CONTACT Care Line, a crisis line that has provided a listening ear to East Tennesseans for 40 years, has named Deborah Patterson as its new executive director, a press release said.
Patterson is a University of Tennessee alumna with experience in a variety of social service settings and a master’s degree in business administration. She takes the reins at CONTACT as the Oak Ridge-based organization works to build a Knoxville presence and expand services to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
CONTACT fields some 10,000 calls per year from East Tennesseans needing a listening ear, referral to community resources, or crisis intervention. The agency also makes reassurance calls to homebound individuals and provides training in active listening skills in “The Art of Listening,” a class open to the public.
“Deb comes to us with an educational background in social work and business, a wonderful combination of skills and interests that will prove extremely helpful to our organization,” said Anna Shugart, chair of the CONTACT board. “Deb has worked with other nonprofit organizations, provided counseling to people in a variety of settings, developed marketing plans, written extensively, and created her own independent consulting company. But more importantly, Deb has the heart for the kinds of services a mission-based organization like CONTACT provide.”
“I welcome this opportunity to leverage my experiences for strengthening critical support services in our community,” said Patterson, whose recent experience includes publications marketing for the National Association of Social Workers in Washington, D.C.
Patterson earned a bachelor’s degree majoring in art and psychology as well as her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee, the press release said. She also earned a master’s in social service administration from the University of Chicago. In addition to her work with NASW, Patterson has held a variety of social service positions in Knoxville and Chicago.
Founded in 1973 by Oak Ridge churches interested in establishing a local network of volunteers trained to take calls from people in crisis, CONTACT is a United Way agency affiliated with CONTACT USA that primarily serves the nine counties in the 865 telephone area code: Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane, Sevier, and Union.
For more information about CONTACT, visit www.contactcarelinetn.org or call the office at (865) 312-7450. CONTACT’s crisis line is (865) 584-4424 and is available free of charge seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.