A cross-country bike ride to raise awareness and support for Student Veterans of America.

The purpose of the cross country bike ride is to raise $10,000 through private and corporate donations to support the national organization, Student Veterans of America. SVA assists student veterans as they transition from the military into an academic setting. The mission of SVA is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation (www.studentveterans.org). With over 600 local chapters on college campuses in all 50 states and three countries, SVA is the largest coalition of student veteran organizations in the world. The organization continues to grow and train student veteran leaders how to strengthen their own chapters resulting in a strong peer-support network and a campus environment that supports student veteran academic success. The organization provides services such as chapter and individual scholarships, an internship support program, leadership institutes, national conferences. They are also widely recognized as the leading advocates supporting student veteran issues at the federal, state, and local level.

I truly believe and understand the importance of peer-run veteran organizations on campus and have seen firsthand the important role that these SVA chapters play in advocating for and assisting student veterans on campuses across the country. As the chapter president of the Student Veterans Association at the University of South Florida, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and motivated student veterans in the country. Together we are strong and together we can make a difference in the lives of veterans who selflessly answered the call of service.

With the continued support of Student Veterans of America, student veteran organizations across the country are working to change the national dialogue surrounding our veteran population. Too often, the messages and stories that we hear through national media outlets about military veterans are negative. Today’s student veterans are working to change this dialogue into one that is positive and focused on our strengths rather than weaknesses. Our wounds may be visible or invisible, but that does not mean that we are incapable. We find strength through the lifelong bonds and partnerships we form with each other. Student Veterans of America is helping us to complete our next mission. The next mission consists of transitioning from the military to college and becoming the next generation of leaders of the United States of America.

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