Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart to appear at Davis House Button Ball fundraiser

Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart to appear at Davis House Button Ball fundraiser


Elizabeth Smart, a Utah woman who was kidnapped from her bedroom in 2002 at age 14 and held and abused for nine months by a homeless street preacher and his wife, will share her story and a message of hope at the Davis House Child Advocacy Center Button Ball 2019.

The Button Ball, on Saturday, March 2, at The Factory at Franklin, is the major annual fundraiser for Davis House, an accredited child advocacy center by the National Children’s Alliance, committed to providing a safe environment and community education focused on prevention and early intervention.

A limited number of attendees will have an opportunity to meet Smart at a special pre-event “Hope Patron” gathering at 5:30 p.m. on the evening of the ball.

NewsChannel 5 anchor Rhori Johnston will return as Master of Ceremonies, and Heidi Schwartz will again provide a unique Paint Your Event experience with a memorable interpretive live painting, capturing the evening on canvas. This painting will then be featured in a live auction at the close of the Button Ball.

The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Through her traumatic experience, Smart has become an advocate for change.

“Elizabeth Smart’s incredible story embodies hope for the children facing their own private nightmares,” says Marcus Stamps, executive cirector of Davis House. “Children facing abuse need to know they can count on adults in their community to help them and give them hope. These are our children, and we need to be there for them. Public investment in Davis House is necessary to eliminate child abuse and for us to continue delivering the level of service our community has become accustomed to as we serve these children and their families.”

The evening will start with a cocktail reception and silent auction beginning at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. After dinner and the program featuring Elizabeth Smart, a “Not-So-Silent Auction” will take place to add to the excitement. A live auction and dancing will close out the night.

The ball typically draws well over 350 attendees and promises to be a big event again this year. This black-tie-optional gala raises funds for the services and programs Davis House provides to children facing sexual or severe physical abuse, all of which are provided at no cost.

National statistics indicate 1 in 10 children will be victims of sexual abuse by their 18th birthday. Button Ball emphasizes the Button Jar story, which Davis House utilizes with all child clients and which is used to engage the public in their mission. The children who come to Davis House for the first time feel as if they are the only one. They feel alone. They are scared, sometimes ashamed, and often embarrassed about why they are there, even though it’s not their fault. Each child on their first visit to Davis House picks out a button from the button box. They place their button into the Button Jar, which contains all the buttons from the children who have come before them. On the jar are the words “You Are Not Alone.” This visual reminder immediately lifts their spirits, and lets them know that, indeed, they are not alone.

“Each button represents a child,” Stamps said. “So to those of us at Davis House, a single button is worth everything.”

General ticket prices are $125 per person. Hope Patron tickets are $250 per person, which include entrance to the pre-event gathering as well as general ticket seating. Online ticket registration and sponsorship opportunities are available at Anyone interested in providing silent auction items can contact Tara Tidwell, Director of Marketing & Community Outreach, at 615-790-5900 x 104 or

Davis House served 510 new children last year in its four-county service area of Williamson, Hickman, Lewis and Perry counties. Money raised at this year’s event will fund programs and services which are provided at no cost to the children and their families. For additional information about Davis House Child Advocacy Center and the services provided, please visit

To report known or suspected child abuse, please call the TN Child Abuse Hotline at 877-237-0004.

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