First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court Graduation

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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
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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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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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In Brooke’s Shoes

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“After reading about self-sabotage, I started to learn so much about myself,” said Brooke.

Brooke was placed in DCS custody as a child, and she believes this is when she first started to make decisions based off fear. Self-sabotage came into play many times throughout her life – whether that be during her time spent living with foster families, when she entered into relationships with men, or even in regards to her own children.

“The worst part of my self-sabotaging would be my relationships with my children,” stated Brooke. “After I lost (gave up) my oldest son, I was ashamed of myself for losing him. I didn’t think I deserved my other kids. I was so scared of my addiction, and the way I was living.

I have also used self-sabotage with probation. Every time I was released, I was terrified. I did not know how to live outside of jail. At first I would run and continue to use. The last few times I’ve used right before my drug test knowing I would fail, just so I could go back to jail and live the life I was used to.”

Brooke in front of The Coffee Company, owned by John and Lisa Bunn.

Through her own hard work, the guidance and support given to her by our Families Free team, and her participation in the First Judicial District Felony Recovery Court, Brooke is making big strides. She’s living a life where her decisions are based off hope and love, not fear.

The First Judicial Felony Recovery Court brings together community resources to help participants overcome barriers to treatment success. Team members are included from key agencies including State Probation, Alternative Community Corrections Program, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Frontier Health, the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, and treatment is provided by Families Free. The Recovery Court team is led by the Honorable Judge Stacy Street and the Honorable Judge Lisa Rice.

Families Free has been fortunate enough to receive support from businesses in our area – one of which is The Coffee Company, owned by John and Lisa Bunn. For the the last three months, Brooke has been working alongside the staff of this Elizabethton, TN mainstay.

The heart of John and Lisa’s business mirrors the very same goals we have for Families Free: a common desire to help the local community and provide a safe environment for those who are unsure of their future. “We are very likeminded in the way we want to help, said John Bunn. “We’re trying to provide a faith-based ministry, even though we are a restaurant – a place where people can have a new start. A place where young people can find their way.”

In addition to providing employment opportunities and important community connections, John and Lisa Bunn also lease an additional building where recovery court treatment sessions take place. Their continuous support of vital programs allows Brooke, and many others, the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

John Bunn, owner of The Coffee Company, and Brooke.

When asked how Families Free has changed her outlook for the future, Brooke had this to say: “It’s changed a lot. They helped me get into rehab, and then get helped me get into the Oxford House and helped me get my job. Now I plan on going to school and becoming a better person. I think everybody should get the chance to work with Families Free.”

“Brooke talked about becoming a better person – Brooke has always been a good person,” voiced Robin Ledford, Co-Occurring Coordinator, LADAC for Families Free. “I think it’s our job at Families Free to help her see that in herself, and there came a point in time when she was ready to receive the help. I’m very proud of Brooke and her progress. Her potential is unlimited.”

With the support of our community and a solid belief in herself and her abilities, we believe Brooke will utilize her unlimited potential to achieve great things. #LoveRestores

 

MeredithIn Brooke’s Shoes
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