Elaine is is the founding Executive Director and lead trainer at the Trauma Healing Project, an organization that provides professional and community training and direct healing support for survivors. Prior to this position she coordinated the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program for the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force in Oregon. For the last 25 years she has been a consultant, trainer and community organizer working to address and eliminate intimate violence. She has designed and facilitated workshops and trainings on many related topics and has provided direct services and support to youth and adults impacted by violence, abuse and other forms of trauma and oppression. She is involved in the effort to expand accessible trauma healing resources and to implement trauma-informed care practices regionally and state-wide.
Abby is Trauma Healing Project’s longest-time employee, joining the organization in 2008 as an intern from the University of Oregon’s Family and Human Services program. Her talent for organization and attention to detail led her to become Trauma Healing Project’s first bookkeeper, and the scope of her work has been expanding ever since, to now include grant-writing, contract oversight, and strategic financial planning. She brings a big-picture vision and a passion for efficiency to her work – friends remember her excitement in first grade when she realized she could save time by spelling her name A-B-B-Y rather than A-B-B-I-E!
Abby has also completed training as a yoga teacher in both Kundalini and Kripalu yoga, as well as training with Bessel van der Kolk, an international expert in body-based healing from trauma. She brings this wealth of experience to the mindfulness classes she teaches in Trauma Healing Project’s Healing Arts Program. Abby credits yoga and meditation with supporting her through challenging passages in her own life for more two decades now, and is honored to create the same “safe container” for others that she has benefitted from in her own practice.
“I love collaboration between staff! I just notice how intentional we are with each other here, how we care for each other and how that makes it easier to be open and to ask for help when we need it. This place has always supported my interest in practical work – all things financial – as well as my interest in yoga and meditation.”
Healing Arts Program Coordinator
Dawn McIlwain first connected with the Trauma Healing Project as an artist, and then as a volunteer Reiki practitioner. In 2014 she joined the THP staff and is now the Healing Arts Program Coordinator. She also helps facilitate the Healing Through Art class. Dawn brings with her a passion for being of service and considers it a privilege to work with others on their healing journeys, whether this means listening, witnessing their healing process, or being able to work directly with participants. Dawn is a Usui & Holy Fire Karuna® Reiki Master Teacher, cross-cultural Shamanic practitioner and multi-media artist. In 2019, she will round out her offerings by becoming certified in Dancing Mindfulness.
“I love being able to work with the participants, who are some of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever met. It is also a joy to work with staff and practitioners who bring their passion and compassion with them every day.”
Training & Consultation Program Coordinator
Emily is the coordinator of the Training Program as well as a trainer in the program. She considers herself a hopeless nerd — ahem, make that, “lifelong student” — and has a passion for making information accessible and relevant to others so they can share the joy of learning.
Emily is also a mental health therapist with an active practice supporting children and families to recover from trauma and foster resilience through loving, attuned relationships. She has worked with organizations including schools and early childhood intervention programs to better understand and support the needs of children and families who have experienced trauma, adversity, and toxic stress. She is also the producer and director of a documentary film about the rights of incarcerated youth and the intersections between trauma, mental health, and juvenile incarceration.
Emily completed her 200-hour training as a yoga teacher in 2005, and completed training in yoga therapy with Sarajoy Marsh of the DAYA Foundation in 2018. As a yoga teacher, she brings together understanding of interpersonal neurobiology with traditional approaches to the integrated healing of mind, body, and spirit, and supports students to access their own deep sources of resilience.
“I love being with people the moment that they learn something new about trauma or about healing — when their eyes light up and you can see their curiosity and their compassion switch on!”
Jill joined the Trauma Healing Project team in 2016 as the Administrative Coordinator. Her work consists of supporting all the departments in their administrative needs, exploring her creative side in the creation of a biweekly newsletter, making community information available and generally trying to help others’ lives easier with the behind-the-scenes tasks. As an incurable introvert, she thrives in the day-to-day background work that is necessary in a busy non-profit.
She comes to the THP with a BA in Spanish, a MA in Contemporary Hispanic Studies and minor in Food in Culture and Social Justice. She spent around eight years working in the field of English as a Second Language, teaching beginning English and helping with class registration administration. During those years, traveling to Spanish speaking countries such as Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Spain only reinforced the idea that no matter what language we speak, we all have value as human beings. For that reason, she has an unusual obsession with trying to remember people’s names. As a native Oregonian, she loves the outdoors and explores the Northwest hiking trails often and has climbed the South Sister twice.
“I’m not sure if Hippocrates really said this but walking truly is a man’s best medicine, along with good food, great friends and fresh air. It’s my goal to see all our participants leave here feeling like they truly matter.”