Our Ambassadors

Our Ambassadors

Children’s Rights Queensland has a team of Ambassadors that advocate and generate awareness of children’s rights across the state. Discover more below.

Lead Ambassador

Luke Twyford

Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC)​

Luke Twyford is the Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC). Luke is the Lead Ambassador for Children’s Rights Queensland and has held this role since 2022.

Community Ambassadors

Children’s Rights Queensland has appointed a range of Community Ambassadors across the state, who work to promote greater awareness of children’s rights and promote our initiatives in their communities. Learn more about the Ambassadors below:

Alexandra Taylor

South East Queensland: Sunshine Coast

Based on the Sunshine Coast, originally born in the UK, I am sole Director of a Disability company which I founded in 2017 after many years of working across all areas of the Disability Industry. I am very passionate about supporting people to achieve their goals. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Needs & Inclusion studies. My team of 40 employees all work together to move forward and grow – positively, through an unparalleled quality of care. I believe it is so important to advocate for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves, especially children which I feel strongly about.

Allison Paterson

South East Queensland: Sunshine Coast

Allison lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast where walking, reading, writing and spending time with her family are favourite pursuits. As a child she lived on a farm and loved working in the shearing shed with her family. She grew up to be a teacher and children’s author, and loves telling stories. 

Allison believes that the role of teachers is to not only ensure the education of the children in their care but to also advocate for right of children to be healthy, happy and safe. She considers opportunities to continue to advocate for the rights of children as occasions to make a difference in the life of a child.

Angela Bear

South East Queensland: Lockyer Valley

I’m loving life out here in the Lockyer Valley with my animals, growing vegetables and working in my community. My current role is as Carer Assessor. I also do Carer Recruitment and community events. I have loved being in the role of Children’s Rights Ambassador since 2022 and am passionate about advocating for children and their rights. I grew up in South Africa where my passion for children’s rights began and went on to read my degree in social work and have worked across child protection in the United Kingdom and Australia since 2003.

Aunty Sharron mirii Bell

South East Queensland: Moreton Bay

Sharron mirii Bell is a proud Gamilaraay Wiradyuri woman, living on Yarun – Bribie Island and founder of Indigenous Insights, which focuses on Cultural Education and Well-being for children, families and educators. Sharron has over 34 years’ experience within early childhood and primary sectors and believes Children are the heart of our community. As a singer-songwriter, Sharron expresses her love for Children, Culture and Mother Earth through her music and has featured on ABC’s Playschool. In 2023, Sharron was honoured to create the song, ‘I Am Me’ for Children’s Rights QLD. 

Belinda Raposo

Gold Coast

I am an Early Childhood Educator, writer, creative artist and ukulele geek. Children’s early and emerging literacy is a passion of mine, and I embed a strong creative arts-based approach in my work with children. I advocate for and support a holistic approach to education, based on equality, equity and respect for all. I am a passionate advocate for the rights of the child and believe Australia has the potential to be a strong leader in Children’s Rights. I believe a united front where the wellbeing of children is concerned, and a bipartisan approach to advocacy in Early Years is crucial.


Bianca Renting

South East Queensland: Brisbane

My name is Bianca, I am the project designer and director of Qmech Industries design study teach tm. We create and design personalized learning programs for art music and study support for children in the Greater Springfield area. For 13 years, I’ve been deeply involved in the Greater Springfield Community, dedicating 8 years as a volunteer with the Westside Community Care Network. My passion for working with families in need is at the core of my community involvement. Since 2013, I’ve led complimentary art and music workshops, tailored for local homeschool and distance education families, as well as those facing financial challenges. I’ve also hosted free music and art tuition, providing crucial guidance to young families. My commitment extends to showcasing the talents of children and young families at carefully orchestrated concerts, collaborating with local community groups and participating in festivals. As a member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, I balance my community engagement with academic pursuits—a current student at the University of Southern Queensland, pursuing a Bachelor of Human Services with a major in Counselling.

Crystal Lynne

Central Queensland

My name is Crystal and I am an Early Childhood Educator who has worked in the sector for 23 years. I strongly believe in advocating for children’s rights and supporting them to become capable and involved citizens on the community who deserve to be protected from harm. I also have a passion for supporting my community to learn about supporting children and promoting child’s rights.

Dannika Patterson

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Dannika Patterson is a children’s author, workshop presenter & copywriter with degrees in Psychology and Journalism. Her words & workshops educate, empower and inspire children, in a gentle, joyful way.
Dannika has written numerous picture books, including Jacaranda Magic, Scribbly Gum Secrets, Heavy and Hedgehog the Wonder Dog, plus a sprinkling of graphic novels and a collection of poetry.

Things Dannika can’t get enough of include adventures with her family, coffee, dogs, the ocean and conversations with kids – they say the most inspiring, important and true things!

Donna Wynn

South East Queensland: Ipswich

My career in early childhood spans more than 25 years in various service modes, including occasional care, kindergarten, long daycare and school-age care. I have a particular passion for teaching children aged 0-5 years, where play is the underpinning element for learning. In 2019 I was the recipient of the Queenslander of the Year Award for advocacy of learning through play and enhancement of early literacy development. I continue to advocate for children’s rights particularly in the Ipswich community where i have lived for more than 35 years.

Emma Murphy

South East Queensland: Brisbane

I’ve been working in the early childhood sector since 2008, and every day has been a joy. My passion lies in creating the best outcomes for all children, advocating for them, and being their voice. I strive to live each day to its fullest and encourage those around me to do the same.

It’s always been my dream to have my own early childhood centre, and I’m excited to share that this dream has finally come true this year.

Georgina Barton

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Georgina acknowledges the Quandamooka people and Country where she lives. Georgina worked in schools for over 20 years including as an acting principal, literacy intervention and arts teacher. She is now a Professor of literacy, the arts and wellbeing at the University of Southern Queensland. She regularly researches and works with teachers and students in schools. Her aim is to support teachers’ work in literacy through arts-based and positive education. She has recently completed an MBA in arts innovation and is an expert on the global Charter for Compassion.

Gloria Sherlock

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Gloria is a mother of three boys and grew up in rural Queensland on her parent’s farm with two sisters who have children of similar ages to her boys. She has served for 10 years as Chair of Playgroup Queensland Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation that connects children, families and communities.

Gloria is passionate about promoting every child’s right to play. She has also served as Director and Vice Chair for the Playgroup Australia Board and is current Director of Council of the Ageing. Gloria feels it is such a privilege to serve organisations that support children and communities.

Janet Souter

Livingston Shire

Holding a Master of Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood and Diploma in Early Childhood, Janet has worked as an Educator, Director, Consultant, Lecturer, Area Manager, Principal of an International School of the Arts, Education Manager and Pedagogical Researcher and Editor in early childhood education over the past 30 years in Australia, Vietnam and Canada. She currently works as an academic in early childhood education at Victoria University working with pre-service teachers.

Jessica Christensen

South East Queensland: Brisbane

I have resided in the Ipswich region for the last 8 years and have been educating children in the early years for the last 5. Regardless of age, everyone has a voice and I believe as an early years teacher it is a large responsibility to advocate for every child’s rights. I love music in all aspects and enjoy being able to play 7 instruments.

Kaitlin Bender

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Kaitlin is a long-standing Early childhood educator, with an extensive pedagogy for the early years and a deep passion for children, neuroscience, early intervention and their development as whole picture. She currently works in a child and family support hub in the Redlands supporting families and their children from birth to 8 years.

Karlyn Sheppard

Gold Coast

Living in Southeast QLD, I have worked in the Outside School Hours Care industry for over 20 years. Supporting children to succeed and be the best version of themselves is my passion. Ensuring that children feel safe, valued, supported and listened to is what drives me to get out of bed and do the work that I do, every single day.  
I live by the Maya Angelou quote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Karen Tyrell

South East Queensland: Logan City

Karen is an award-winning child-empowerment author and speaker, living in Logan where she adores hiking, reading, writing and spending time with her family. She enjoys creating empowering books, reader’s theatre and writing workshops for children with costumes and FUN. Karen is passionate about her role as a bully prevention and mental health advocate, empowering children to live strong. Karen welcomes her role to advocate for the rights of children to be healthy, happy and safe. Karen often appears in schools wearing her flaming red superhero costume with blue feathers.

Louise Mead

South East Queensland: Brisbane

I graduated as an early childhood teacher in 2013 and have been working in the early childhood sector for 11 years. My roles include teacher, director, educational leader and service support manager. I work closely with key stakeholders to promote the importance of early childhood education in our community. I enjoy supporting other professionals with curriculum development and new initiatives. I believe that every child has a right to quality early education and interactions that promote their wellbeing. In my personal time, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful family, including my 2 sons.


Majella Ritchie

South East Queensland: Brisbane

My name is Majella Ritchie and I am so proud to advocate for children’s rights. Through my extensive work in South East Brisbane in Youth Detention, I aim to close the gaps for our First Nations Children. My background in Education and specifically previously being the youngest principal in Australia has allowed me to have a voice for our children and raise important issues like speaking up for our most marginalised children. I am proud of to be an Ambassador for Children’s Rights Queensland and look forward to sharing the work they do. A fact about me is I recently published my first book!

Mandy Alborn

Moreton Bay Region: Sandstone Point 

Mandy is an Educational Mentor. She lives and works in the Moreton Bay Region in South East Queensland. For over 25 years Mandy has worked and played in the Early Childhood Education and Care profession in many roles. Mandy is a mother of four children and 2 grandchildren. She holds a Diploma of Education (Early Learning) and a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Learning) and is studying at UniSC a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours).

Professional Mandy spends each day looking at ways to support Early Learning Educators and families and advocating for every child’s right to a childhood that meets their needs. Mandy is passionate about finding ways children can feel safe, learn, play and develop and connect with others.

Melanie Rolfe

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Melanie Rolfe is the founder and key Play Worker at The Paper Planes Project, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering kids and families with the everyday psychological skills to unleash their potential. “Wild Ones” is their nature-based play and mindfulness program for little humans, where Melanie witnesses first-hand the emotional benefits of nature play- for the little AND big people! She also works as a consultant, speaker, academic and researcher in psychology and health, with a focus in paediatric palliative care. 
Melanie’s vision is a world where every human has their own blueprint for navigating adversity, and the psychological skills to live a thriving- and joyful- life. 

Melanie Excell

Gold Coast

Melanie has over 20 years’ experience in the Early Learning and Education industry and is a university trained teacher, holding a Bachelor of Education. Melanie is passionate about early education and preparing children for a successful future. Melanie has worked in various roles in the Early Childhood and Education sector including teaching, Centre Director, Area Manager of both small and large groups of centres across Australia and more recently a senior management position in a large childcare company. As a mother of two beautiful boys Melanie is able to manage her centres wearing many hats, ensuring that our centres are meeting the needs of the parent and the child.

Mary Cullen

Sunshine Coast

My name is Mary Cullen and I live in Beerwah, Queensland. I am the owner of Beerwah Family Day Care Service. I believe in providing a quality childcare service for the children of my community. I nurture each child’s interests at every level of their development. I advocate that children’s rights are respected and acknowledged. My unique service offers children a calming and natural resourced classroom where the children’s voice and family input is welcomed. I am passionate about exposing the children to an indigenous education through resources and workshops and encourage interactions with the resident animals to promote empathy, respect and responsibility.

Michelle Worthington

South East Queensland: Redland City

Michelle Worthington is an international multi award-winning author, screenwriter and business woman. Michelle is dedicated to encouraging a strong love of reading and writing in young children and conducts author visits at primary and special schools, libraries and bookstore storytelling and publishing workshops for adults. She especially enjoys meeting people through her speaking engagements for women’s groups and charities.

Paola Ledesma-Toro

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Paola is a mother and wife who advocates and promotes children’s rights in the Spanish-Speaking communities in Brisbane. She believes that Children’s rights are for all children regardless where they come from, their background or their language.
Paola loves travelling and spending time with her family. She also enjoys technology and board games.

Roushini Devi

Darling Downs & South West Qld

I focus on children’s ABILITIES and like to ADD FUN for them to explore their own creative skills to enjoy the present moment and to create happy memories. It is important for me to protect children at a risk of harm, not having their needs met, or are being denied rights.

Being an advocate provides gets me involved and understanding issues children are facing plus I am proactive about accommodating for children’s needs and presenting solutions. To share something new and exciting with children is my way of giving and staying connected with them.

Sudesh Somu

Mt Isa

Sudhesh Panddi Somu, hailing from a Sri Lankan background, was born in India and now resides in Brisbane, Australia. Having lived in North QLD, specifically Mount Isa, he deeply values cultural diversity and identity. With a background in working with Indigenous children, Sudhesh advocates for children’s rights, aiming to foster positive cultural connections and provide safe spaces for cultural practice. His passion lies in empowering children to embrace their identities with positivity.

Sue Prior

South East Queensland: Brisbane

Sue is an international inclusive education consultant for families and schools with a special interest in children who are gifted or experiencing twice exceptionality. Advocating for children’s rights is at the heart of Sue’s contribution as an educator and parent, including academic articles and presentations on this topic. Sue loves nature so while living in the beautiful Samford Valley in the Moreton Bay region, has also provided children’s permaculture activities and workshops with a focus on fun, creativity, positive education and the principles of caring for the earth and each other.

Vicki Christopher

South East Queensland: Brisbane

I am an early childhood lecturer and researcher at University of Southern Queensland passionate about honouring children’s voices. My research delves into empowering children to express themselves, fostering environments where their voices are respected and valued. Advocating for children’s rights is paramount to ensure their fundamental freedoms, dignity, and opportunities for participation. Every child deserves to be heard, understood, and supported in realising their full potential. Together, let’s champion a future where children’s rights are upheld and celebrated!