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Community    |    Articles of interest to the community.

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published on 08/29/2006

Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Band Gala, 50th Anniversary Celebration

By Contributed Article

Knowing that helping children requires a Big heart and a Little time, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been matching “at-risk” children to adult role models for 50 years. In the past 50 years, over 17,000 children in the Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia areas have been served through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga.

To celebrate our 50th Anniversary we are inviting the Chattanooga community to our Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Band Gala, on Friday, October 27th. This Swing Era event will take place from 7:30pm to 10:30pm at the Hunter Museum of American Art. There will be dancers from Chattanooga Dancesport both performing and instructing Swing Dance to the amazing big band music from Sweet Georgia Sound. The event will also include an incredible variety of hand crafted hors d’oeurvres and desserts by Lee Towery Catering. There are also a few other surprises in store for those attending the event. Individual Tickets (1) are $100, Couple Tickets (2) are $150, and Group Tickets (10) are $700.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Band Gala is also a fundraising event that offers four types of sponsorships: Jitterbug Sponsor at $5000, Lindy Hop Sponsor at $2500, Jive Sponsor at $500, & $50 for 50 Year Anniversary Sponsor. Because of donations like these, we are capable of helping children and attract needed community volunteers. It is the donation of time our volunteers give that makes Big Brothers Big Sisters so successful.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters are friends to children by experiencing simple moments that bring joy into their lives. The best way to understand what it means to be a Big is to recall your own childhood. Who was that special someone who brought happiness into your life? Being a Big means that you can be that person for a child. It is not just worthwhile for the children, but our volunteers often say that being a Big is more rewarding and fulfilling for them than it is for their Little. Without your support we would be unable to serve over 500 children a year, as well as to reach out to over 300 still waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Band Gala honors the 50 years Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga has been in service to the community. Of course, that service has only been accomplished because, 50 years ago, the Chattanooga community created a program to assist children in need. In 1956, the Chattanooga Pastors Association noticed the rise of juvenile delinquency problems due to the lack of male guidance. Big Brothers began when 50 male volunteers were matched to 50 boys. With support from the President of Big Brothers, Porter Warner, Jr., and the agency’s first Director, Irvin Jacob Richmond, the agency achieved its charter in May 1958. With the help of Mildred Montague, Big Sisters merged with Big Brothers in 1977 to expand the services offered to boys and girls in Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has always created programs to assist children based on the community’s needs. In 2000, BBBS piloted a School-Based Program with 45 children. This program has continued to expand, serving over 120 children each year at schools across the greater Chattanooga area. Another need the agency noticed was that many of our children had a parent in prison. In 2004, the Amachi program began serving children with imprisoned parent(s) and has served over 75 children.

There is no plan to slow down now. Big Brothers Big Sisters is continually analyzing the needs of children of Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia and finding new ways to assist. Under the new leadership from Ansel Peak, Executive Director, the agency plans to target the growing need of children in the Hispanic community, as well as connect retired individuals to children at schools through the Reading Buddies Program. To find out more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga or the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Band Gala, visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga is proud to be a United Way program.

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