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.
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.
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.
Board members not pictured: Karen Boyd, Julia Herwig, Trish Short, and Tina Wilson // Photo by Tina Wilson
We would like to take the time to shine a spotlight on our Board of Directors. We are so thankful for their hard work and guidance – not just on Thanksgiving day but every day.
Alongside our staff, our Board of Directors use their knowledge and special talents to make Families Free a stronger force for love and hope. As active members of our community, their time is certainly precious. This is why we feel truly blessed that each and every one of them chooses to be a part of our story and the success of our clients. #LoveRestores
From the Families Free staff and board, we wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!