TCCY Legislative Brunch

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We were honored to co-sponsor Northeast Tennessee Council On Children and Youth’s Legislative Brunch this past Friday, November 30th. State agencies, local non-profits, legislators, and many more gathered to discuss how we can continue to work together to ensure children in East Tennessee are safe, healthy, educated, nurtured and provided with opportunities that help them achieve their full potential.
 
Families Free’s Executive Director Lisa Tipton spoke to the attendees about how our programs integrate evidence-based treatment services, education, and intensive case management support to increase parental capacity and recovery skills. This in turn equips parents with the tools to provide their children with the foundation they need to feel secure and supported. #LoveRestores

Lisa Tipton addressing the Legislative Brunch attendees.

Ronda Paulson from Isaiah House 117

Tennessee Senator Rusty Crowe

MeredithTCCY Legislative Brunch
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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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Building Strong Brains: Tennessee Event

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“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

MeredithBuilding Strong Brains: Tennessee Event
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Families Free Second Annual Fundraiser – An Evening At Chateau Selah

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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 also want to thank the architects of this event – Nancy Storie and Tina Wilson, as well as other Families Free Board Members for their incredible work and dedication. Thank you to our event sponsors: Bank of Tennessee, McGriff Insurance Services, Sturgill Endodontics, Sturgill Orthodontics, Universal Wine & Spirits, and Reclaimed Inspired Goods.

Thanks to Bellafina Chocolates for producing and packaging the Woven Coffee samples handed out to our guests, as well as Chateau Selah for sponsoring and hosting the event.

Once again, a thank you to our Master of Ceremony Kevin Wilson, Barry Bales and friends, Alison Krauss, and most importantly – Ashley, Ally, and Sunday for opening their hearts to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MeredithFamilies Free Second Annual Fundraiser – An Evening At Chateau Selah
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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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Niswonger Children’s Hospital Launches Families Thrive

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“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

MeredithNiswonger Children’s Hospital Launches Families Thrive
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We Are Looking To Add To Our Team

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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. 
MeredithWe Are Looking To Add To Our Team
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Families Free In The News – Families Thrive

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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
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May Is Drug And Recovery Court Month

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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

MeredithMay Is Drug And Recovery Court Month
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Shop For A Cause This Mother’s Day

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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.

Our delicious Woven Coffee is available at Reclaimed Inspired GoodsStir Fry Cafe: Asian, Sushi & Thai Cuisine, Kingsport, Southern Craft BBQButtermilk Sky Pie Shop Johnson City, Tennessee and River Mountain Antiques. Bellafina Chocolates also makes and distributes made-to-order gourmet artisan truffles designated to benefit Families Free. Each box of Families Free truffles features artwork by our Board Member Myra Phipps.

Selecting Families Free products for your mom ensures that she receives quality gifts that bring her joy and also help support our work with local mothers and families. #LoveRestores

MeredithShop For A Cause This Mother’s Day
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