Elizabeth Smart’s is one of those remarkable stories. We were honored by her recent visit to our office. A kidnapping victim, she has become an advocate of protecting children, from founding the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to helping pass Congressional laws to reporting on missing persons for ABC News. Here, Smart, who married fiance Matthew Gilmour this past weekend in Hawaii, gave us 10 minutes.

The mission of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation is…
Bringing hope and stopping victimization. We have two main focuses, a child empowerment program called radKIDS — giving children the tools and skills they need to protect themselves. Our other focus is supporting the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Both of these focuses should be playing a role in every person’s life whether they have children or not, it takes a community to make a difference.

We should all be proactive about protecting our children because…
Children are our most precious resource and if we don’t take the time and make the effort to protect them then how will the world ever be a better place tomorrow?

The best way to get involved is
To write to your government officials and say the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces are essential and  need to become priority number one on our government’s agenda. To become involved with radKIDS go to the www.radKIDS.org website and bring radKIDS to your communities and neighborhoods.

My greatest success so far has been…
Being able to walk away from my kidnapping, turning around and begin making a difference in other peoples’ lives.

My personal hero is…
My dad. He gave up everything to find me and after he did he didn’t stop looking for the other children who are still out there.  He has dedicated his life to protecting children.

The best advice I have ever received was
From my mom the morning after I was rescued. She said, “There aren’t words strong enough to express how wicked and evil this man is, but don’t give him another moment! The best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy and to follow your dreams.”

In 20 years I hope to
Have reached the two goals of ESF — to see radKIDS in every elementary school in the USA and hopefully beginning to expand worldwide, and to see that the ICAC task force has the resources and manpower that it requires to rescue 100% of children instead of less than 2%. As a personal goal, I hope to have my own family.

More to explore in Culture