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.

The youth services team use their individual and collective passion and commitment for young people, alongside theoretical and experiential knowledge/training to harness the aspirations, potential and skills of local young people. Our focused and intentional work to engage ‘at risk’ and disengaged young people builds and maintains pathways to support and opportunities.

Our skills and expertise activates our strong youth development framework, including within drummond street’s evidence-based, family-centered community and family practice model.

Abdinaser Mussa-Behe, Youth Peer Leader (he/him pronouns)

Abdi supports engagement activities that connect and affirm the identities of (cis) young men. Abdi applies his youth work training in the community he grew up in. An emergent practitioner Abdi brings grass roots community connections and solutions to our assertive engagement of young (cis) men of African and Islamic background growing up on the Carlton public housing estate.

Amira Idris, Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Amira delivers culturally and religiously inclusive physical and recreation activities for young (cis) women. Amira is a passionate advocate for Carlton young people, including those residing on public housing estates. Amira is a graduate of Sport and Fitness studies where she gets to apply her passion and training in a youth work context. At the local level she has created a specific programs that engage local young women to engage. Her success to date provides the pro-social platform and the potential to further this passion for young people, families and social change.

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 15 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 Catterall, Youth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Daisy is currently a creative collaborator for the (in) visible program for queer and trans young people of colour. Daisy is a queer, Maori artist, DJ and zine maker. She is uber passionate about helping young people explore and embody their identities through creative arts and music. She draws up her Visual/Fine Art qualifications and experiences as a media manager and community events coordination in manifesting this passion for young people and their identities.

Farhiya Mohamed, Senior Youth Practitioner (she/her pronouns)

Farhiya is deeply committed to activating young people and communities experiencing marginalisation. To achieve her vision for young people she utilises her qualifications in Anthropology, Sociology and International Development. It is complimented by experience of case management for experiencing acute social marginalisation, political organising and advocacy. Farhiya continues to apply her expertise to enable transformation at the individual and community levels through her role with our Youth Peer Leaders.

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

Jamera Hunter, Youth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

In the Youth Peer Leader role Jamera leverages her own leanings from leadership opportunities for First Nations people to proactively curate activities creating dialogue. Since joining our team she has been involved in planning events and activities that bring together First Nations people and young people on the Carlton Public Housing Estate. Excitingly, her first idea has just secured a Youth Week Grant 2018 for a mural on this Estate.

Mubarek Imam, Youth Peer Leader (he/him pronouns)

Mubarek arrived to Australia less than five years ago. Since then, he has crafted leadership opportunities at the local and state level. Mubarek seeks to translate his experience of community organising young refugees in Egypt to connect marginalised young people with resources and opportunities. Mubarek is focused on achieving this for young people connected to the Richmond and Collingwood public housing estates.

Mukthar Mohammed, Youth Development Practitioner (he/him pronouns)

Mukhtar plays a mentoring role within our team leveraging extensive knowledge and networks to bring resources to young people. Mukthar has extensive experience of supporting individuals, communities and politicians to achieve social change. He uses his strong grass roots relationships to increase public tenants, African and Muslim Australia’s and other groups with limited access and confidence in political processes. Mukthar also leverages knowledge and networks to support community aspirations.

Nyayoud Jice, Youth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Nyayoud has a Bachelor of Criminology and Certificate IV in Community Services. Her theoretical training has been complimented with experiences at CMY as an intern and a Youth Ambassador at City of Melbourne. She has a commitment to engaging disengaged young people and supporting them to make positive contributions to the community.

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

Reem MohamedYouth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Reem is a young resident of the Carlton estate who is mad for sports, games and organising her peers. Reem brings to our team an enthusiasm, knowledge, creativity and unbounded joy for what young people can achieve given the opportunity. Since joining us Reem has already started a youth leadership network that will bring together young men and young women to respond to identified needs for Carlton and working to achieve their vision for young residents.

Ruby Cameron, Peer Leader (they/them pronouns)

Ruby is a queer, non-binary, Aboriginal, musician and youth worker. They’re passionate about empowering young queer and trans people, building community and researching what drum kit to buy next.  They’re currently completing a Bachelor degree in Social Science/Youth Work and work in the Queerspace Youth program.

Work days: Monday, Thursday and Friday

Contact: ruby.cameron@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