It has been 12 years since she was first captured and Elizabeth Smart during a woman-empowering lunch said that she forgives her captors.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her house in Salt Lake City in June 2002. She was 14 years old at that time, and was taken from her bedroom which she shared with her sister. She was held captive by a couple that threatened to kill her and her family if she tried to escape. She returned home nine months later in March 2003 when police found her.
In Rochester, New York, during a women's empowerment lunch, Elizabeth Smart the woman who survived a child kidnapping spoke about her time as a captive. It was one of the most highly publicized child kidnapping cases in US History. She spoke before 1,600 people at the YWCA at Joseph A. Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
Elizabeth Smart is now 26 years old and she has decided to share her story with organizations and communities around the United States. She said that there were many who prayed for her and searched for her, and she is grateful. She added that it makes a huge difference when you know that so many people out there wanted you to return home safely.
"So many people searched for me, so many people prayed for me and followed by story and I am so grateful that," she said on Thursday. "It's made such a huge difference knowing there are so many people who cared for me and loved me and wanted my safe return, not only my safe return but they wanted to see me happy again and they wanted to see me move forward in my life so that's been such a huge blessing."
The YWCA organized an annual fundraiser, and it helped fund local women and girls who were dealing with homelessness, teen pregnancy and personal crisis. It also works to discourage stereotypes and helps promote racial justice. They cannot achieve all this with just the grant money, so every year they hold an annual fundraiser event where people can lend their help in order to support the cause.
The YWCA president and CEO Jean Carroll said, "The dollars that we raise here are unrestricted and that makes a huge difference. We really know, at our YWCA, we really know the services that the women need and this allows us to provide them."
Elizabeth Smart said that no matter how many bad things you see on the news today, there are many good people, and those people can make a difference. She concluded her speech by saying that there are many people who want to help you and see you happy, so the thing is to never give up.
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