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Changing perspectives. Changing lives.


Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported 

one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.


All children achieve success in life.

Calhoun, Cherokee, DeKalb, Etowah, and Talladega Counties

Overview of Big Brother Big Sisters of Northeast AL.

For 35 years professional staff have matched local children who are facing adversity with safe, positive mentors in one to one mentoring relationships. The proven results of these wonderful friendships are improved grades and behavior; decreased use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs; increased self esteem, confidence, and caring about others. Mentors and staff are in a unique position to detect neglect and abuse of children; influence parents; bring awareness to community leaders of the needs of children of adversity. These children grow up to be productive adults.


Children may be referred to Big Brothers Big Sisters by a parent or guardian, counselor, physician, Department of Human Resources, Department of Public Health, School staff, judicial system, friends, and relatives. With parental/guardian consent, the child is matched with a safe, screened volunteer who has agreed to visit with the child four or more hours or per month for an appropriate fun one on one activity. Matches are made based on personality, interests, and locality and are managed with regular follow up by Big Brothers Big Sisters professional case managers.


General Information 

Although the mentor may choose to visit the child only at school, others may choose to visit the child in the community attending events or spending time together on fun one to one activities: fishing, hiking, camping, ballgames, picnics, swimming, fishing, church activities, manicures, biking, playing games, or just hanging out! There are also frequent free group activities provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters for Bigs and Littles and their families.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Alabama is proudly accredited by the Standards for Excellence Institute as having met all the requirements of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Alabama was awarded the Gold Standard Award for high achievement by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.


Our Partners

United Way of Etowah, Calhoun and Talladega Counties, Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, Stringfellow Health Fund, Wells Fargo, Premiere Cinemas, Sunny King Charity Classic, City of Anniston, City of Jacksonville, City of Gadsden, Department of Homeland Security, Anniston Kiwanis Clubs and Gadsden Kiwanis Club, Honda, Etowah County Community Development Committees, Exchange Bank, WinSouth Credit Union, Alabama Power, APSO, America's First Federal Credit Union, Southern States Bank, Regions Bank, Etowah County Sheriff Departments. Calhoun County Sheriff Department, Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Battelle, Gadsden State Community College, Gold's Gym, New Flyer, Back Forty Beer Company, Job Corps, First United Methodist Church of Anniston and of Gadsden.  


Our Staff

Valerie Shannon- CEO 

Ms. Shannon joined the staff in 2001 hired as the Site Based Coordinator for Etowah County. Responsible for the school, site and after-school based mentoring programs. She recruited volunteers and youth, enrolled and managed them with match support and case management. In 2007 she took the Outreach Coordinator position in Calhoun and Talladega Counties. Managing the office and enrollment in community and site based programs, fundraising, grant writing, outreach and capacity building. In 2012 Ms. Shannon took the CEO position of managing the day to day operations of the agencies programs in five service counties. 

Rachel Lotfi-  Administrative Assistant 

Mrs. Lotfi has been with the agency since 2008 serving first as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer working in our School and the Coosa River Champions Mentoring Grant  with Gadsden City Schools. She was hired and trained to manage the Agency Information Management System that oversees all information regarding our youth, parents, volunteers, donors, and outcome measures. Mrs. Lotfi is responsible for all grant reporting and is the Administrative Assistant to the CEO.  

Dr. Zeldra Vawters - Program and Case Manager  

Dr. Vawters served the agency as a VISTA Volunteer joining the agency in 2014. She was hired as our Program and Case Manager for Calhoun and Talladega Counties in 2016. Serving both community and site based programs in those counties. 

Alina A. Lackey - VISTA Volunteer 

Ms. Lackey is serving her first year as a VISTA Volunteer. She serves the agency as a Community Coordinator for Calhoun and Talladega Counties.

Keisha Rice - VISTA Volunteer 

Mrs. Rice is serving her first year as a VISTA Volunteer. She serves the agency as a Community Coordinator for Etowah and Cherokee Counties. 

Board of Directors 

                                     Name                                      Position                                  Affiliation 


                                 Tony Smith                            President                               Alabama Power 

                                 Deesha Wolfe                        President-Elect                     Dr. Roger Allen DMD 

                                 Lanae Dobbins                      Secretary                              ERA King Reality 

                                 Jason Hutchens                    Treasurer                              Exchange Bank 

                                 Devon Maness                                                                     Inteva Products 

                                 Christi Robertson                                                                Alabama Teachers Credit Union

                                 Dr. Donna Smoots PHD                                                      Gadsden City Schools

                                 Dr. Teresa Gardner PHD                                                     Jacksonville State University        

                                 Michele Bradford JD                                                           Gadsden State Community College 

                                           Christy Richards                                                                 Etowah Chemical Sales & Service                                           Hilda Moody                                                                         Gadsden City Schools - Retired                                                                                                                                            





Annual Report 2017.pdf

Annual Report 2016.pdf