Boca Raton, FL – The trauma and horror of being a human trafficking victim are difficult to relay, even to those who want to help. Only a person who has endured, survived and even triumphed, following such an ordeal, can truly understand. To help others grasp the enormity of what it is like to be a victim – and then a survivor – Elizabeth Smart shared her experience, as the keynote speaker of this week’s 7th Annual Angel Moms Brunch and Benefit.

The event was hosted by Place of Hope’s Angel Moms who provide a network of comprehensive care for those who are in need, like Smart once was. At the Angel Moms Brunch and Benefit, themed Southern Charm, the audience was filled with women who volunteer to help improve the lives of foster children, youth who have aged out of state care, and human trafficking survivors.

“When victims are released or rescued from their captors, their experiences are beyond words, more than unvictimized people may be able to grasp,” said Place of Hope Founding CEO Charles L. Bender III. “But there are always stories of hope among these horrific ordeals. Like Elizabeth, many of the people Place of Hope help go on to live fulfilling, productive lives. We are honored and excited to have her as a keynote speaker and an example of what hope and transformation can do.”

Smart has since become a noted activist and author, launching the Elizabeth Smart Foundation in 2011 and authoring My Story in 2013. Her successful career allows her to advocate for abduction and kidnapping victims.

“It is an honor to be here with organizations like Place of Hope that do so much to give hope to the world,” said Elizabeth Smart. “Thank you to Place of Hope for all of their work. We all need someone in our lives to make a difference.”

Smart shared the harrowing details of her kidnapping story and the importance of faith in her life. Now, as an advocate for other kidnapping victims, Smart says, “I have so much respect for the non-profits that take on this kind of work. There is so much work to be done.”

With campuses in Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie and Boca Raton, Place of Hope is the largest faith-based, state-licensed children’s organization that provides family-style foster care (emergency and long-term); family outreach and intervention; maternity care; safety for domestic minor sexually trafficked victims; transitional housing and support services; adoption and foster care recruitment and support; hope and healing opportunities for children and families who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect. This year, the organization celebrates twenty years as a non-profit.

Sponsors of the 7th Annual Angel Moms Brunch and Benefit include Presenting Individual Sponsor, Dr. Heidi Schaeffer, Presenting Family Sponsor, Jeannine and Leland Morris; Building Hope Leadership Society Partners: Boca West Children’s Foundation, CMAA, Mary and Bill Donnell, Michelle and Michael Hagerty, Scott and Katharine Moss, Gary Peters Family Foundation, Tiffany and Mark Berch, The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, Jennifer Houston and John Hurley, Jim Moran Foundation, Libra Foundation, Remillard Family Foundation, The Robert DeVries Family/Kellogg Foundation, The Smith Brothers Family Foundation, Stoops Family Foundation, Drs. Leighan and David Rinker and the Warren Family. Impact Sponsors: Susan and Peter Brockway, Jeannette DeOrchis, The Coulombe Family Foundation and Amy Kazma. Corporate and Family Sponsors: Holly Boswell, The Moss Family and Moss Construction, 4 Girls Foundation, The Sadusky Family, Becky and Steve Scott, Janet and Tom Kuzio, NCCI, Leighan and David Rinker Family, Craig and Nikki Stelzer and the Woods Family Foundation. Defender Sponsors: Debbie Bomford, The Boroian Family,Karen Rogers, Edith Stein, Renee Feder and Eileen Needleman. Angel Sponsors: Kathy Adkins, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Florida Coast Equipment, Lisa Wennick. The keynote speaker has been generously provided by Arthur and Shelly Adler and Chuck and Marjorie Isroff.

2021 Co-Chair Committee: Cherie Arscott, Bonnie Boroian, Susan Brockway, Mary Donnell, Renee Feder, Kelly Fleming, Amy Kazma, Janet Kuzio, Jeannine Morris, Katharine Moss, and Wendy Sadusky.