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Elizabeth Smart: ‘I found something worth living for’

elizabeth smartBy Alex Branch

[email protected]

FORT WORTH — Inside a tent pitched on a Utah mountainside, moments after she was sexually assaulted by her kidnapper, Elizabeth Smart was overwhelmed by shame.

Just 14 and abducted hours earlier from her bedroom, she wondered if anyone would even search for her if they knew what had just happened.

Stories she had seen on the television news about kidnapped and murdered children flashed through her head and she wished she “was in heaven with them.”

“I remember lying on the floor of that tent feeling so worthless, crushed,” Smart told an audience at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel during the Salvation Army annual luncheon Wednesday. “I just didn’t feel that I could ever be worth anything.”

But Smart, whose abduction and rescue a decade ago captivated the nation, said she overcame that feeling with memories of her family’s love. She became determined to see them again, a sense of purpose that she hoped Salvation Army clients would remember as they battle their adversities.

“Because I found something worth living for, I was able to decide that no matter what happened, I would survive,” said Smart, who is now 25. “No matter what I had to face, I would do it as long as it was within my power. Somehow, I would see my family again.”

Smart’s speech was the main feature at the Salvation’s Army’s Doing the Most Good luncheon. The event raises money for Salvation Army programs, such as homeless prevention, addiction treatment, food pantries and supportive housing.

Smart’s abduction June 5, 2002, is well-known. Brian David Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, broke into her family’s Utah home while everyone slept, took her into the nearby mountains, sexually assaulted her and held her captive for nine months.

Police rescued Smart nine months later. Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.

His wife, who helped keep Smart captive, was sentenced to 15 years.

Smart, who married 14 months ago, has since helped promote legislation to prevent abductions. She also speaks to recovery organizations nationwide.

On Wednesday, she described growing up with strict but loving parents and brothers who teased her.

The night she was kidnapped she had fallen asleep as usual in the bedroom she shared with her sister.

She awoke to a knife pressed to her neck and the sounds of a man’s voice.

Smart said she had always been warned not to talk to strangers, never get into their cars or help them look for lost puppies.

“No one ever told me what to do if someone broke in and had me at knifepoint,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was real.”

Moving forward

Smart recounted being forced to walk up the mountain behind her home, crawling through a narrow ravine and finally reaching a remote encampment where Mitchell’s wife waited. At one point she recalled telling Mitchell that, if his intent was to rape and murder her, to just do it now.

“I’m not going to do that. Yet …” he replied, smiling.

During the next nine months, Smart was forced to travel to California and eventually back to Utah with her captors. She recalled once getting a meal at a Salvation Army shelter when Mitchell’s group had no food. And she recounted the events of March 12, 2003, the day she was rescued by police and reunited with her parents.

“I remember thinking if anyone ever asks me how to describe this moment I can in one word: Heaven,” she said. “No one had ever looked so beautiful to me as my mom did.”

During her recovery, her mother gave her advice that she followed. She told Smart that her kidnapper was evil and what he did to her was wicked.

“Then she said ‘The best punishment you could give [Mitchell] is be happy, move forward with your life and to do exactly what you want to do,’” Smart said. “‘Because it would be very easy to live in the past, to dwell on what happened to you. But that would allow him to take more of your life.’

“She was so right. … You’re not helping yourself out by holding on to the pain and the misery. You have to move forward.”

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/03/4748469/elizabeth-smart-i-found-something.html#storylink=cpy

Salvation Army To Host Event On Awareness Of Sexual Exploitation Of Children

sexual exploitationChattanooga, TN – The Salvation Army’s ReCreate Café, at 800 McCallie Ave., will host a free screening of “The Candy Shop,” a film which exposes the epidemic of the sexual exploitation of children, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The screening is made possible by Second Life of Chattanooga and Street Grace.

There will be a question and answer panel discussion afterwards with leaders who are fighting human trafficking locally. The panel will also include Alesia Adams, the Salvation Army’s territorial services coordinator against human trafficking.

The Salvation Army is a leader around the globe against human trafficking and is involved with rescuing children and adults. The Salvation Army believes that abuse and exploitation of human beings through any form of human trafficking is an offense against humankind and against God, officials said.

For more information contact Tenika Dye at 756-1023 or visit www.csarmy.org.

Volunteers staff Salvation Army Clinic at the University of Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 22, 2013) – It should come as no surprise that “service, caring, and sensitivity to others” are listed among the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s (COM) mission statement and values. Although all UK medical students have dedicated their studies and their futures to helping others, one group is already showing their community the importance of putting service into action.

A group of 20 UK College of Medicine students make up a volunteer team that staffs the University of Kentucky Salvation Army Clinic (SAC), along with supervising physicians. The clinic, located in downtown Lexington at the Salvation Army Center on Main Street, is a free medical clinic and is the oldest community service project run through COM. The mission of the clinic since its founding in 1986 has been to help serve the uninsured population in Lexington by providing free medical services and raising awareness of local health care resources.

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Sweetheart deals on prom dresses at Salvation Army

TAMPA (FOX 13) – Yessiel Hernandez has a date, but no dress for her senior prom.

The Leto High School student has been too busy hitting the books to worry about searching sale racks for a dress that also fits her finances.

“I’m in a nursing program. So it’s going to clinicals and busy, busy, busy,” she said.

On Thursday, the honor student finally got a break: first dibs on picking through the fabrics of dozens of brand-new prom gowns. The tags are still on most of the dresses, but these aren’t from any boutique…they’re from the Salvation Army.

“We’ve been collecting prom dresses and bridal dresses and formal wear,” said Salvation Army Family Store manager Chris Pluchino.

More than 300 floor-length gowns were donated to the Salvation Army from bridal shops. They’re on sale to the anyone on the prom dress hunt, starting Friday.

“They’re extremely expensive, but we’re offering them at at least a 75 percent discount,” Pluchino said Thursday.

Yessiel got hers first, and for free. She was pampered from head to toe in prom-glitz as a reward for all her hard work.

“At first I was a little nervous. Everything was handed free to me, and I really don’t get that on a daily basis,” she smiled.

The Salvation Army hopes to have several more Cinderella stories when their sale officially starts Friday morning, offering the detailing of a dream dress at a fraction of the price.

“It’s hugely important. You only get to go to prom one time in your life. It would be a shame for someone to have to look back and say, ‘I couldn’t go because I didn’t have a dress.’ So for us to be able to offer that is fantastic,” Pluchino said.

The Salvation Army’s Prom & Bridal dress sale starts Friday morning at 8:30 am at their store located at 13910 N. Nebraska Avenue in Tampa.

Read more: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/21647526/2013/03/14/brand-new-prom-dresses-on-sale#ixzz2NtqmOKi8
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Chefs for Hope Program Offers Life-Changing Culinary Education


“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

This is the philosophy that inspired The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program in Louisville, KY, an intensive 10-week course which offers individuals who are struggling with homelessness, poverty and addiction, the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to obtain an entry level position in the culinary industry.

Upon completion of the course, culinary students have the opportunity to work with the city’s top chefs in creating a six-course meal for the annual Chef’s for Hope gala that raises essential funds for the program. With 125 foodies in attendance at last week’s gala, the event raised approximately $31,000 which will support two 10-week sessions this year.

“Students in this program take the opportunity and run with it,” said Lanham. “Chefs for Hope is really changing lives.”

Read more at blog.salvationarmyusa.org

Stearns & Foster Donate $1 Million in Mattresses to The Salvation Army

stearns & fosterTRINITY, N.C., March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Stearns & Foster, the luxury mattress brand under Sealy Inc., announced today it has donated $1 million in new mattresses to The Salvation Army as part of its annual Gift of Sleep program. Now in its third consecutive year, this donation will bring the total amount provided to The Salvation Army residential shelters on behalf of the Stearns & Foster Gift of Sleep program to $3 million.

“The Stearns & Foster brand has a wonderful history of giving back, and we are proud to continue the brand’s philanthropic legacy with our commitment to The Salvation Army through the Gift of Sleep program,” said Jodi Allen, chief marketing officer, Sealy. “We would also like to extend thanks to the participating retailers’, who year-after-year, continue to ensure the success of this program that calls attention to the many Americans who rely on The Salvation Army’s residential facilities for a safe and comfortable place to sleep.”

The program, which kicked off on November 20 and concluded January 11, promised to give $100 for every Stearns & Foster mattress set sold during the busy holiday shopping season toward the purchase of new mattresses for The Salvation Army.

“We are very thankful that new mattresses are headed to The Salvation Army residential shelters,” said Major Ron Busroe, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army. “These mattresses will ensure a better night’s rest for our clients. We are grateful for the Stearns & Foster partnership.” For more information on the Stearns & Foster Gift of Sleep program, please contact Sarah Sinitean at [email protected]
or 312-861-5274.

About Sealy

Sealy owns one of the largest bedding brands in the world, with sales of $1.3 billion in fiscal 2012. The Company manufactures and markets a broad range of mattresses and foundations under the Sealy(R), Sealy Posturepedic(R), Sealy Posturepedic Optimum (TM), Stearns & Foster(R), and Bassett(R) brands. Sealy operates 25 plants in North America, and has the largest market share and highest consumer awareness of any bedding brand on the continent. In the United States, Sealy sells its products to approximately 3,000 customers with more than 7,000 retail outlets. Sealy is also a leading supplier to the hospitality industry. For more information, please visit www.sealy.com.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org. Media Contact: Sarah [email protected]
SOURCE Sealy, Inc.

Salvation Army serves Carnival Triumph Passengers and Families

carnical triumphThe Carnival Triumph cruise ship and its 4,229 passeners have finally made it to port in Mobile, AL after an engine room fire caught four days ago.  Reports indicate the crew and passengers suffered through horrific conditions during what was intended to be a luxurious four day getaway.

The Salvation Army joined passengers’ friends and family at port as they waited for their loved ones.  Salvation Army staff provided food, beverages, and comfort to the crowd.

Major Mark Brown of The Salvation Army’s Coastal Alabama Area Command described the event stating “Each of these families are awaiting the assurance that their loved ones are safe and secure. We can only imagine the anxiety each must be experiencing. We pray that our presence can be a source of hope and calm amidst their concern.”

For updates on The Salvation Army’s disaster services, visit http://www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/.

Miami Dolphins Spread Some Valentine’s Day Love At Salvation Army

miami dolphinsMembers of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization (MDWO) visited the Miami Salvation Army on Thursday to spend time with some of the shelter’s residents.

After members of the MDWO helped put together a warm Valentine’s Day lunch, Dolphins players – including cornerbacks Richard Marshall and Kelcie McCray, tackle Nate Garner, running back Jonas Gray and wide receiver Brian Tyms – made sure that everyone had something to eat, with an assist from TD, the Dolphins mascot.

The 38th Street branch of the Miami Salvation Army, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary serving the Miami-Dade community, houses 216 residents regularly – these are individuals and families that need a boost to get back on their feet, and The Salvation Army is there to lend a helping hand.

On Thursday afternoon, there was what Salvation Army Director of Development Judith Mori called a “full house,” a group of about 100 people, on hand to enjoy a warm meal and some Valentine’s Day fun.

“It’s very special and it’s very important for them to know that society hasn’t forgotten about them, and especially that the Dolphins are here to support,” Mori said. “Having them helps us set the mood, and also it creates the sense of community we always look for in this situation.”

Members of the Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization spent some time in the kitchen, helping put together a special Valentine’s Day lunch. When everything was hot and ready, residents lined up one by one, grabbed a tray and met with the players.

As the cafeteria filled up, Marshall, Garner, Gray and Tyms began to pass out some Valentine’s Day treats, spending one-on-one time with almost everyone.

Garner enjoyed the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of those he interacted with.

“It’s nice to spread love in the community here,” Garner said. “Just come out and try to make people safe on Valentine’s Day, make them have a good day – give them some candy and hopefully a little bit more joy in their life.”

The impact of what the Salvation Army residents receive extends beyond simply a steady meal or a place to stay; this is a safe haven where they are expected to dedicate themselves to whatever may be ailing them. Each man, woman or family is assigned a coach that makes sure they remain motivated to accomplish some sort of goal, whether that’s finishing up their education, securing a steady job or something of that nature.

For one day, the Dolphins were able to be part of this process. With their help, a normal Thursday afternoon turned into a festive one.

If it were an ordinary day, the residents may have been more reserved, less likely, perhaps, to interact with each other while they ate. But Thursday was different – laughter filled the cafeteria, bouncing from wall to wall, cameras flashed, nearly everyone had a smile on his face.

There was a tangible synergy that Mori said is key to raising spirits at the shelter.

“It creates a sense of community because they get together, they share things, they share a picture, they share a smile and they laugh together and therefore they create real friendships,” Mori said. “This is very important because this is a safe environment, so it’s good for them to be friends with people who are also going through the same situations and need to be motivated together.”

By Sean Logan
Source: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Dolphins-Spread-Some-Valentines-Day-Love-At-Salvation-Army/36eaeab6-889c-477e-b724-fda61abbabc0