Elizabeth Smart speaks in Rapid City at fundraiser for Abbott House

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV)- The 2002 abduction of then 14 year old Elizabeth Smart from her Salt Lake City home was one of the biggest national headlines of that year and the next. She was rescued 9 months later.

Inspirational Speaker and Author Elizabeth Smart in Rapid City on 9/20/19

Friday night, Smart was in Rapid City to speak at a fundraiser for the 80th anniversary of the Abbott House, an organization that helps young people who have been traumatized, abused or neglected.

Smart is now an inspirational speaker and author, focusing on hope.
17 years after being kidnapped, Smart is now age 31, married, with 3 kids, and living near Salt Lake City.

She told us that she wanted to send a message of hope to young people that are survivors of trauma: that bad things happen and they're not always a consequence of their own decisions, but often other people's decisions, or that sometimes things just happen.

"But I want them to know that it's not these things, it's not these terrible traumas, and terrible struggles that they go through in life that define who they are. I want them to know it may shape them. It may alter their life's path, but ultimately what defines them are the choices and decisions that they make, and that is how they define who they are," Smart said.

Saturday Smart will be in Mitchell, which is the main location for the Abbott House organization.