2019 At A Glance …

No comments

One year can make such a difference, and 2019 has been no exception. We feel so blessed to see the difference and impact this year has made in the lives of those we serve, as we have walked alongside so many women, children, and families throughout the different programs offered by Families Free. 

We would like to share a few highlights from this past year:

Because of the generous support and outpouring of the community, we were able to open the Storie House! The Storie House has provided a home for seven women and one child since April 2019.

Of the five women who live in the Storie House at present, we have one baby on the way, and the mothers have a combined total of 10 children. While their children are not currently living in the home, our mothers are actively benefiting from all the opportunities that Storie House has to offer by actively rebuilding relationships with their children. 

Women’s Services: There are 38 women who are currently enrolled in our Women’s Services groups and 81 women are in our jail classes. In the past year, we have served 136 women through utilizing trauma-informed care, intensive outpatient treatment groups, recovery skills groups, and intensive case management via our Women’s Services. In 2019, we have provided Moral Reconation Therapy for 200 women in our jail classes. MRT® is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral counseling program for substance abuse treatment and the criminal justice offender populations.

First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court: We have served 25 people this past year through evidenced-based, holistic treatment designed for individuals involved with the criminal justice system rooted in substance use. 25 people are currently enrolled in services and 21 actively engaged in the program.

Family Centered Services: We have received 302 combined referrals for Nurturing Parenting, A&D (Alcohol and Drug) assessments, Parenting Education, Homemaker, and Treatment Services.

23 were A&D assessments and 64 families combined for Parenting Education, Homemaker, and Treatment. 178 families were assessed for the Nurturing Parenting Program. Approximately 343 adults and approximately 657 children were served in the past year.  

Woven: This past year we have served 70 mothers in the Woven program through case management, parenting guidance, and recovery support. We have 24 women currently enrolled.

Families Thrive: In 2019, we have served or engaged over 100 families in the NICU at Niswonger Children’s Hospital through group services or individual support.

#LoveRestores

Meredith2019 At A Glance …
read more

Thoughts On Mother’s Day

No comments

Mother’s Day is a beautiful time for many of us, and spending the day with family allows us to create memories we will cherish. However, Mother’s Day can also be a difficult time for those who are dealing with loss – which can come in many forms.

This week we gathered with our clients to reflect on the many facets of being a mother, what it means to be a mom without our children in our lives, and the importance of women who share their maternal guidance with others who are without moms.

After reading over quotes about mothers, our group shared their thoughts and hopes about motherhood. One such goal was to focus on looking ahead to the future when children could be with their mom after years apart, and they could see her post-active addiction. Knowing that after all of this time, their mom was still loving and praying for them while working on sobriety.

Another focal point was that despite past mistakes, children can still thrive. The significance of moving past regret, when mothering wasn’t a priority, to make space for love and prayer is essential in the healing process.

Then there’s the opportunity, even without children, to mother and mentor. You never know who needs your support, and there are still ways to have an impact and love those around you.

After discussing ways to embrace Mother’s Day, even if there’s grief associated with the holiday, we came together to design and paint individual prayer rocks. They will serve as a reminder to pray for our children, our fellow mothers, and anyone we know who needs support in finding joy through pain. #LoveRestores

MeredithThoughts On Mother’s Day
read more

How Can a Seed Die and Still Become a Plant?

No comments

The seed, which contains the fullest potential of life, ceases to be a seed so that the plant inside may live. Essentially, its original form has died, and the seed becomes something new. A similar question can be asked – like the seed, how can you die unto yourself and live anew?

That was the very question discussed during our annual client Easter party this year, where the story of Jesus’ resurrection and the teachings of Christ highlight the transformations that have taken place within the lives of both our staff and clients.

During our time with clients, we painted and planted flower pots to incorporate the theme of the seed within our day and used Resurrection Eggs to bring a greater understanding of Easter to the forefront. We also enjoyed a meal together, and each woman was able to bring home an Easter basket for their children so they could continue to reflect on and share the story of Jesus’ resurrection.

The theme of forgiveness is also central to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The importance of forgiveness cannot be overstated in the journey that every one of the individuals in our programs must take to reach the other side of recovery and living life anew. 

Thistle Farms Founder Becca Stevens shared this beautiful message of forgiveness, and we believe it encapsulates how we can apply its transformative powers to our lives not only on this Good Friday but during our daily walk throughout the year.  #LoveRestores

MeredithHow Can a Seed Die and Still Become a Plant?
read more

Gov. Lee Signs Executive Order to Increase Access To Recovery Courts

No comments

“Public safety extends beyond party lines and has the best interest of every Tennessean in mind,” said Gov. Bill Lee.

According to The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), Governor Bill Lee’s FY20 budget proposal includes $4.7 million to increase access to recovery courts, supplement recovery court programming with Medication Assisted Treatment, and create a new residential recovery court for women. With $1.7 million in additional funding, recovery courts will expand capacity by 20 percent and serve an additional 500 Tennesseans each year.

Gov. Lee recognizes the importance of the life-changing services provided by recovery courts and how they continue to help communities statewide, including our very own. Through Families Free’s work with the First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court, we give our clients access to the structure and treatment they need to establish a life in recovery. This then provides clients with a renewed connection with their family, community and their own innate abilities and strengths.

Rachel Roden, our First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court Coordinator, was profiled by TDMHSAS. Rachel shared her experience with our clients in recovery court, as well as the effect our programs have on the community.

The hard work that is displayed by our recovery court team, and the diligence of our clients, has on an impact that extends beyond Families Free. The positive effects will continue to reverberate throughout the region and for generations to come. #LoveRestores

MeredithGov. Lee Signs Executive Order to Increase Access To Recovery Courts
read more

Let There Be Joy – Families Free Client Christmas Party

No comments

Tradition: a noun meaning to “hand down statements, beliefs, information, etc. from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice.”

Traditions are so important to not only families but individuals as well, especially during the holiday season. For some of our clients, establishing new Christmas traditions that support their recovery feels like starting from scratch. However, just like our Executive Director Lisa Tipton said – “It just takes one person to start a tradition …”

 

This week we hosted our annual Client Christmas Party for women in our program, and the central theme was tradition. Members of our senior staff shared their family traditions which include building gingerbread houses, giving their children new pajamas, playing games, and reading the Christmas story. Even as adults, the children of our staff members hold these Christmas traditions dear and ensure that the younger kids in the family are just as excited to take part each year. The hope was that by sharing our stories, we could inspire clients to create their own unique traditions for their families.

Robin Ledford, Families Free’s Clinical Director, MSW, LADAC, addressed the need for meetings during the holiday season, and she shared that Christmas can be special by experiencing the day sober for the first time. For our clients, continuing the tradition of sobriety during Christmas and embracing the fact that their holiday might look different from others is essential in building a practice in peace.

In addition to this time of reflection, our clients and staff enjoyed a delicious meal together, and then our clients built gingerbread houses of their very own. Through the generosity of our community, donations of gifts and necessities, bibles, gingerbread house kits, and new pajamas were then wrapped by our clients and are now ready to be enjoyed by their children this Christmas.

We are so grateful to our community for helping us strengthen the families of our clients, through fostering resiliency and encouraging positive relationships within their family. #LoveRestores

 

 

MeredithLet There Be Joy – Families Free Client Christmas Party
read more

Join Us In Bringing Light Through Family Traditions

No comments

If your family, church, or business is looking to give back this holiday season, we have two different ways for you to connect with families in need. Our Target registry is comprised of items that will help make this holiday season special for the families we serve. Your kindness will ensure that local children receive gifts and necessities wrapped with care by their parents, who have done the hard work of transforming themselves and their families, during our annual Client Christmas Party.

Follow the link to help provide local children with gifts and essentials this Christmas >> https://tinyurl.com/yb3xb6j9

* We will be accepting registry items now through Friday, December 14th. If you purchase a gift in store from our Target registry, we kindly ask that you drop off your donation at our new office location: 693 Princeton Road, Johnson City, TN 37601
If you purchase from our registry online, the item will be shipped to our office. Please contact Stephanie (stephanie@familiesfree.com) if you have further questions or would like to learn more about how you can help. #LoveRestores

Would you like to help outside of our gift registry? Your monetary donation will go toward fulfilling these very special Christmas wishes, and we make it simple to donate online. Visit our home page and click on the “donate” button located in the top righthand corner.

 

MeredithJoin Us In Bringing Light Through Family Traditions
read more

First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court Graduation

No comments

Successful individuals build successful communities …

On Thursday, October 11th members of the Families Free and First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court teams, current participants in the program, family, and friends gathered to celebrate the success of Brooke and Kaice. Both women joined the First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court program looking for a second chance.

The First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court provides alternatives besides jail time, such as counseling, curriculum, and access to a number of opportunities that serve to support their success. It’s an important tool for those who need help staying out of the cycle of jail time, being released, and then going back again.

Judge Lisa Rice introduces the Recovery Court team.

Keynote Speaker Judge Stacy Street discusses Recovery Court in depth.

Ricky Lee Hilton and Jason Abernathy provide music during the ceremony.

Through this opportunity, both women completed the five phases of the program and met personal goals along the way. From April 2017 to October 2018, Brooke worked hard to reach and exceed milestones such as beginning work at The Coffee Company and then earning a management position at Auntie Ann’s, she celebrated one year of sobriety, worked with a sponsor and then began sponsoring her first individual, she passed the written and driving test to obtain her license, and Brooke even purchased her first car.

During the graduation ceremony panel interview, Families Free’s Executive Director Lisa Tipton asked both women to share one of the biggest lessons they learned while working through the program.

Executive Director Lisa Tipton moderates the panel with graduates Kaice and Brooke.

Recovery Court Graduate Panel.

Kaice also met and exceeded every goal that was set in front of her. From March 2017 to August 2018 Kaice completed her HiSET® exam through Northeast State, she is actively working with a sponsor and chaired her first AA meeting, she purchased a new home, Kaice’s daughters moved in with her, and then she started college at Northeast State this fall.

It’s easy to draw inspiration from their accomplishments, but what is even more impressive is that after completing all five phases of the FJDFRC program both Kaice and Brooke actively seek out opportunities to help others. Kaice plans to study counseling in school, and Brooke is working as a sponsor and serves as a supportive leader for other women in Oxford House – a self-sustaining sober living home.

Graduation Ceremony with Judge Street, Kaice, Brooke, Judge Rice and Recovery Court Director Rachel Roden.

Graduates receiving their diplomas.

Refreshments and fellowship followed the graduation ceremony.

Refreshments and fellowship followed the graduation ceremony.

Member of the Families Free team with graduates Kaice and Brooke.

It’s with pride that we watch Kaice and Brooke move past the cycle of self-sabotage they knew before and maintain a new lifestyle of support and love. With bright futures ahead, we congratulate our very first graduates and look forward to seeing how their success helps build a stronger, more successful community. #LoveRestores

We want to extend a special thank you to Judge Lisa Rice, Judge Stacy Street, Jason Abernathy, and Ricky Lee Hilton for speaking and performing during the graduation ceremony. We also want to thank the other members of the FJDFRC team which include additional recovery agencies, judges, law enforcement members, district attorneys, and public defenders who work to ensure the success of the participants.

The First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court program is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

 

 

MeredithFirst Judicial District Felony Recovery Court Graduation
read more

Building Strong Brains: Tennessee Event

No comments

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” JFK

Families Free was invited to take part in the event for Building Strong Brains: Tennessee in Nashville today. This ACEs Initiative is a major statewide effort to establish Tennessee as a national model for how a state can promote culture change in early childhood based on a philosophy that preventing and mitigating adverse childhood experiences, and their impact, is the most promising approach to helping Tennessee children lead productive, healthy lives.

Dr. Karen Schetzina and Executive Director Lisa Tipton next to the informational poster for their Baby Steps to Success ACEs project.

Families Free’s work in the community mirrors these very same goals, and we address the hard issues facing our region: addiction, child welfare, and poverty. Our programs help build the capacity of vulnerable families through education, intervention, and restoration of relationships – all of which strengthens families and our community as a whole. We love Tennessee’s commitment to children and families, and we are so grateful for their state funding and support in our efforts to build and foster resiliency. #LoveRestores

MeredithBuilding Strong Brains: Tennessee Event
read more

A Month At A Glance – January 2018

No comments

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

We are right there with those who are exploring the darkness. The programs at Families Free give our team the opportunity to go into these environments, offer treatment, and help build community. From there, our clients see the power of their very own light. While we believe you cannot truly quantify how a changed life will affect a family or even a community, we wanted to share the latest news and numbers from our work in January 2018. #LoveRestores

MeredithA Month At A Glance – January 2018
read more

A Time For Celebration

No comments

On January 31st we had the pleasure of celebrating three women in our Intensive Outpatient Program: Shellie, Sunday, and Marjorie.

Individuals that attend our intensive outpatient program meet three times a week for three-hour sessions. It generally takes six to eight weeks to complete this first level of our program, but the length is determined by completion of therapeutic goals for each individual. For these three women, this day marked their transition to the next phase of their recovery. It also presented the opportunity to reflect on their journey and the hard work it took to get to this point.

Marjorie’s time with Families Free began this past September after serving her sentence on a federal charge. She had reached out to her mother to help find a program where she could begin the recovery process, and she started working with us shortly afterward. “I feel like I am making progress with my goals in recovery. Families Free has helped give me the extra push that I need to set future goals, and I would strongly suggest the Families Free (Intensive Outpatient) Program. It has helped me build a lot of trust, and the staff is amazing.”

Sunday also took the time to look back on the steps she has made to empower herself and improve her life. “IOP has helped me to set goals that move me forward in my recovery and grow as a person. Before working with Families Free, I didn’t think I was worth anything or that I was good enough for anything. Now I have a job, I’m starting school, and raising my kids.”

When asked what advice she would give to anyone thinking about working with Families Free she had this to say: “Do it. They have helped me to see the person I was always meant to be. They love you when you can’t love yourself, and they help by giving you a new view on life.”

We honor Shellie, Sunday, and Marjorie’s hard work and congratulate them on their determination and progress. Our team looks forward to seeing them through the next phase of treatment and witnessing how love continues to restore their lives.

MeredithA Time For Celebration
read more