Our Wonderful Staff

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Sabrina Houser
Chief Executive Officer

Sabrina has been with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1996 and initially became involved with the organization as a Big Sister. “I found the mission of the agency very compelling,” she says. That early volunteer experience led her to seek a job with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has become a career. “Helping children succeed in school, at home and in their communities has such a profound impact on lives, and no mentoring organization does it better than Big Brothers Big Sisters".  Sabrina has a strong background in program management, grant development and reporting, not-for-profit management and fundraising. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from SUNY Geneseo, and currently resides in Saratoga Springs with her loving family. Sabrina can be reached at  Sabrina@bbbscr.org  or ext 19

Geraldine Gutierrez  Program Director

Geraldine studied psychology as an undergraduate at the University at Albany. Her life experiences, mentors and educators afforded her a deep understanding of intersectionality and social justice issues which lead her to pursue a Master’s in Social Work at her alma mater. Geraldine has served as a social worker in schools and mental health programs. She has served families as a child support specialist and educator. She understands deeply that a collective effort and lots of love is necessary to create positive outcomes within the lives of youth. This lead her to Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization and its dedicated volunteers envision success for every child, no matter what their background or circumstances. As Program Manager, she looks forward to being a positive contributor to the agency’s mission and the lives of the children we serve.  Geraldine can be reached at  geraldinegutierrez@bbbscr.org  or ext 15

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Christine McLear
Development Associate

Before beginning her role as Development Associate, Christine was the BBBSCR Site-Based Program Manager. In that role, she coordinated the mentoring programs at five local colleges. With a background in community education and youth development, Christine has seen the transformative impact that a mentor can have in a young person's life. Christine studied sociology at Ithaca College, where she first became involved with non-profit agencies. Christine can be reached at  christinemclear@bbbscr.org  or ext 22

Patience Pechette
Human Resources Manager

Patience has a degree in Secondary Education and History. She spent 6 years teaching high school Social Studies.  As the Rensselaer County Coordinator of the Reality Check program, she worked with youth to education the community on corporate tobacco's marketing strategies.  Currently she works here at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office as our office manager and human resources specialist.   Patience was a former little and attributes her motivation to go to college to the relationship she developed with her Big Sister. Patience can be reached at  patience@bbbscr.org  or ext 10

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Elena Kyprianou
Event Coordinator 

Elena holds a degree in Leisure and Tourism Management. Originally from Cyprus, she moved to the United States to achieve her goals and to bring her unique experiences and skill set to the Capital Region.Her previous experiences include owning and managing her own restaurant as well as working in the community to create a passion and buzz for Mediterranean food and culture. Big Brothers and Big Sisters came into Elena's life when she was looking for a way to give back and share her adventure and event personality with others. Working with this organization allows her to accomplish not only those goals within her career but also within her desire to help others. Elena can be reached at  elena@bbbscr.org  or ext 21

Amber Zane Community-Based Manager

Amber first became involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2002, when her daughter was enrolled as a Little. She started working at Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2014, as a Site-Based Coordinator. Being involved with the Site Based program started Amber's passion for a career with the agency. In fall of 2015 Amber took on an additional role in the community based program as a Match Support Specialist and moved into the Community-Based Program Manager position. She has obtained a B.S. in Human Services and currently working on an M.B.A. With experience that ranges from Early Childhood Parent Educator, Quality Child-Care State-wide Assessor, Program Director and owning and operating her own day-care for 12 years. Amber can be reached at  amberzane@bbbscr.org  or ext 20

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Sarah Berry Interim Site-Based Program Manager

Sarah graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in psychology and went on to work for several different non-profit organizations. She also started a writing therapy business to help cancer survivors and women of all ages process the changes in their lives. Sarah came to BBBS 3 years ago and has worked in the role as Asst. to the Site Based Manager and Site Coordinator for Skidmore. "In my various roles at BBBS over the years, I've had the great pleasure of working closely with both Bigs and Littles. I've seen first hand the positive difference that a caring mentor can make in the life of a child. All of our employees are so dedicated to the mission and this is by far my favorite organization I've ever worked for." Sarah lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband and two young children. Sarah can be reached at  sarahberry@bbbscr.org  or ext 17

The Direct Services Team

Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on paid, trained staff to carefully match caring volunteers with children who face adversity in long-term one-to-one mentoring relationships and provide ongoing support to our Bigs, Littles and their families. This is what differentiates us from other organizations that provide various other forms of mentoring. Our long-term mentoring programs are proven by independent research to help kids who face adversity succeed in and out of school.

Andrea Bonacci

Enrollment and Match Specialist

Andreabonacci@bbbscr.org

Michelle Dowe

Enrollment and Match Specialist

Michelledowe@bbbscr.org

Tonisha Bynum

Child Enrollment Specialist

tonisha@bbbscr.org

Makisha Brown

Match Support Specialist

makisha@bbbscr.org

Collina Cooke

Match Support Specialist

Site Coordinator - Union College

collina@bbbscr.org 

Sheyla Escoto

Spanish Bilingual Match Support Specialist

Site Coordinator - Union College

sheylaescoto@bbbscr.org

Kara Gokey

Site Coordinator - SUNY Albany

karagokey@bbbscr.org

Christesla Duroska

Site Coordinator - College of Saint Rose

christesladuroska@bbbscr.org

Danielle Benassutti

Site Coordinator - RPI

daniellebenassutti@bbbscr.org

Staff members Patience Pechette and Amber Zane at the 2016 Chef's Challenge registration table.
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Staff photo from the Chef's Challenge 2016 - Staff members Patience Pechette, Elena Marosek, Sabrina Houser, Anne Morrill, Andrea Bonacci, Tonisha Bynum, Sarah Berry, and Geraldine Gutierrez.
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