Change can be both scary and painful – but it can also be the greatest gift we give to ourselves. Janessa’s story is one where change leads to success, and it serves to inspire everyone around her. It’s a true testament of how #LoveRestores.
In May 2016, Janessa decided to apply for Washington County, Tennessee’s Drug Recovery Court while she was in jail. “Because of the decisions I made entering Drug Recovery Court and joining Families Free – I have my children back, and I’m raising my children sober,” said Janessa.
More than a year later, Janessa’s first steps toward sobriety have allowed her to stand before her peers, friends, and our Families Free team to celebrate her success. This accomplishment means everything to Janessa.
“Before entering the Recovery Court program, I held on so long to dark places and dark people. I didn’t have my children; I didn’t have anything. I was actually sleeping in the woods at the time, because I didn’t even have a place to go. I’m walking out today knowing I can do it by myself. I’ve made so many changes, and it’s all because of Recovery Court. I did choose to change, but I wouldn’t be here today without Families Free,” said Janessa.
Janessa with Families Free’s Judy Clark and Lisa Tipton.
Janessa receiving her diploma from Assistant District Attorney Michael Rasnake and Megan Price, coordinator for the Washington County Drug Court.
Partnerships with programs such as Washington County, Tennessee’s Drug Recovery Court are vital in our work to support the community. However, it’s the incredible transformation of women like Janessa that truly showcases how love guides both the Families Free team and the individuals we serve.
Families Free is happy to announce that we have been awarded the Nurturing Families of Tennessee contract from the Department of Children’s Services for the Northeast region.
Family Specialists with Families Free will be providing 16 weeks of in-home services to families in our region that are at a moderate to high risk of their children entering the state’s custody. Clients will have to be referred through the Department of Children’s Services, but we wanted our community to know we are on the front line of intervention and response. We will be going into homes to sit down and present clients with this new opportunity, and this service will provide education using the evidence-based Nurturing Parenting curriculum. The goal of this program is to increase parental capacity to reduce both admissions and length of stay in the foster care system, as well as support family restoration. Families Free will begin receiving referrals for this new program on September 15, 2017. Nurturing Families of Tennessee is made possible by our partnership with kidcentraltn.com.
MeredithOur New Program – Nurturing Families Of Tennessee
As part of their “Addicted at Birth Series,” Tammy Childress of the Bristol Herald Courier dives deeper into the personal stories of those affected by addiction in our region. In the follow up to the first piece, WOVEN Coordinator Rachel Adams and Families Free Executive Director Lisa Tipton discuss how our program provides vital treatment, tools, and support for mothers who have delivered, or are at risk for delivering, a drug-exposed infant. To read the full article, and learn more about the first-hand experiences of women who have taken part in WOVEN’s three-part program, follow the link here. #LoveRestores
On August 31st, Families Free collaborated with some of the area’s best businesses and organizations to host an evening filled with dinner, live music, and inspiring stories. Set against the beautiful backdrop of mountain haze and the gorgeous interiors and exteriors of Chateau Selah, our honored friends and guests first enjoyed conversation and a delicious meal provided by Mountain States Health Alliance.
After dinner, our Executive Director Lisa Tipton spoke about our mission, shared inspiring stories and the strength displayed by the women we work with, the goals we’ve accomplished along the way, and our hopes for the future. Shortly after, Grammy Award Winning Christian Artist Mac Powell and his talented backing musicians provided an extra dose of fun and exceptional entertainment. So naturally, when Mac asked the crowd to join together for a dance, many of them obliged!
We concluded the night with Speaker, Author and Founder of Thistle Farms – Becca Stevens. Becca, along with members of the Thistle Farms team, were available earlier in the evening to answer questions about their work and how the handmade products they produce benefit and empower the women in their program. However, it was at the end of our event that Becca took the stage to tell her story, discuss the beginning of Thistle Farms, and shared examples of how the support of her organization has helped countless women and their families.
If you are interested in learning more about Thistle Farms, you can do so here.
The evening was more than we could have imagined, and we thank everyone who donated their time and services to make this event possible. We must also extend a thank you to all the attendees and those who look to make our community a better place.
MeredithAn Evening At Chateau Selah – A Families Free Fundraiser
Lisa Tipton has served as the Executive Director of Families Free since 2008. She is a strong advocate for women’s ministries, drug and alcohol treatment, and the restoration of her community. Lisa is also a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor and currently serves as the clinical supervisor of the drug and alcohol clinical component at Families Free.
As a result of her continuous efforts to build a successful nonprofit organization, Families Free holds the Regional Therapy Family Preservation Contract for the Northeast Region of Tennessee – this is in addition to being a credential service provider for drug and alcohol assessments, clinical parenting assessments, drug and alcohol treatment, parenting education, and homemaker services. Families Free also holds the contract for the First Judicial District Felony Drug Court in Elizabethton, TN where services began in early 2017.
Families Free is a licensed co-occurring drug and alcohol treatment facility and is responsible for creating the model for the Woven Program – serving mothers of NAS infants funded through the Department of Health. Families Free consists of 14 employees whose passion, skills, and desire to serve have the ability to reach more than 155 families a month through outreach programs, various community agencies, and the services provided for female inmates. Lisa’s mission is to strengthen our community by building the capacity of vulnerable families through education, intervention, and restoring relationships – a mindset she has infused within the work of Families Free.
Lisa’s knowledge and passion mirrors our organization’s dedication to making positive impacts on at-risk and often overlooked populations, by providing quality, evidence-based services that are combined with the faith-based principles of compassion, healing, and restoration to promote positive lifestyle changes.
When not working within her various roles, Lisa enjoys serving at her church in the Women’s Ministries at Christ Fellowship in Kingsport, TN, and she was also recently named as one of the Leaders in Christian Service by Milligan College in 2017.
MeredithGetting To Know Our Executive Director – Lisa Tipton
We are thrilled to be featured in the August issue of VIPSeen Magazine!
VIPSeen is a Tri-Cities publication that showcases not only local events, arts and entertainment, but the magazine also highlights non-profits and charitable organizations who are involved in making our community a better, more positive place to live. To read the full article, pick up this month’s issue or view our feature online.
MeredithFamilies Free Featured In VIPSeen Magazine