One year can make such a difference, and 2019 has been no exception. We feel so blessed to see the difference and impact this year has made in the lives of those we serve, as we have walked alongside so many women, children, and families throughout the different programs offered by Families Free.
“Public safety extends beyond party lines and has the best interest of every Tennessean in mind,” said Gov. Bill Lee.
According to The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), Governor Bill Lee’s FY20 budget proposal includes $4.7 million to increase access to recovery courts, supplement recovery court programming with Medication Assisted Treatment, and create a new residential recovery court for women. With $1.7 million in additional funding, recovery courts will expand capacity by 20 percent and serve an additional 500 Tennesseans each year.
On December 20, 2018, Families Free Executive Director Lisa Tipton, Clinical Director Robin Ledford, and our Director of Women’s Services Judy Clark visited with the inmates at the Johnson City Detention Center to hand-deliver Christmas care packages. With the help of Jail Administrator Amy Clark and correctional officers, we were able to provide a bag filled with toiletries, a snack cake, and a devotional for each inmate.
Tradition: a noun meaning to “hand down statements, beliefs, information, etc. from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice.”
Traditions are so important to not only families but individuals as well, especially during the holiday season. For some of our clients, establishing new Christmas traditions that support their recovery feels like starting from scratch. However, just like our Executive Director Lisa Tipton said – “It just takes one person to start a tradition …”
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.
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.
If your family, church, or business is looking to give back this holiday season, we have two different ways for you to connect with families in need. Our Target registry is comprised of items that will help make this holiday season special for the families we serve. Your kindness will ensure that local children receive gifts and necessities wrapped with care by their parents, who have done the hard work of transforming themselves and their families, during our annual Client Christmas Party.
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 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
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.