happening peoplearchive

Elaine Walters

"My first attempt at college was a failure," says Elaine Walters, who fled her unhappy family life in Santa Fe to enter college at UNM before she'd finished high school. "I had no study skills." A year later, she was pregnant. She had a son, Kienan, and two years later a daughter, Nitara, but when their father got violent, she gathered the kids and again ran off to college. After a year at NM State, she transfered to the UO, where she earned a BS in sociology and, in 1992, a master's in public affairs. "I was on welfare when I wrote my thesis about welfare," says Walters, who found part-time work as rural outreach director for Womenspace. "I loved the job. It was focused on ending sexist violence." Later, she did consulting work with child abuse teams in nine counties, then took a job with the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, training nurses to give sexual assault exams. "The common thread is making things easier on survivors," says Walters, who started the Trauma Healing Project 10 years ago. "I became passionate about healing as a path towards ending violence and abuse." Since it gained non-profit status and office space in 2007, THP has trained nearly 3000 people. Its healing arts program provides group and individual support, including yoga, acupuncture, and digital storytelling workshops. Learn more at healingattention.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 6 June 2013

hp archive