WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A Gainesville woman helping others overcome addiction and life on the streets has a top honor from the FBI tonight.
She traveled to Washington this week and shares her message of hope, healing and faith.
It’s an honor only 56 people receive each year.
“it was surreal. It was exciting," said Jennifer Beagle Smith.
She's taking the FBI Director’s Community Leadership award home, after turning a painful life into one of purpose.
“I was smoking a thousand dollars worth of crack a day. I was trafficked. I had pimps that would beat me up on a daily basis," said Smith.
After years on the streets, Beagle Smith had an intervention of faith...
“and I just had an encounter with Jesus Christ," explained Smith.
Once she saw transformation, she had a calling - to lift up other women.
“I just started changing my life. One day at a time, sometimes one breath at a time," said Smith.
Smith led several ministries and helped hundreds of women in the Gainesville area. Now the FBI recognizes her work with House of Hope.
“When I was on the streets I was on the North Central Florida most wanted list and I had a reward for my capture, so to work with law enforcement today is extraordinary. It is nothing short of a miracle," said Smith.
Smith is most grateful this healing process helped her adopt two children and reconnect with her son, Christopher. All three kids joined her at Friday’s ceremony.
“It’s been pretty incredible. I got a little emotional, I’m not going to lie," said her son, Christopher Dye.
“It’s the height of my life. For them to see for someone who has come from such a low to such an honorable place in the community - it’s priceless," said Smith.
She wants women to know that no matter what they’ve gone through, there’s always a chance for a fresh start.
“Never give up on yourself never give up believing because you can come out of that lifestyle and you can achieve great things in the process," said Smith.