Elizabeth Smart speaks about self-worth at On River Time benefit

Elizabeth Smart speaks in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The organization is called “On River Time” and their mission each year is take a group of children age 12-17 on a fly fishing trip to Snake River in Idaho. But there is much more behind that simple act than meets the eye.

President Steven Davis is an avid fly fisherman, but sees it as his own type of therapy.

“I really worked out a lot of my issues on the river as a survivor of abuse,” says Davis.

Taking that concept, he created On River Time, hoping to share those meditative moments. The most important factor, he says, is the silence.

“Most of the time, the reconciliation, the feelings and the “it wasn’t your fault” doesn’t come very easily. And doesn’t come quickly. But it does come in silence,” said Davis.

Feelings Elizabeth Smart wanted to reiterate at the Casting Hope benefit. She agrees therapy is anywhere you find it.

“It’s not always just the image that we have in our mind that, you know, you go in and sit on a leather settee and you speak with a psychiatrist. But I do think there are other ways as well and why wouldn’t being in nature and having these special experiences out on the river, why wouldn’t that be part of it?” says Smart.

Smart says during her nine months in captivity, her faith and her family were her hope. Davis says the children he sees don’t have a lot of hope. He enjoys taking them to the river and seeing them each change over time.

“Without a question, every one of them comes up in tears and says I didn’t want to be here but I don’t want to leave,” says Davis.

Smart’s message to those children is one of love and endurance.

“I would want them to know that no matter how dark the world may seem, no matter how hopeless it may seem, to never give up because it is so worth living. It is so worth believing in happiness even if you don’t feel it right now, just believe in it,” says Smart.

Davis says thanks to organizations like his, it’s starting a conversation about abuse. He hopes to continue making an impact and having more people join in that conversation.

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