We were excited to officially share our new office space in Johnson City this past Thursday, November 29th. Our Open House Event was the culmination of a lot of hard work from the Families Free team and also many members of our community. To those who assisted in the search for our office, helped us move, put furniture together, and decorated our space so that it feels warm and inviting to everyone that steps foot in our door – we thank you. Our success is in large part due to your kindness, and we feel so blessed to receive the support.
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.
MeredithJoin Us In Bringing Light Through Family Traditions
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.
MeredithFirst Judicial District Felony Recovery Court Graduation
“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
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 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
“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
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.
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
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