Building Strong Brains: Tennessee Event

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“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
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Families Free Second Annual Fundraiser – An Evening At Chateau Selah

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Driving up the hill to Chateau Selah you can’t help but anticipate the stunning views that greet you once you reach the top. On the evening of August 23rd, the crisp end-of-summer breeze met with our region’s beloved rolling hills to provide a gorgeous backdrop for our second annual Families Free Fundraiser.

Honored guests first entered the courtyard to connect with friends, our board members and our team. Everyone then gathered together to hear from our Executive Director Lisa Tipton before enjoying a delicious meal provided by the Divine Catering Company before the evening’s entertainment began.

As our Master of Ceremony Kevin Wilson took the stage, excitement grew as our attendees took their seats after dinner. Musician Barry Bales joined Kevin to reveal that the surprise guest entertainment that evening would be none other than Bluegrass Legend and Grammy Award Winning Artist – Alison Krauss! Alison, Barry, and friends filled the space with music that created a beautiful experience for all of our attendees. We’ve all experienced the power of music, so to be witness to the talent of Alison Krauss and every musician on that stage is something our guests will be thinking about for years to come.

Afterward, Lisa once again took the stage to introduce Ashley, Ally, and Sunday. All three women have worked with our team through various programs to rebuild their lives and have experienced firsthand how #LoveRestores. Our guests were able to hear their powerful stories and learn about how Families Free has impacted these women and their families.

We want to thank each and every person that attended our event and those that felt led to support our work through donations. Our fundraising event was fully sponsored, so all donations will directly impact our community. We hope that their time spent with us provided our guests with both a magical evening but also an opportunity to take a glimpse into the lives of those around us who need our support.

We also want to thank the architects of this event – Nancy Storie and Tina Wilson, as well as other Families Free Board Members for their incredible work and dedication. Thank you to our event sponsors: Bank of Tennessee, McGriff Insurance Services, Sturgill Endodontics, Sturgill Orthodontics, Universal Wine & Spirits, and Reclaimed Inspired Goods.

Thanks to Bellafina Chocolates for producing and packaging the Woven Coffee samples handed out to our guests, as well as Chateau Selah for sponsoring and hosting the event.

Once again, a thank you to our Master of Ceremony Kevin Wilson, Barry Bales and friends, Alison Krauss, and most importantly – Ashley, Ally, and Sunday for opening their hearts to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MeredithFamilies Free Second Annual Fundraiser – An Evening At Chateau Selah
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A Special Donation From Sew Crazy

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We want to take the time to thank Sew Crazy for highlighting Woven and for hosting an event where participants made infant items with the mothers and babies from our program in mind. By donating baby items to Woven, Sew Crazy helps us continue our efforts to support local families in need. #LoveRestores

To learn more about Sew Crazy and their mission, please visit their website here.

MeredithA Special Donation From Sew Crazy
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Latched on to Maternal Health: Northeast Tennessee Regional Maternal Health Forum

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We were thrilled to take part in providing refreshments and our Woven Coffee for the attendees of Latched on to Maternal Health: Northeast Tennessee Regional Maternal Health Forum today. This one-day conference focused on a variety of available interventions for the prenatal and postpartum woman and maternal mental health.

Families Free Executive Director Lisa Tipton and Woven Coordinator Rachel Adams were on hand to discuss with attendees how our team serves the community by providing treatment, intervention services, employment through our social enterprise opportunities, and much more. Rachel was also there to share how our Woven program continues to make strides in serving mothers.

Woven is designed to support women who have delivered a drug-exposed infant. We work to see them restored to the mothers they were created to be by utilizing evidence-based treatment services, intensive case management support, and in-home parenting support to further promote bonding, attachment, and increased parental capacity. To learn more about this program, please visit the Woven page here.

We would also like to extend a huge thank you to Tim Burchfield and Chick-fil-A Johnson City Crossing for donating gift cards for us to give the conference attendees, as well as New Maven Macs for their delicious macaroons. New Maven Macs is a social enterprise opening soon in Kingsport whose mission is to employ and support women in our community who are reshaping their lives after incarceration and addiction. #LoveRestores

 

Sponsors for this event are the ETSU Office of Continuing Medical Education at Quillen College of Medicine, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition.

MeredithLatched on to Maternal Health: Northeast Tennessee Regional Maternal Health Forum
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Niswonger Children’s Hospital Launches Families Thrive

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“Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) need extra care while they’re in the hospital – and so do their families. To support the parents and relatives of newborns with NAS, Niswonger Children’s Hospital has launched its innovative new Families Thrive program. Families Thrive provides counseling for addiction recovery, tools for parenting skills and connections to other services that can assist families after the baby comes home.”

“All functions and services of Families Thrive are staffed by Families Free, a non-profit local organization that provides treatment, intervention services, employment through social enterprise opportunities and support for women and families affected by substance abuse, incarceration and domestic instability.”

We are so proud to be a part of Families Thrive and working to offer support, resources and – most of all – hope. Engaging with women, listening to their stories and adding value to their experiences as mothers facilitate a transformative process that affects not only the mother and child but everyone in their lives. Read more about the launch of Families Thrive by following the link. #LoveRestores

MeredithNiswonger Children’s Hospital Launches Families Thrive
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We Are Looking To Add To Our Team

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A full-time position is currently open for a Family Specialist to work with at-risk families within the upper eight counties of Tennessee. The ideal candidate would have at least one year of full-time experience working with clients. A bachelor’s degree is required in either social work, counseling or another Human Services field. Experience with Alcohol & Drug treatment preferred.
 
Candidate’s hours must be flexible. Self-motivation and good time management are required. Candidate must be able to pass a background check and possess a valid driver’s license. Duties will include providing transportation, alcohol and drug treatment, teaching parenting education, documentation and other responsibilities as assigned. Visit our contact page, and fill out the form to receive more information. 
MeredithWe Are Looking To Add To Our Team
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A Special Viewing Of “I Can Only Imagine”

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photo courtesy of imdb.com

Yesterday we had the pleasure of taking groups from both Washington County and Elizabethton to see a private showing of the film “I Can Only Imagine” at Real to Reel Theater. Our clients settled in with refreshments, a viewing guide and then learned the true story behind one of the most recognized songs in the past two decades.

The film gives the viewer an in-depth look into how MercyMe’s Bart Millard grew up in a home where abuse and fear were commonplace. Standing in broken places and acknowledging when we hurt or have hurt others is the central theme throughout the film. It’s when faith and forgiveness intertwine that Bart sees redemption first hand and can begin the healing process. Bart’s story eventually leads to writing and recording MercyMe’s song “I Can Only Imagine,” which has served as a reminder of God’s grace for many years.

After taking in the film, our clients will reflect on its message and discuss in their next group session the lessons of faith and restoration. Our team will also provide clients with additional one on one counseling to those who need to process further and give them the chance to learn more about how forgiveness looks in their own life.

We also want to take the time to thank the many organizations and churches such as Chris Fellowship and First Christian Church who help support Families Free. Their encouragement and support allow us to provide opportunities, like this one, that our clients might otherwise not be able to experience. #LoveRestores

 

 

 

 

MeredithA Special Viewing Of “I Can Only Imagine”
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Families Free In The News – Families Thrive

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Tammy Childress of the Bristol Herald Courier met with Families Free Executive Director Lisa Tipton and Niswonger Children’s Hospital CEO Lisa Carter to help announce our collaboration with the hospital to open Families Thrive.

Families Thrive is led by our very own Woven Coordinator Rachel Adams and Lisa Tipton. The program is designed to address the specific problems that NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome) babies and their families face. It’s a voluntary program that not only helps educate and assist mothers, but it also helps the hospital staff work with mothers to encourage breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. Families Thrive also offers a parenting day, motivational group day, and art therapy day for the mothers in the unit. Most importantly, the program helps connect families to the programs they may need after leaving the hospital.

Photo Courtesy of Tammy Childress/Bristol Herald Courier

“On average, about 30 percent of the babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at the children’s hospital suffer from NAS,” said Lisa Carter. NAS occurs when a baby is exposed to drugs like opioids in the womb. Babies can be born withdrawing from drugs taken by the mother and many experience tremors, diarrhea, dehydration, sweating, irritability, sensitivity to light and sound, and problems with sleeping – many require specialized care.

“They want to do better. They want to give their babies better. And oftentimes once the families are discharged they fall through the cracks,” Carter said. “So the focus of the program is on the baby’s success — Families Thrive helps the moms to realize that everything they do is for the sake of the baby. So the baby, the mom and family can thrive.”

To learn more about our collaboration with Niswonger Children’s Hospital, read the full Bristol Herald Courier article here. #LoveRestores

MeredithFamilies Free In The News – Families Thrive
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May Is Drug And Recovery Court Month

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Gov. Bill Haslam has issued a proclamation stating that May 2018 is Drug and Recovery Court Month in Tennessee! The proclamation recognizes: “ … that when just one person can break the cycle of substance use and crime, the individual, community, and state are better off.”

There are currently 77 recovery courts across Tennessee, and Families Free is proud to hold the contract for the First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court. This recovery court serves Carter, Johnson, Washington and Unicoi County, and we offer evidenced-based and holistic treatment, education, and intervention that addresses each individual’s unique needs.

As of May 23rd, we have 15 clients that are actively taking part in our First Judicial Felony Recovery Court, four referrals to be assessed, and we’re also addressing the needs of two clients in the Morgan County Residential Recovery Court. – Rachel Roden, Families Free’s First Judicial Recovery Court Coordinator

Through our work with the First Judicial Felony Recovery Court, we see firsthand the powerful impact on our clients, their families, and the entire region as a whole. When our clients realize their full potential – it is truly powerful. Their progress is a testament to how hard work and love can transform a life. #LoveRestores

MeredithMay Is Drug And Recovery Court Month
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Branch House Family Center Grand Opening

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We were thrilled to attend the grand opening of Branch House Family Center. As their community partner, we look forward to supporting their team of professionals led by our very own Board Member Karen Boyd. Branch House provides victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, and elder abuse with free services that meet their immediate and long-term needs and enhance their safety. Branch House will serve those in our community that need it most, and we believe that their work parallels our own mission to see that #LoveRestores.

Executive Director Lisa Tipton with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

During the grand opening, our Executive Director Lisa Tipton had the opportunity to personally thank Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam for the $100K appropriation we will receive for the third year in a row this July. Being awarded this appropriation makes extraordinary outcomes possible and supports our work with NAS and drug-exposed babies, DCS and the Nurturing Parenting Program, Intensive Women’s Services in local jails, the First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court, and many underserved families throughout the region.

*pictured above is our Board Member Linda Brittenham, Kim Greer, and Executive Director Lisa Tipton.

MeredithBranch House Family Center Grand Opening
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