Making a Difference for 45 years!


By Robin Paxton

“I’m a social worker at heart,” says Paula Parks. “I have always had a deep desire to help people less fortunate.”

And she has been helping others for the past 45 years as a dedicated volunteer for Crisis Control Ministry, Forsyth County’s largest provider of emergency assistance. In fact, both Paula and Crisis Control are celebrating their 45th anniversary this year. Paula began volunteering with CCM shortly after its founding by a group of local churches – including her own church, First Presbyterian of Winston-Salem – in 1973.

“To say that Paula is dedicated to Crisis Control and our mission is an understatement,” explains Tina Adkins, CCM’s Director of Client Services. “Paula cares about people, and volunteers to make a difference in our community. We need 100 more just like her!”

Volunteers play an essential role in the work of the agency, whether interviewing clients, organizing the food pantry, or assisting in the pharmacy. Paula serves as a lead volunteer, listening to the stories of the interviewers and helping to determine what kind of assistance the agency can best provide.

Last year volunteers interviewed thousands of individuals and provided more than $3
million worth of services to 15,438 families.

“Volunteering at Crisis Control keeps me grounded,” says Paula, explaining that no matter what is going on in her life, there are others dealing with even greater problems. “Working at Crisis Control has helped me learn to listen … and let (others) tell their story.”

A resident of Winston-Salem since age 5, Paula takes her commitments to her community, Crisis Control, her church, or her family seriously. During the time she’s been a CCM volunteer, her children have grown up and so have her grandchildren.

“As I have tried to balance my inward and outward journeys in life, I have become more aware of the need to concentrate on improving my body and spirit,” she explains. “I try to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and
pray daily.”

Paula is one of more than 500 volunteers with Crisis Control, and says that her experience there has given her as much as she has given others. CCM’s Executive Director Margaret Elliott notes, “It’s dedicated volunteers like Paula who care about the well-being of our entire community and are making a real difference in the lives of those around them.”

With locations in Winston-Salem and Kernersville, Crisis Control Ministry provides short-term emergency services including assistance with rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, food, and prescription medication. Volunteers are the heart of Crisis Control and perform much of the vital work of the ministry. In fact, 65 different volunteers give of their time each day. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available now including interviewers to talk to clients, food pantry assistants, front desk volunteers, and pharmacy assistants. If you are interested in learning how you can help, please contact the Director of Volunteers Vicki Jones at 336-201-5290 or email

Robin Paxton is the director of philanthropy for Crisis Control Ministry.


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