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
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 grassroots community connections and solutions to our assertive engagement of young (cis) men of African and Islamic background growing up on the Carlton and North Melbourne public housing estates. He supports the Monday Mayhem, Underground Men and Friday Night Jam programs.

Work days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Contact: Abdinasir.MussaBehe@ds.org.au 

Akolda Bil, Youth Peer Leader (he/him pronouns)

Akolda resettled in Newcastle as a Refugee from South Sudan in 2003. He moved To Naarm/Melbourne in 2011 where he attended Fitzroy High and played basketball for the Collingwood All Stars. Akolda recently finished his Diploma in Community Services and brings a passion for music, art and connecting with young people through shared experiences to his work. Akolda takes a leading role at our Collingwood Youth Drop-In and RYMS programs.

Work Days: Wednesday and Thursday

Contact: akolda.bil@ds.org.au

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

An experienced community organiser and program planner, Anyaak has had paid and volunteer leadership roles in the community. Anyaak’s practical experiences are complimented by studies in criminology and psychology. This sits alongside an innate passion for social equality and engaging young people in innovative programs. Delivering important cultural insights and cross-cultural wisdom to his peers within our and other organisations, Anyaak is a valuable contributor to the youth sector. In his role at the drum, Anyaak provides individual support to young people across the City of Melbourne.

Work days: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Contact: 0488 787 202 or Anyaak.Abiel@ds.org.au

Bexx Djentuh-Davis, Senior Youth Development Practitioner (she/her pronouns)

Bexx is a Ghanian/Maori (Tainui, Ngati Maniapoto) woman from Aotearoa. Over 6 plus years, Bexx has curated and supported events around her community. Co-founding ALTERITY collective and a director for LISTEN org. Bexx has prioritised QTPOC communities through engaging with topics of inclusion, accessibility and art practices. Through events such as ‘Strength in Visions’ with Fringe festival, mentorship with the creation of ‘Mana’ for Darebin-feast and her work at the drum, Bexx now supports young people to connect with their people and wider community resources.

Work days: Wednesday and Fridays

Contact: Bexx.DjentuhDavis@ds.org.au

Bobuq Sayed, Youth Development Practitioner (they/them pronouns)

Bobuq Sayed is non-binary writer, editor, multidisciplinary artist and performer of the Afghan diaspora. They are an advocate for queer, gender diverse, Muslim and young people of colour.

Coming from a literary, social sciences and refugee advocacy background, their work involves building community for young QTPOC and international students through workshops, panels, excursions and other events, with the aim of amplifying historically silenced voices. In collaboration with Minus 18, they are also spearheading an educational resource called OMG I’M QTPOC.

Work days: Tuesday to Friday

Contact: 9070 6836 or 04 185 67728, Bobuq.sayed@ds.org.au

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

Chantelle brings a true bottom-up approach to leadership by drawing from the learning’s of 15+ years of working alongside young people experiencing marginalization due to structural barriers.  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 General 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 

Claire Bostock, Youth Peer Leader (they/them and she/her pronouns)

Claire Bostock is a queer, gender diverse person of colour passionate about dismantling oppressive social systems and empowering the voices of young queer people of colour. Through their previous volunteering, they strive to ensure that young queer people of colour are pushed to the front. In this role, they hope to empower young people to create lasting social change.

Work days: Wednesday and Friday
Contact: Claire.Bostock@ds.org.au

Fardowsa Nur, Youth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Fardowsa is a supportive, strong young women who likes to work with young people from her local community. She has been active in her local community for 8 years and is currently also a Youth Ambassador with Yarra Youth Services. Fardowsa wants to make a positive difference in the lives of young people, supporting them to engage in education and pursue their dreams. She believes that young people need to use their voice and lived-experiences to help their peers and communities. Fardowsa leads Richmond Girls Club and supports Richmond Youth-Drop In and Collingwood Youth Drop-In programs.

Work days: Tuesdays and alternate Mondays and Wednesdays
Contact: Fardowsa.Nur@ds.org.au

Idil Ali, Senior Youth Development Practitioner (she/her pronouns)

A passionate advocate for the local African and Muslim community, Idil seeks to guarantee that our work supports community’s self direction and autonomy. Idil is committed to ensuring that young people have access to leadership and participation opportunities, that organisations deliver these and that they provide inclusive and affirmative pathways.

Dedicated to building solidarity across communities marginalised by imposed social categories, Idil is making a sustained difference to our community. She supports the VoiceFest youth collective to plan, deliver and evaluate an annual music and arts festival. Idil also facilitates local young men’s cooking program and leadership program.

Work days: Monday to Friday

Contact: 0419 286 063, Idil.Ali@ds.org.au

Jemma Mead, Acting General Manager of Youth and Community (she/her pronouns)

Jemma will be supporting the Youth and Community Team until Chantelle returns in 2019. Jemma brings 20+ years of working alongside children, young people, families and communities towards improved health and wellbeing. She is passionate about all things creative and cultural, young people, LGBTIQA+ communities, social justice and addressing marginalization on personal, community and structural levels.

As the General Manager, Jemma 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: 0400 505 324 or jemma.mead@ds.org.au

Machehi Komba, Senior Youth Development Practitioner (she/her pronouns)

Machehi seeks to draw on her multidisciplinary skills, including creative industries, governance, community services and lived experience to be a change maker in the community and health promotion sectors. Using narratives as her foundation, Machehi seeks to positively influence individuals, social and community wellbeing. Machehi’s sector experience includes using creativity modalities like music to educate, advocate and celebrate the resilience of people whilst also centering their involvement in the processes associated with this.

Work days: Monday to Thursday

Contact: Machehi.Koomba@ds.org.au

Mohana Mahadevan, Manager of Youth and Communities (she/her pronouns)

Mohana will be supporting the Youth and Community Team for period of 8 months as a maternity cover until Chantelle returns. She is Singaporean and of Sri Lankan Tamil decent and therefore is passionate about culture, connectedness and belonging.

Mohana brings experience working collaboratively with children, young people and families. Mohana is passionate about working from a grassroots level as the best learnings and teachings comes from community. Mohana is always looking for ways to network and seek partnerships to create opportunities for engage our vulnerable and marginalised communities.

Work days: Monday to Friday

Contact: mohana.mahadevan@ds.org.au

Reem Mohamed, 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.

Work days: Wednesday and Friday

Contact: Reem.Mohamed@ds.org.au

Ruby Cameron, Youth Development Practitioner (they/them pronouns)

Ruby is a Queer/Trans and Bundjalung person who is passionate about community building, activism and excel spreadsheets.  Their work is focused on empowering young people of Queer and Trans lived experiences and challenging the structural and systemic frameworks of oppression through decolonising practices. They hold a bachelor degree in Social Science and have worked in mental health, alcohol and other drug support services. Ruby is the lead worker of the Queerspace Youth program.

Work days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Contact: ruby.cameron@ds.org.au

Sabrina Adem, Youth Peer Leader (she/her pronouns)

Work days: Wednesday and Friday

Contact: Sabrina.Adem@ds.org.au

Sandra Tay, Senior Youth Development Practitioner (she/her pronouns)

Sandra is a Chinese-Singaporean settler in Birraranga/Melbourne. She is a Master of Public Policy Graduate with five years of experience working with diverse children and young people at the program as well as at the strategic and policy development levels. She is a believer in the power of community-led change, committed to empowering young people and marginalised communities to participate in and lead socio-political processes that affect them. Sandra leads City of Yarra team.

Work days: Monday to Thursday

Contact: Sandra.Tay@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 counselling 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)

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. Joining our youth peer leader team in 2013, Wafa’s involvement has been pivotal to the success of the Underground Women program. Seeking to engage young women of African and Muslim background, Underground Women is a powerful reminder of what is possible in community. Wafa also leads the Tuesday Cook Up program and supports The Venny program.

Work days: Tuesday to Friday

Contact: wafa.musa@ds.org.au

Yasmin Rose, Youth Peer Leader (she/her and they/them pronouns)

Yasmin-Rose is a young QTPoC born and raised in Birraranga/Melbourne. She works on the (in)visible project as well as the youth program in Collingwood. Yasmin’s goal for her time with the drum is to bridge gaps with young people and their access to healthcare, resources and community support through programs/events. With a background in nursing/care work, Yasmin-Rose seeks to create spaces/events that connect people from community in order to strengthen and fulfil them holistically.

Work days: Wednesday (Carlton), Thursday (Collingwood) and Friday (Carlton).
Contact: yasmin.rose@ds.org.au