Our people

Our team is multi-disciplinary with a range of skills and training, lived experience and passion for young people and social justice. It also reflects our commitment to affirmative employment. We believe we have a responsibility to build the communities we work within by creating real and meaningful pathways into employment. We also know that by ensuring our workforce is reflective of the communities we work with, their unique and vital knowledge is remains central through a process of co-design. In other words, it ensures our programs are by and for young people and diverse communities.


Anoushka Wootton, Coordinator of Youth & Communities (she/her pronouns)

Anoushka is committed to social inclusion, equality and creating spaces and platforms for all voices to be heard. Anouhska is currently undertaking a Masters of Social Work which builds on a Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences and a Professional Certificate in Adolescent Counselling. Anoushka utilises this theoretical training with a passionate for promoting mental health and wellbeing for individuals, communities and their families. As the Coordinator of our youth team, Anoushka provides vital leadership and promotion of best practice and embedding youth participation at the heart of our work. Anoushka also has experience as a youth and family focused counsellor with specific knowledge and interest of queer and gender diverse identities, adolescence and mental health.

Work days: Monday to Friday

Contact: 0400 505 324 or anoushka.wootton@ds.org.au


Anyaak Abiel, Youth & Family Practitioner (he/him pronouns)

An experienced community organiser and program planner, Anyaak has had paid and volunteer roles in the community. Anyaak’s practical experiences are complimented by studies in Justice which sits alongside an innate passion for social equality and engaging young people in innovative programs. Anyaak is an active leader in our community, he is involved with SAYAG, Shout Out and the African Student Association at RMIT to list a few. Delivering important cultural insights and cross-cultural wisdom to his peers, Anyaak is a valuable contributor to the youth sector.

Anyaak is involved in our All Guy’z program at 480 Lygon Street, the Carlton Youth Advisory and Friday Night Jam. He also provides individual support to young people.

Work days: Monday to Friday

Contact: 0488 787 202 or anyaak.abiel@ds.org.au


Bobuq Sayed, Youth Peer Leader (they/them pronouns)

Bobuq queer writer, editor, agitator, and multi-disciplinary artist of the Afghan diaspora. Their passion includes storytelling, reading queer literature and community building.


Chantelle Higgs, Manager of Youth and Community (she/her pronouns)

Chantelle brings a true bottom-up approach to leadership by drawing on the learning’s from working alongside young people experiencing marginalization for over 10 years. She utilises her experience co-developing, delivering, and coordinating innovative social change activities and campaigns to lead the work of the youth and communities team. Chantelle follows an innate curiosity for the creative and sophisticated ways young people negotiate social differences.

As the Manager, Chantelle is responsible for ensuring that the work done by the drum and the wider community team assertively engages our most vulnerable members and that once they are engaged our services are affirmative. She also seeks out and builds partnerships which create more opportunities for young people and families.

Work days: Monday to Friday

Contact: 9020 4663 or 0488 559 007 or chantelle.higgs@ds.org.au


Daisy Catteral, Youth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Daisy is a queer Maori artist, DJ and zine maker. She is super passionate about helping people explore and embody their identities through art and music.


Idil Ali, Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

A passionate advocate for the local African and Muslim community, Idil seeks to ensure others have the opportunities she had growing up in Carlton. An undergraduate student bringing ‘lived experience’ to our team, Idil crystallised her passion and commitment to ensuring; young people have access to leadership and participation opportunities; that organisations deliver these; and they provide inclusive and affirmative pathways. Committed to leading the development of solidarity across communities marginalised by imposed social categories, Idil is making a sustained difference to our community.

Idil heads up our VoiceFest youth committee-collective, is proactively engaging all local young women to facilitate their participation in the arts and delivers the homework club on a Monday.

Work days: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and Friday

Contact: Idil.Ali@ds.org.au


Ripley Kavara, Youth Practitioner (they/them pronouns)

Ripley is a passionate advocate for queer, gender diverse and young people of colour. They believe in the power of creativity to bring young people together and to build community. With a background in community arts projects, focused on visual arts and music they are interested in the therapeutic aspects of art for young people and how this can be incorporated into a public health framework. They are a co-founder of Alterity Collective a not- for profit organisation that supports queer people of colour in Melbourne. Ripley holds Fine Arts, and Cultural development qualifications and loves food, music and going to the beach.

Ripley is currently involved in  (In)visible.

Work days: Wednesday-Friday

Contact: 0488 787 171 or ripley.kavara@ds.org.au


Rory Blundell, Youth Peer Leader (he/him pronouns)

Driven by the desire for equity and advocacy of young people of all backgrounds, Rory is dedicated to creating positive social change. Passionate about increasing awareness and inclusion of LGBTI+ young people, Rory is a part of Minus 18 and has been involved with various taskforces and committees delivering workshops, creating resources and running events aimed at empowering LGBTI+ youth. Rory believes in the value of the lived experiences of others and is committed to putting young people at the forefront of issues that most affect them. Rory is also passionate about chocolate biscuits and snacks at the workplace.

Rory is one of our 2016/17 youth peer leader who is undertaking consultation with young people about their hopes and aspirations. He is also involved in our VoiceFest program.

Work days: Monday, Thursday and Friday’s

Contact: rory.blundell@ds.org.au


Sarah Nega, Family and Community Development Practitioner (she/her pronouns)

Pivotal to our engagement and therapeutic relationships with the local African Australian population, Sarah has a unique capacity to create change. Leveraging on a community development qualification and supreme communication skills, Sarah is able to reach and engage families and individuals that other services struggle to engage, or worse have failed. Sarah builds trusting relationships in order to undertake fearless advocacy, case management, and incidental counseling to achieve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable and marginalized women, children and elders.

Work days: Mondays, Tuesday, Thursday (every second Monday off)

Contact: 0488 515 400 or sarah.nega@ds.org.au


Wafa Musa, Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Joining our youth peer leader team in 2013, Wafa’s involvement has been pivotal to the success of the All Girlz program. Seeking to engage young women of African and Muslim background, the All Girlz program is a powerful reminder of what is possible in community. A recent graduate of Early Childhood Studies, Wafa’s skills are useful in ensuring our programing is family friendly. Wafa’s skill and expertise in child development has given many parents the confidence to trust our service.

Work days: Tuesday and Thursday afternoons

Contact: wafa.musa@ds.org.au