Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart will speak at The Women Helping Women Foundation’s annual luncheon Oct. 22 at TRAC in Pasco.
When Smart was 14, she was kidnapped from her home in Utah. She spent the next nine months living with her captors before she was found by police just 18 miles from her family’s home.
Today, Smart is the founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, an organization that works to prevent and stop crimes against children. In addition, she promotes the National Amber Alert program, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act and other safety legislations designed to prevent abductions. Smart also worked with the Department of Justice in creating the survivors guide “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.”
“She’s going to tell her story, but also talk about how she’s grown from the kidnapping and how she’s moved past that and how she’s furthering her experience,” said Allyson Dallhouse, a WHW-TC board member. “It’s really a story of empowerment. It’s pretty exciting.”
The WHW-TC organization gets the majority of its fundraising from the annual luncheon, Dallhouse said.
The group raised more than $110,000 at the 2011 luncheon, which featured guest speaker Malaak Compton-Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock.
“Our goal is definitely significantly more,” Dallhouse said. “The money that we raise goes directly to programs in the Tri-Cities area.”
Local groups requesting grant money must apply with the organization and are heavily vetted before a final selection is made.
“All of the programs we fund are local programs and some of them are just incredible,” Dallhouse said. “I went with another board member to (a charity) and the board member cried, it was very emotional. A lot of things you feel detached from in your community until you meet these people and are reminded that there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Sponsorships for the luncheon are still available. A minimum donation of $100 is required to attend the event. For more information on Women Helping Women visit www.whwftc.org.