We are here to start something

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. 

Handsome dad with his little cute sun are having fun and playing American football on green grassy lawn

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.


Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.


Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Overview of Big Brother Big Sisters of Northeast AL.

Cute Child

For 37 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. 

Misty Gardner – Program and Case Manager 
Misty Gardner Joined Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2018 as the Programs and Case Manager for Calhoun and Talladega Counties. Misty works in the Calhoun County satellite office and manages the Site, School, and Community Based Programs.

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


Michele Bradford J.D. 
Tony Smith
Christy Turner 
Jason Hutchens
Devon Maness
Dr. Donna Smoots PHD
Dr. Teresa Gardner PHD
Lanae Dobbins
Christi Robinson
Hilda Moody
Dr. Forrest Bailey DMD
Vonda Tharpe


Past President


Gadsden State Community College
Alabama Power
Etowah Chemical Sales and Service
Exchange Bank 
Inteva Products
Gadsden City Schools 
Jacksonville State University 
ERA King Realty
Alabama Teachers Credit Union
Gadsden City Schools – Retired
Smith & Bailey Dental 
The Children’s Place 

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