At the age of 18, Thomas walked up to an unmanned booth with pamphlets on a table about preteen kids being sold for sex. In shock, he wondered “How can this could be okay?” He looked up the organization behind the pamphlets and his journey began by donating to Rescue Freedom International.
When Thomas and his wife moved to Florida in 2015, they learned that Florida was number 3 in the country for reported cases. He felt the need to do more. He spoke to a leader at Rescue Freedom who encouraged him to raise awareness. After hosting two successful events and learning about the need for more education and safe housing for survivors, Thomas made the decision to start Restoring Oaks. He has worked at Constant Contact since 2011 where he has learned much about marketing for small businesses and nonprofits. He also just finished his bachelor’s in Psychology at Liberty University
Dr. elisa niles-thorne
Elisa A. Niles, PhD., LMHC-S, NCC, CCTP, CCMHC RPT-S,
Current Positions: Core Faculty at Hodges University in the CMHC Program
Licenses/Certifications: LMHC, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Prepare Enrich Facilitator, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Board Certified Counselor, Board Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, trained in Traumatic Incident Reduction
Specialty Focus: Children, Adolescents and Adults, Trauma, Christian Counseling
Elisa Niles is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida. She is also a Board Certified Counselor and a qualified supervisor for mental health interns and marriage and family therapist interns. Elisa is a 2016 recipient of the National Board of Certified Counselor- Minority Doctoral Fellowship Program. She completed her education at the University of the Virgin Islands 2002, 2005 and Argosy University in 2009. She completed her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Walden University in 2019. Her dissertation examined the Impact of Trauma on Reoccurring Homelessness in the U. S. Virgin Islands.
Elisa served as the membership chair of Chi Sigma Iota-Omega Zeta Chapter, community lay director for the Suncoast Emmaus Community, member- at- large for the Florida Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. She also served on the following Board of Directors: Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, Chair of the Continuing Education Committee for the Florida Association for Play Therapy, and Co-Chair for the Florida Counseling Association Convention Committee. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Restoring Oaks, Inc.
She has presented at local, state, and national conferences. She now a published contributing author in the textbook: Fazio-Griffith, L. J., & Marino, R. (Eds.). (2021). Techniques and Interventions for Play Therapy and Clinical Supervision. IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-7998-4628-4
She is Owner and Founder of SoundMind Counseling and Consulting Services, LLC.
Elisa was born in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, but has also lived in Jamaica and Antigua. She enjoys singing, dancing, traveling, going to the beach, and trying new foods.
Board Member/survivor advocate
I joined Restoring Oaks in January of 2022 and immediately knew after the first board meeting that I needed to represent them as a survivor. In 2011 I was deeply involved in drug addiction and got involved with an escort service where I was not only trafficked but badly abused until I was able to escape. Since then I have been able to achieve getting my associate degree in criminal Justice where I learned more about sex and human trafficking and how passionate I truly am about fighting against it as well as helping support fellow survivors!
I also attend and advocate for a recovery program called celebrate recovery which helped me in my recovery journey and I believe it can be of great assistance to others also. With this program I go into the local rehab at charlotte behavioral a couple Sundays a month and share my testimony in hopes to help others on their journey! As of this month I will have 5 years of active recovery from drug addiction!
I also am a substitute teacher for Charlotte County and a mother of an almost 3 year old little girl. With this I have become even more passionate about educating others and helping prevent our children from experiencing trafficking as well! My goal is to not only start a support group for survivors, but to also eventually get into our schools especially our middle and high schools and do education courses for the students as well as to youth groups in local churches.
Board Member/Licensed Counselor
Danielle M. Bishop, MS, LMHC-S, RPT and trained SMART Recovery facilitator
Danielle is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist and a Qualified supervisor in the state of Florida. She currently holds a team lead and licensed clinician in the elementary school setting in Sarasota County. Additionally, she is a current board member of Restoring Oaks.
Before moving to Florida in 2013, Danielle worked in partial care settings and as a crisis counselor in response to Hurricane Sandy. She has furthered her experience with work in a hospital setting with adults, private practice with all ages and the school system with elementary aged children. She strives to empower those she gets the privilege to work with to overcome personal obstacles to improve their overall well-being. This is done by creating a safe and nurturing atmosphere in which individuals can be supported in their efforts to change and grow.
I have been passionately working with both the victims and the survivors of Human Trafficking for over 5 years. My experience started on the Las Vegas Strip, working with the Metro Police Department, meeting the victims on the street and providing resources while they were working.
I answered the National Rape Crisis Hotline and met the victims at the hospital as their advocate for 2 years. I am currently volunteering with Selah Freedom as a survivor mentor. I also go into the Manatee County Jail every other week to teach the ladies about self esteem and provide other resources. I am very passionate about educating the community and working with Restoring Oaks in order to accomplish their mission.