In 2008, God began stirring a dream in my heart to see people who were lost in hurt, pain, and addiction find hope and freedom. It was at this point he connected me with Ryan Ray whose vision for a Christian treatment center inspired me to action. Our dreams became reality as we began providing clinical services to individuals struggling with addiction. In my heart I longed to people set free, however, I never would have imagined what Set Free has become.
Through this journey I have come to believe a few things with a strong conviction. First, there are none too far gone that God cannot or will not reach out and save. Second, each person has incredible worth and value. Third, it is not possible for us to dream too big. Finally, when we come together to address a common challenge. When we give of our time, money, and talent. When we partner and collaborate for the good of our families, community, and state. Change is possible! Things can and will get better! Together we are making a difference!
- Value for Individuals:Every person on this earth is created in the image of God. Therefore, we have a high value for our staff and the clients that we serve. Each individual deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and honor, regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic class. A culture of honor and a high value for individuals will be demonstrated in every aspect of our organization.
- Bringing Glory to God: Our highest aim is to bring God glory and keep Him in the center of everything we do. We seek Him for wisdom in day to day operations as well as trust him with our present and future needs and endeavors.
- Community Centered: We are a non-profit, community-centered organization. It is our goal to serve and be a blessing to our local and state communities by partnering with many diverse organizations to bring an end to substance abuse and mental health disorders.
- Pursuing Excellence: We focus daily on becoming excellent in everything we do. Therefore, our staff, programs, and services operate at elite standards by employing highly qualified team members that deliver world class services to our clients.
- Motivated by Love: We believe that love is one of the most powerful tools we have. Therefore, everything we do must be motivated by a love for God, each other, and the people we get to serve.
- Walking in Integrity: All individuals operating on behalf of Set Free Alaska will conduct themselves with honesty and integrity in every area. We believe that walking in integrity has been a vital part of our organizational growth and it will continue to be the standard by which we operate in the future.
- Cultivating Innovation: Creative dreaming will guide the development and implementation of solutions to the complex challenges facing the world around us. Strategy will focus on the needs of individuals, families, and communities in which we serve. Co-creation with God through prayer and seeking His insights will play an integral role in our ability to remain innovative as an industry thought leader.
History of Set Free Alaska
In 2005, after reading an article in Charisma magazine about a substance abuse treatment center named Set Free Indeed (SFI) located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ryan Ray contacted Tonja Miles the founder of SFI, about starting a similar program in the state of Alaska. Shortly after a trip was planned to observe and learn from Tonja and her team. Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana several days before Ryan planned to leave Alaska and the time in Baton Rouge was spent working side by side with the SFI team helping to victims of the hurricane instead of observing the program. From this point on a lasting relationship was built with Tonja and the Set Free Indeed treatment center. In November of 2008, Ryan asked Philip Licht to assist in the startup of Set Free Alaska (SFA) and become its CEO. Ryan and Philip then went back to Baton Rouge to meet with Tonja and the SFI staff, to observe the treatment center, and receive practical materials to help in the formation of Set Free Alaska.
In February of 2009, SFA was incorporated as a non-profit substance abuse prevention and treatment center. The mission of Set Free Alaska is to facilitate freedom from the bondage of addiction. SFA is a Christian treatment center that uses a mind-body-spirit approach to recovery. Our multi-generational programs facilitate hope, healing, and resilience resulting in lasting change. We provide services to the community in the area of substance abuse, children’s behavioral health, residential treatment for women, peer support, workforce development and most recently, Outpatient services in Homer. SFA provides group and one-on-one counseling in conjunction with the Word of God to help guide people into a life of freedom.
SFA received its 501(c) (3) from the IRS in August of 2009 giving the agency a tax exempt status, and allowing individuals to donate with a tax deduction. In January 2010, SFA began providing sober support through its Friday Night Freedom family service. This group met every Friday of 2010 until 2015.
The Division of Behavioral Health recognized SFA as a certified substance abuse treatment center in May of 2010. Set Free Alaska is the only faith-based certified program in the Mat-Su Valley. Since receiving state certification, Set Free Alaska has been providing individual and group counseling to those struggling with addiction. Services range in intensity, duration, and times depending on the need of the individual. With male, female, coed, evening, and day groups, the options are vast for people seeking help.
Since its inception Set Free Alaska has grown from one volunteer staff to fifty plus paid staff. Its facilities have grown from a 600 square foot office space to a 4900 square feet treatment complex; as well as a Women’s Residential Treatment facility. Clinical treatment began with only three clients and has increased to over one hundred thirty active clients. The testimonies of lives transformed and hope restored has made the journey worthwhile. The SFA board and staff are looking ahead to the change and impact that this agency will have on the State of Alaska.