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Giva Student Scholarship & Worldwide Community Ambassador Award Winner & Essay: Amberley Snyder

Giva's Student Scholarship & Community Ambassador Award

Giva is very pleased to congratulate Amberley Snyder, 2015 recipient of Giva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award!

Ms. Snyder submitted the required essay answering the questions:

How will you use your talents and education to make the world a better place for future generations? What are your career and personal goals and why?

In response to receiving the award, Ms. Snyder commented, "Thank you so much!! I am honored to receive this scholarship and so grateful for the support." Ms. Snyder is pursuing a graduate degree in School Counseling at Utah State University. "High School is such a tough time for a lot of kids and I want to be able to help them through it. As a counselor, I hope I cannot only tell students they can overcome life's challenges, but show them what they are capable of." said Ms. Snyder.

"Our heartfelt congratulations go to Ms. Snyder, whose example of firm resolve, deep fortitude and grace in the face of adversity will no doubt be an integral role model and inspiration in the lives of our upcoming generations. The foundation of her guidance and spirit of unrelenting perseverance will create profound and pivotal differences in young lives, and Giva is proud to support her in this vision. Congratulations, Amberley!," said Ron Avignone, Founder of Giva.

For more information on Giva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award and other scholarships, please visit our scholarships page.

Congratulations again to Amberley Snyder!

Here is her winning essay:

I was born in California in January of 1991 as the second of six kids in my family. I started riding when I was three and took riding lessons every week. When I was seven, my family decided to move to Utah. When my dad told me the news of moving, I said I would only go if he got me a barrel horse in Utah. Needless to say, he followed through and I had my first horse, Lacey. Rodeo was a huge passion from the first time I competed and has stuck with me ever since. In 2009, I qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals and I won the Finals and World All-Around Cowgirl at the National Little Britches Association Finals as well as placing top 6 in three of my events.

On January 10, 2010, I was on my way to Denver for the stock show. I was just driving through Sinclair, Wyoming when I looked down to check my map. As I looked up, I realized I had faded over a lane and was heading towards a metal beam on the side of the road. I tried to correct my truck, but I slid off the road and my truck turned completely sideways and rolled at 75 mph. I was ejected and hit a fence post on the side of the freeway. I knew I must have broken my back because I did not have any feeling in both of my legs. I underwent five hours of surgery, which left me with a whole lot of hardware in my back. The doctor's prognosis was that I would not gain any feeling below my waist nor would I have any chance of regaining the use of my legs.

Riding has been a part of me since I was three years old. Not riding just was not an option in the beginning. I told my mom I didn't care if I needed to be "strapped" to my saddle, I would ride again. After some debate, my therapists let me bring my saddle in as a tool for therapy. It took a few months before I could convince doctors and parents to allow me on my horse. I didn't even have my back brace off before I got onto a horse for the first time. It was 4 months after my wreck when I sat on the back of one of my horses again. After some time and figuring out how to stay in, I had a seat belt and straps hooked up to my saddle allowing me to ride. When I knew I could lope a circle fine, I set up the barrel pattern. When I could lope a barrel pattern, I wanted to add the speed. Once I knew I could do all that, I entered a race less than a week later. I have been running ever since, competing in barrel racing and rodeos around the Western United States. I just obtained my Pro Rodeo Permit and will continue to chase my goals in the rodeo arena.

The year of my accident I was serving as the Utah State FFA President. During that year I realized how much I loved high school students. I pursued and completed a degree in Agricultural Education at Utah State University. I also began a motivational speaking career due to my time in FFA. Speaking and inspiring others has become a huge passion and I will continue to build my platform as a speaker. The experiences I have had in my life have also inspired me to want to become a school counselor. High School is such a tough time for a lot of kids and I want to be able to help them through it. I am pursuing a graduate degree in School Counseling at Utah State University. As a counselor, I hope I cannot only tell students they can overcome life's challenges, but show them what they are capable of.

Throughout my 24 years of life, I have learned that we don't get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose how we react to it. When faced with this challenge of not walking or feeling my legs, I really had to look within myself as who I was and what I believed. I had to find the strength to overcome the everyday obstacles and keep a positive outlook no matter what I faced. I will admit that it is not always easy, but with the support and help of family, friends and God I have been able to keep moving forward. As a speaker I am able to share my message of triumph over tragedy and inspire others to not give up. I have a Facebook fan page with over a hundred thousand followers and I receive messages daily from those who have been touched by my story. To have that ability to change or save a person's life just by living mine is a huge blessing for me. I have realized that I have a purpose to serve and hope I can inspire others to never give up in their lives no matter what they face.

We will all have adversity in our lives, but each of us have the choice to allow it to hold us back or to build us up into the people we want to become. I was in a life altering car accident, which definitely left me with a few obstacles. I have the opportunity to decide if those obstacles are small rocks or if they are big boulders. I hope through being a counselor I can help students realize they can overcome the small rocks in their lives and become successful as our future generation.