Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. We help children realize their potential and build their futures. We nurture children and strengthen communities. And we couldn’t do any of it without you.
For more than 38 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.
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.
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.
Valerie S. Pugliese- CEO
Mrs. Pugliese joined the agency in 2001 hired as the Site Based Coordinator for Etowah County. Responsible for the school based, site based and after-school mentoring programs. Responsible for recruited volunteers, enrolling youth, and managed match support and case management. In 2007 Valerie took the Outreach Coordinator position for Calhoun and Talladega Counties. Managing the office and enrollment in our community based and site based programs, fundraising, grant writing, outreach and capacity building for those counties. In 2012 Ms. Pugliese took the CEO position of managing the day to day operations of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program staff in our five counties service area.
Misty Gardner – Program and Case Manager
Mrs. Gardner joined the agency in 2018 as the Case Manager for Calhoun and Talladega Counties. Misty is based out of our Calhoun County satellite office and manages the Site Based Programs, School Based Programs, and Community Based Programs. Misty is also our Programs Director for the oversight or the agency Quality Assurance and Match Management Compliance.
Keisha Rice – Case Manager
Mrs. Rice joined agency in 2017 as a VISTA Volunteer, in 2019 she was hired as a part-time Case Manager, and in 2021 she became a Full-time Case Manager for Etowah County. Keisha is based out of our Gadsden office and manages Site Based Programs, School Based Programs, in city and county schools and our Community Based Programs. Keisha is also our Forms Assembly Manager.
Katrina Graben – Outreach Coordinator
Mrs. Graben joined our agency in 2021 as our STEAM Program Developer and Outreach Coordinator. Katrina is a retired special education teacher with 30 years experience specializing in Instructional Leader -Science Intervention for 2nd -12 grades. Katrina is based out of our Gadsden office and works to develop our STEAM resources, community partners, and curriculum guides. Katrina works with our staff in our Site Based, School Based, and Community Based Programs.
John C. Adams
Dr. Teresa Gardner
The Gadsden Etowah Chamber, CEO
Southern Data Automations
State Farm Insurance
Alabama Teachers Credit Union
Gadsden State Community College
Jacksonville State University
Southern States Bank