Hour 6,721

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I hope that you will join our community on Thursday, May 8th at 7 PM at Foxboro High School to hear an important message. The committee I have been proud to work with is pleased that our Y is helping to bring Elizabeth Smart to speak to all of us. Tickets are available at the front desk of all 3 of our branches for $20 each.

Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped on June 5, 2002 and reunited with her family on March 12, 2003. In more than 75% of all abductions, children are killed within three hours.

Elizabeth survived 6,720 hours.

What makes her story so captivating is not that she survived against all odds, but what she’s done since hour 6,721. She has worked to make our communities safer for children. Last month, Elizabeth spoke at Boston College about her life since her ordeal. She said, “I’m not sorry that I was kidnapped. I wouldn’t ask for it, but I always think of what I’ve been able to do since then.”

For many of us, we will hear her tell the story we came to know by watching and waiting with the news or by reading her book. She will inspire us and we will undoubtedly admire her for her bravery. We might even be inclined to believe that her story is not something we have to confront. That’s normal – no one wants to think about this happening to themselves, their sisters, their best friends, or their children. The reality is that our cause is our community, and in our community lives children like Elizabeth.

For some of us, though, we will hear her tell our own story. She will speak directly to us, and by standing in front of us to tell her story, alive, she will say, “We survived. We survived it all.”

The story of Elizabeth Smart is not just about how she lived through a nightmare; hers is the story of confronting the greatest challenge of your life and clinging to hope that you will get through. Her story is the truth that we are not alone and that we are worthy of our own survival story. Her story is for us as a community. When she speaks to us, she will not only remind us of how we overcome our personal challenges, but that when we experience some great adversity, it will be our inherent worth that will define us. She will tell us her great survival story and let us also remember in the midst of our suffering that we too, are worthy of survival.

As a staff community, our responsibility is to the Elizabeth Smarts. Because of her hour 6,721, we are now better able to protect children.

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