From personal tragedy to empowerment

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Elizabeth Smart signs books and talks to fans after speaking at the Heritage School on Thursday evening. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)
Elizabeth Smart signs books and talks to fans after speaking at the Heritage School on Thursday evening. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)

Elizabeth Smart takes charge in making changes to protect children around the world. After Smart was abducted in 2002, she returned with a determination to help those who have suffered from a similar tragedy.

Evidence of Smart’s contribution come not only from her voicing out her story but also through promoting AMBER Alert, Adam Walsh Child and Protection Safety Act and creating a survivor’s guide entitled “You’re Not Alone: The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment.”

Smart emphasizes the importance of the AMBER Alert as part of her contribution to help children in safety.

“Nothing could have prepared me,” Smart said Feb. 6 at the Heritage School in north Provo. “I don’t think anyone can be prepared, but the community can be prepared. That’s why AMBER Alert is so crucial for our nation.”

Another demonstration of her dedication is through the creation of the app called “Hero.” Smart has joined with a company called Apptooth to develop an app that will track a child’s location and have an alarm sound if there is trouble.

Smart gave the keynote speech at the Heritage School for at-risk teens Thursday night. In her speech Smart discussed the tragedy that occurred in 2002 and her ability to overcome the emotional scars that resulted from it.

“What is heartbreaking for me is to see others experiencing similar traumatic things and they are not able to move forward.”

Smart has demonstrated her promotion of the various legislatures through speaking at conventions and telling her story. She currently has no new projects underway. Her current goal is to keep voicing her story and helping others cope with their own tragedies.

“One of the biggest things I can be doing is talking about my experience and not just saying I was kidnapped and I was rescued; I’m happy and great now,” Smart said. “Bringing about those conversations that are so difficult to have, conversations about rape and what you should do, and abuse and how to deal with that, helping parents to open those lines of communication with children because I know it’s a hard topic to talk about. To help prepare them is the most important thing we can be doing.”

A phrase Smart used as a standard was, “Do not allow your past to dictate your future.” Elizabeth lives by this and wants those suffering to understand the concept as well and to apply it to their lives.

When talking about her tragedy Smart emphasized that the most important thing for victims to understand is their own value.

“It is so important for each one of them to realize how much worth they each have and that (it) can’t be diminished by somebody else, by what they do or say,” Smart said. “I want them so much to know that they are so precious and that they can never, ever be replaced. In the whole history and the future of the world there will never be another one of them.”

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