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Overcoming Adversity: The Elizabeth Smart Story
The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. At the tender age of 14, just before celebrating her middle school graduation, Elizabeth went to sleep in her family home just as she had always done. Awakened hours later to a knife held roughly against her throat, she was taken from her home and family and held captive for nine long months. In this captivating message, Elizabeth shares her incredible story of perseverance in the face of unimaginable adversity. Her speech not only tells her personal story, but also discusses topics such as overcoming extreme adversity, the importance and process of recovery, and not allowing your past to dictate your life's future. Elizabeth knows that there is nothing more important than having hope in a difficult situation. Having lived through an extreme circumstance as a young teenager, Elizabeth gives great insight and hope to all
The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Elizabeth was abducted on June 5, 2002, and her captors controlled her by threatening to kill her and her family if she tried to escape. Fortunately, the police safely returned Elizabeth back to her family on March 12, 2003 after being held prisoner for 9 grueling months.
Through this traumatic experience Elizabeth has become an advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs and National legislation. Elizabeth triumphantly testified before her captor and the world about the very private nightmare she suffered during her abduction, which lead to conviction.
The Founder of the “Elizabeth Smart Foundation”, Elizabeth has also helped promote The National AMBER Alert, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act and other safety legislation to help prevent abductions.
Elizabeth has chronicled her experiences in the New York Times best-selling book, "My Story." In addition, she and other abduction survivors worked with the Department of Justice to create a survivors guide, entitled, “You're Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.” This guide is meant to encourage children who have gone through similar experiences not to give up but to know that there is hope for a rewarding life.
Elizabeth has recently recently released a new powerful and inspiring book about what it takes to overcome trauma, find the strength to move on, and reclaim one’s life. "Where There’s Hope" is the result of Elizabeth’s mission: It is both an up-close-and-personal glimpse into her healing process and a heartfelt how-to guide for readers to make peace with the past and embrace the future.
Elizabeth’s abduction and recovery continues to motivate parents, law enforcement and leaders worldwide to focus on children’s safety. She emphasizes vigilance by "every day" people and the belief that hope always exist to find every missing child.
Smart attended Brigham Young University, studying music as a harp performance major. She married her husband Matthew in 2012, and they now have two beautiful children. Elizabeth’s example is a daily demonstration that there really is life after a tragic event.
"Elizabeth was a wonderful, captivating speaker. We had the largest crowd we've ever had."
--Southern Arkansas University Tech
"SHE WAS AMAZING. The gushing from the attendees never ended, there was a standing ovation, and we were all moved to tears. We were incredibly lucky to have her there today to help reinforce the message of our agency."
--Prevention of Cruelty to Children
"Elizabeth Smart was outstanding! One of our best speakers and delightful to work with."
--North Central Michigan College
"It was an absolutely amazing event!!! Thank you Elizabeth Smart."
--Junior League of Williamsport
"Every single person that attended the luncheon said Elizabeth was AMAZING! Spell bound, captivating, precious, poised, adorable - are just a few adjectives that were passed along to me to describe Elizabeth. The New School will be hard pressed to ever find another speaker to match the words she spoke, and the love she shared with our supporters."
--New School in the Heights
"Smart’s voice was an outstanding way to end the event. Her humor combined with her ability to reach the audience on an emotional level ensured that her message of hope reached all. Our participants, which included many survivors of child sexual abuse, truly appreciate her willingness to be a spokesperson for all who have been victims and may not be ready to speak out."
--Penn State University
"Elizabeth was amazing and had the audience mesmerized within the first minute of her presentation. Many women commented that they needed tissues before the event was over, but loved her and thought she was a wonderful, sweet and courageous young woman. There wasn’t a negative comment that we received and everyone wanted to know how we got someone so amazing at our event."
--Siloam Springs Hospital
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