Brittany Hopple-Cranny, our new Program Coordinator for Clay County, grew up in Florida and has called Western North Carolina home since 2020. After 10 years of living in Vancouver, B.C., she and her family moved to the mountains to start building a relationship with her family. For the last decade you could find her caring for children as a private nanny, going on an adventure with her daughter, or tending one of her 100-plus house plants. Brittany grew up playing softball and now coaches the Hayesville High School softball team. “Children are the gurus of life, and deserve equal opportunity to thrive, regardless of the situation they were born into,” she says.
Melissa Dale, the new Program Coordinator for Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties, has always lived in Mitchell County. Melissa joins BBBS after 13 years of supporting adults and adolescents with mental, physical and emotional challenges. She will receive her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in December. “I am thrilled to join BBBS because I will have the opportunity to serve, love, and encourage children, youth and adults in the hopes of positively influencing the communities I hold dear,” she says.
Kate Shelton is a new program coordinator for the Buncombe County office. An East Tennessee native who has lived in Western North Carolina for over 20 years, she has an 11-year-old son and a sweet rescue dog. Most weekends they can be found hiking/camping, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or spending time with family and friends. For one year, Kate was a teacher on St. John, a U.S. Virgin Island, an experience she’ll never forget. “I have worked in the school systems for over two decades and absolutely feel my best when I get to support families, kiddos and the community,” she says.
Emilie Jacumin-Simmons, a new Program Coordinator for Burke and McDowell counties, is a retired ESL teacher with the Burke County Public School system. Currently a doctoral candidate at Liberty University’s School of Education, she has also worked in financial investing. When she isn’t traveling, Emilie is enjoying the outdoors with her adult son and her dogs or reading. She serves on the Board of Directors for Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth, and Families. “The realization of a hope and a future is fundamental in a young person’s life,” she says. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Big Brothers and Bigs Sisters to help youth pursue those dreams.”
Hannah Huskey, a new Program Coordinator of Transylvania and Henderson counties, grew up in Greenville, S.C. She attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., where she majored in human development and family studies with a minor in community-based education. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to work with youth and families and have been fortunate enough to be able to do so in many different settings over the years,” she said. A resident of the Brevard area, she spends her free time hiking with her dog, spending time with her family, reading and traveling. “I am beyond excited to be a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC and to help continue to support Transylvania and Henderson counties’ communities.”
Amy Green is a new Project Coordinator for Graham County. An appreciative resident of WNC since the mid-1990s, she has a background in working with youth in afterschool programs and summer camps. Most recently, she was a Career Counselor assisting individuals in reaching their career goals and succeeding on the job. “I am a huge advocate for helping those of all ages find and reach their potential and supporting them throughout the journey,” she said.