidence-based care, and centering the voices of birthing folks.

You are funding a program with generational impact. 

Beyond providing perinatal advocacy + labor support, you are restoring hope, creating pathways for healthier futures, and disrupting intergenerational trauma.

I have no doubt that Bree will be a wonderful birthworker. She plans to attend full spectrum doula training later this year.

Who knows? Maybe someday she'll be writing these reports instead of me.

Wouldn't that be amazing?

With hope,


PS - Just the other night, another Firecracker baby was born and we are still celebrating.


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Domonique with a care package for a TFF client.
Domonique with a care package for a TFF client.

My name is Domonique Brace and I am the new interim coordinator for the Perinatal Advocacy & Labor Support (PALS) program on the Firecracker team. 

I like to call birthwork soul work. 

I have worked in social services for over 10 years but I started my personal trek into birthwork in 2020. I am incredibly passionate about the postpartum period (12 weeks after delivery) of birthwork. It is a time for centering families, helping them with nourishment and systems like diapering, lactation, babywearing -- all of which happen at The Firecracker Foundation.

This work is fueled by my desire to reduce maternal health disparities and provide support for parenting teens. Amplifying their voices during labor + delivery and making sure they have the resources and support they need after their baby is born is essential to the work that we do. 

Your generous donations make it possible for my birthwork to be responsive to the needs of the birthing people I am supporting.

For example, in the past month, birthwork has looked like this:

  • helping a first time mom give her slippery newborn a bath
  • cleaning out the refrigerator to make room for comforting meals
  • creating a gingerbread house frosting masterpiece to provide sibling support to a mom with other children (see attached photo)

All these things are meaningful to the growth and development of parenting skills and building family dynamics. All of these things are possible because of your incredible kindness.

Thank you for all you do!

Gingerbread house making.
Gingerbread house making.


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Staff celebrating at the Soulfire Gala 2021
Staff celebrating at the Soulfire Gala 2021

You have gotten us through tough times.

Are you curious about what it's been like for us to work through a global pandemic?

In the video below, you can watch Connie and Ash reflect on the challenges of 2021, what they're most proud of, and what's next for their work at The Firecracker Foundation

"It has been really amazing working for an organization that is dedicated to the wellness of not just our clients but also to us as the people who are providing care."

Connie Perkins is the Program Director + Lead Midwife for the Perinatal Advocacy Program and Ash Meadow is the Operations Administrator giving all of the behind-the-scenes magic that keeps this organization afloat. 

While we continue to be limited by the ever-changing conditions of a global pandemic, we have still been able to provide:

  • pre/postpartum care to pregnant and parenting teens (including catching 6 babies!)
  • cultivating a network of doulas
  • providing free Plan B, condoms, and diapers
  • ongoing training and professional development 

While we may need to change course way more than any of us would like, we are able to move at a pace that keeps us well because of donors like you who value careworkers

Thank you for your generosity + care!

PS - If you want to see more videos from the Firecracker team, be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


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Organization Information

The Firecracker Foundation

Location: Holt, MI - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FirecrackerFdn
Project Leader:
Tashmica Torok
Holt , MI United States
$17,217 raised of $23,300 goal
320 donations
$6,083 to go
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