Elizabeth Smart to speak at Women Helping Women Luncheon

(Photo credit: MGN Online/Attorney General Utah)
(Photo credit: MGN Online/Attorney General Utah)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Elizabeth Smart will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 for the 9th Annual Women Helping Women Luncheon.

The luncheon is hosted by the Auxiliary of the Pastoral Institute and will take place from 11:30 AM – 1 PM in the Ballroom at the Columbus Ironworks and Trade Center.

The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Abducted at the age of 14 on June 5, 2002, Elizabeth's captors controlled her by threatening to kill both her and her family if she tried to escape. After being held prisoner for 9 months, police safely returned Elizabeth to her family on March 12, 2003. In 2011, Elizabeth triumphantly testified before her captor and the world about the very private nightmare she suffered; her captor was convicted.

Now a strong advocate for protecting children from abuse and abduction, Elizabeth created the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to help missing and abused children. Some of her work includes collaboration with the Department of Justice on a survivor's guide to empower children who have experienced similar tragic events. She also promotes the National AMBER Alert. While Elizabeth continues to be vocal about child safety legislation, she also reminds everyday people of the role we can each play in finding missing children by being vigilant.

Elizabeth Smart says that recovery is different for everyone.  She has moved forward with her life and demonstrates daily that there really is life after a tragic event. She is currently a senior at Brigham Young University studying harp performance.

"The level of energy and excitement expressed by the community over this event has been phenomenal," says Ron King, Executive Director and CEO of the Pastoral Institute.   "Her story captured the hearts of many people throughout the nation and we are all looking forward to seeing her and hearing of her journey."

Event proceeds benefit the Hope Fund at the Pastoral Institute which provides free or low-fee counseling to children and families in the area's homeless shelters. In 2012, over 2600 hours of counseling were provided through the generosity of Hope Fund donors.

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