Elizabeth Smart, who has gone from an abducted 14-year-old that suffered unspeakable abuse to wife, mother and nationally recognized leader and advocate for issues related to child abuse, will conduct an on-stage conversation with NBC West Coast Today Show Anchor and Host of Access Hollywood Natalie Morales as the headliner at the 2019 Champion Honors Luncheon that benefits the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation and the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center.
The luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 22 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert.
“I am extremely honored to have been selected as the Champion Honoree at the Barbara Sinatra Center’s Annual Champion Honors Luncheon,” said Smart. “The Barbara Sinatra Center has impacted the lives of so many children, and I am thrilled to be a part of this event to support the continued growth and efforts of this incredible organization.”
Smart follows last year’s honoree Simone Biles, who rose from neglect and abuse as a child to become an Olympic gold medal champion. Biles also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar.
Event co-chair and Children’s Center trustee Hal Gershowitz added, “We are delighted Elizabeth is coming to share an up-close and personal glimpse into her story, the healing process and her emergence as a nationally recognized leader and advocate for issues related to child abuse.”
Smart co-authored with Chris Stewart My Story, a memoir that details both her kidnapping and the formation of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. In 2017, on the 15th anniversary of her abduction, Lifetime aired the made-for-TV film, I Am Elizabeth Smart, narrated and produced by Smart.
John Thoresen, executive officer of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, said luncheon tickets to see and hear the 31-year-old Smart will go quickly. “The efforts by Elizabeth to protect children from abuse is noteworthy and complements the mission of the Children’s Center,” Thoresen said. “Natalie has previously interviewed both Elizabeth and her parents, so we can expect a most enjoyable and revealing conversation.”
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY NBC UNIVERSAL
In 2014, Smart testified before the Utah House of Representatives in favor of a bill that would create an optional curriculum for use in Utah schools to provide training on child sexual abuse prevention. The Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation’s international outreach program of animated videos, “The Protect Yourself Rules Program,” is being used by a number of schools in Utah and throughout the U.S. and the world to help protect children from abuse.
People desiring tables of 10 or individual tickets should contact the Children’s Center at 760-773-1636 for more information.