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Andrea Simler-DeGolier offers us a window into The Connection

Longtime Planned Parenthood supporter Andrea Simler-DeGolier is donating her time and expertise as a designer to The Connection, our free teen center in Niagara Falls! Three times a year, Andrea installs a window display designed to be “positive, educational, and all-inclusive.” The spring display – built in collaboration with Andrea’s husband and another longtime Planned Parenthood supporter, Stephen Simler – was entitled You Are My Sunshine. The fall display theme was Express Yourself and Andrea is currently working on a new holiday set-up.

Jennifer Hull, a friend, PPCWNY board member, and fellow volunteer, gave Andrea the idea for the window project. She “let us know that [creating windows for The Connection] could be an opportunity to give the building some life and promote healthy, positive messages for all who participate with The Connection’s programs,” Andrea recalled. Jennifer also pitched in with the installations from time to time.

“We are grateful and appreciative of the wonderful volunteer assistance here at The Connection,” said Ray Carter, Health Education & Outreach Supervisor at The Connection. “We love our window displays, and the youth always look forward to helping."

Andrea hopes that, with these displays, she will offer “a positive message/voice for the youth and local community.” She has described her experience working with The Connection youth and staff as “wonderful.” “We hope to collaborate with the youth as much as possible,” Andrea added.

After all, the mission of The Connection – to offer young people a fun, safe place to hang out, along with job assistance, health education, and resources – is a vital component of PPCWNY’s overall mission to provide sexual and reproductive health care with respect and without judgement, thereby empowering community members to make their own health and family planning decisions. “The environment is set up to encourage, mentor, and counsel youth and family,” Andrea said, in praise of the information The Connection provides on budgeting, food preparation, and self-reliance. “[It’s] a great place to make a difference.”

The Connection is looking for one or two extra volunteer chaperones for its summer field trips, which will likely take place Mondays and/or Fridays. If you’re interested in this role, you can email [email protected].

-Rachel Montpelier