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Amber Bonilla
H.O.P.E. Honoree 2024

Amber Bonilla, an accomplished educator with a remarkable 19-year career, stands as an example of dedication, humility, and generosity within the realm of special education. Employed by Struthers City Schools, Amber embarked on her educational journey after earning her undergraduate degree from Youngstown State University and later obtaining a master’s degree from Walden University. While her academic achievements are impressive, Amber’s most cherished accomplishments are her children, Antonio and Ellianna, who serve as the guiding lights in her life.

Rooted in the values instilled by her family, Amber prioritizes putting family first—a lesson passed down through generations. Witnessing her mother, Jackie Stout, tirelessly volunteering for the American Cancer Society, Amber learned that giving back is not merely a choice but a way of life. At the age of 13 she volunteered at the Butler Summer Art Camp for students with disabilities; it was here that Amber discovered her calling—to serve others while fostering creativity. Her classroom now serves as a hub of kindness, from donating recycled crayons to children’s hospitals to providing over 10,000 pairs of new socks to homeless shelters, Amber empowers her students to make a tangible difference within their community. Beyond her classroom walls, Amber strives to cultivate a culture of community engagement through initiatives like the summer art camp and the holiday lights tradition. Even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amber remained steadfast in her commitment to service the need by sewing over 5,000 masks and doing so for free.

Yet, perhaps Amber’s most profound passion lies in raising awareness about organ donation—a cause deeply personal to her family. Having witnessed firsthand the life-saving impact of organ donation through her husband, Eddie’s liver transplant, Amber tirelessly advocates for Lifebanc, channeling her efforts through her mother’s bridal shop charity event, Wedding Rewind.

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