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
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.
Are you still searching for the perfect gift for mom? We invite you to shop for a cause! Coffee and chocolate are small pleasures that make the day better, and we think mom deserves the very best of both.
Raise your hand if you agree! Whether you view coffee as an essential or daily luxury – you want to make sure it tastes great. Our Woven blend allows you to experience the richness and warmth you expect from a great cup of coffee.
This week we invite you to take part in a special opportunity to stop in and shop our fresh Woven Coffee from our office! Treat yourself or a loved one to delicious coffee that helps provide programs and outreach to families in our community. #LoveRestores
We were honored to serve our Woven Coffee during the Human Trafficking 101 event organized by Families Free Board Member Jill Stott, the Regional Coordinator for Northeast Tennessee Council On Children and Youth. Speakers from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking presented an in-depth look at current statistics, common warning signs, and how to respond.
The opportunity to be among those who are working for the fight against trafficking was truly an inspiration for our team. #LoveRestores
For the final post in our Easter series, we are sharing the words of our Clinical Director Robin Ledford. When reflecting on what this day means to her, we feel that Robin beautifully describes the themes of restoration and love that play a central role on Easter.
One of Families Free’s beliefs is that #LoveRestores. This is what I think of when I think about Easter: restoration and love.
What do we do when we see the “criminal” in the paper? Do we also see the person who’s addicted, who started using at age 10 with his/her parents, the person who was neglected, the person who was abused – or do we just see the criminal?
The story of Easter is not about bunnies, dyed eggs, and pretty dresses. The story of Easter is of pain, blood, sweat, tears, and love – self-sacrificing love. Love is messy. Love sometimes hurts and stands in the gap with and for other’s pain. This is the beauty of love and the type of love which brings restoration. This is the love at the heart of Families Free.
We wish everyone a peaceful time of reflection this Easter, and once again we must extend a big thank you to those who made our client Easter baskets and devotionals possible. Their generosity aids in the restoration of individuals in our community and their families. #LoveRestores
Spring has officially arrived and with it the gifts of a new season. We have fully embraced this transition, and in the meantime, our team has been busy preparing for Easter. Prior to coming together with our groups this week, we carefully assembled Easter baskets for the children of our clients and devotional packages for the parents. These baskets and devotionals were made possible through the generous support of those in our community. In return, we were able to provide the opportunity for our clients to experience joy and take part in their very own Easter traditions.
Establishing traditions encourages deep connections that are essential to our clients’ success. With this in mind, we asked members of our senior staff to share what Easter means to them and the importance of traditions.
Rachel Adams and Stephanie Elliott-Carr
Rachel Adams, Woven Coordinator – I’m so thankful to everyone who contributed to making these Easter gifts possible for the families we serve! Traditions are so important because they can provide a sense of connection, identity, and belonging. Some of my family’s favorite Easter traditions are decorating eggs, egg hunts (where the best prizes are something we DO together- an ice cream date, a trip to Bays Mountain, etc.), Easter baskets, and watching “The Passion of the Christ” with our older kids.
Easter can be a contemplative time when you think of the sacrifice of the cross and the miracle of the resurrection- really, two events that changed all of history. I try not to rush past that- it’s such a reminder that when life is dark and fragile, there is always hope. “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Pope John Paul II
Stephanie Elliott-Carr, Research Coordinator, MA – Easter is a very beautiful time, as I get to be with my family and truly reflect on the meaning of Easter. I am so thankful that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and arose three days later. My church sign said this month, “Easter is more than something to ‘dye’ for…” It is easy to get caught up in dyeing eggs with family and visiting the Easter bunny, but Easter would have no meaning if it wasn’t for Christ.
I feel that showing the love of Christ through giving is a wonderful blessing. By putting together Easter baskets for our clients, we are able to bless families in need.
Vicki Judy, Children and Family Services Coordinator – My family’s Easter traditions include going to church, eating a big meal, and the children hunting Easter eggs stuffed with candy. It has always been a holiday that brings my family together to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I wanted to make the Easter baskets for the children of the women in our programs, because every child deserves to feel the joy of being surprised by an unexpected gift they receive out of love. Our Lord gave us the greatest gift of all, His Son Jesus Christ. I just want to share His love.
We will be sharing more traditions from our team tomorrow, but for now, we invite you to reflect on the renewal of spring and how the celebration of Easter is the ultimate example of how #LoveRetores.
“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
“When we found out about the good work that Families Free is doing right here in our community with a faith-based model, we wanted to open our doors to support them,” said Tabitha Sells, a Harvest Community Church member.
“One way we did that was by serving as a facility host to the first Mom Power classes that Families Free led. We then learned of Families Free’s coffee enterprise and how it further supports local employment opportunities for vulnerable women. We enjoy a good cup of coffee on Sunday mornings. So now – we’ll be enjoying a good cup of Families Free Woven coffee!”
Families Free is honored to be a part of Mom Power, an evidence-based trauma-informed parenting and self-care skills group designed for mothers of young children (ages 0-6). Mom Power is a 10-week parenting group intervention that was developed specifically to reach vulnerable families, and it is being offered free of charge in part through grant funding from East Tennessee State University. We are thankful that Diana Morelen (Ph.D. IMH-E®, Dept of Psychology, ETSU) worked so diligently to share and facilitate the Mom Power model in Tennessee.
Parenting is hard enough under the best circumstances, and when you add risk factors such as perinatal mental health difficulties, maternal history of adverse childhood experiences, ongoing adversity, financial stressors, etc—it makes parenting that much harder. We believe that by supporting caregivers and empowering mothers to consistently and confidently support their child’s social and emotional development, this not only impacts our region but the entire state. Our next group begins today (February 13th), and we look forward to seeing firsthand how #LoveRestores over the coming weeks.
MeredithMom Power – A Therapeutic Intervention for Mothers of Young Children