Big Brothers, Big Sisters supports South High School graduate's college dreams

DENVER - A South High School graduate will soon become the first person in her family to attend college. It's an achievement she earned with the support of her family and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Andrea Handy was just a girl in need of a little extra support when the charity introduced her to Jana Simison.

"It was great. I loved it. I'm kind of mad that I'm 18 now," Handy said laughing. "I loved it."

The friendship they built over the years helped Simison to fulfill her desire to do something meaningful.

"I started with Big Brothers, Big Sisters hoping to volunteer and kind of have that sense of giving back and it turned out that it actually gave back more to me than I feel like I put in," she said.

Handy and Simison shared activities, like painting pottery, and built an unbreakable bond.

"I think I learned a lot here with Jana," Handy said. "Meeting new people and getting to know how to interact with people and trusting somebody well enough to speak about things that were difficult before to talk about"

Handy plans to become a pediatric nurse so she can help children. To propel her toward that goal, Big Brothers, Big Sisters is providing her with a four-year college scholarship through the Annexstad Family Foundation.

The start of the fall semester will be a new adventure for the Handy and Simison. The big sister, however, says she'll continue to offer support in the same way she always has.

"I sat in the background and was a cheerleader," Simison said with a giggle.

More information about Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Colorado is available at: www.BigLittleColorado.org