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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

Cheryl Vardon

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

Cheryl Vardon is the Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC). Cheryl is the Lead Ambassador for Children’s Rights Queensland and has held this role since 2015.

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:

Michelle Worthington

South East Queensland: Redland City

Michelle is an international award-winning author, screenwriter and business woman based in Redland City. Michelle is dedicated to encouraging a strong love of reading and writing in children of all abilities. She is also a real-life book fairy, magically turning coffee into picture books.

As founder of Anthology Angels, she gives opportunities for aspiring authors all over the world to achieve their dreams of publication. She credits her three sons for being her inspiration, motivation and the cause of her wrinkles. Whether she’s in front of the camera or behind it, Michelle celebrates empowering Australian stories and storytellers.

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 is 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 is also Director on the Playgroup Australia Board and Director of Council of the Ageing. Gloria feels it is such a privileged to serve organisations that support children and communities.

Julie McNeil

Far North Queensland

Working and living with ancient rainforests and reefs as her backyard has provided Julie with the inspiration and motivation to strive for balance in her life. It has provided Julie with the capacity to bring her skills to drive a community benefit program using sport as the vehicle to help drive positive social changes and advocate for children.

Julie’s life has been an adventure, and she enjoys sharing the lessons learned and experiences with the next generation. Julie’s passions include her family, friends, creating and cooking. She also loves watching live sport and seeing what people can create when given the opportunity. She is a strong advocate for children’s rights.

Paula McGlinn

Moreton Bay Region: Rothwell

Paula has worked in early childhood education for over 20 years. Currently, she works as Centre Director for Goodstart. Paula believes that every child has the right to be loved, safe, happy, and included in their community. She is an advocate for an inclusive learning environment for every child in the community.

Paula believes that every child has the right to grow, learn, and be active learners, taking into account every child’s way of learning, culture, communication skills, and individual personalities. Paula has two adult children and eight grandchildren in her immediate family. She loves making children feel valued and giving them a voice.

Aimee Clarke

Moreton Bay Region: Caboolture

Aimee has been working in the Early Education sector since 2000 within Ipswich and now the Caboolture region. She believes that Children’s rights are so important to be recognised as children are not just blank canvases; they have rights and opinions that deserve to be heard, respected, acknowledged and acted on. She believes that all children are unique, and all deserve to have someone there for them each and every day, making them feel special and heard.

Allison Paterson

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.

Adina Gunnis

Central Queensland

Adina lives near the beach in Central Queensland and works within the criminal justice sector. As an adult with a foster care experience, she believes that the rights of children are extremely important.

Adina believes it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the rights of children are upheld and respected. She enjoys spending her free time watching the sunrise over the beach.

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 20 years, she has worked and played in the Early Learning Sector in many roles. Mandy is a mother of four children ranging in ages from 7-22 years old. She holds a Diploma of Education (Early Learning) and a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Learning).

Professionally Mandy spends each day looking at ways to support Early Learning Educators 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, develop and connect with others.

Kelly Sayers

Sunshine Coast

Kelly has worked in the childcare industry for many years. Caring for young children has always been her passion, and she has two children. She is from a small country town in NSW, and migrated to the beautiful Sunny Coast over 17 years ago.

Kelly’s hobbies and interests include camping, four-wheel driving, sports, learning new things and spending time with her family. She aspires to provide a place where each child feels safe, secure, supported, that children rights are promoted, and children are all given the opportunity to be protected. She is the Area Manager for Little Village Early Learning.

Janet Souter

Livingstone Shire

Janet has a Master of Early Childhood Education from Newcastle University, a Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood from the Queensland University of Technology and an Associate Diploma in Early Childhood from Brisbane College of Advanced Education.

She has worked as an Educator, Director, Consultant, Lecturer, Area Manager, Principal and Pedagogical Researcher and Editor in early childhood education over the past 30 years in Australia, Vietnam and Canada. During her work with doctors in teaching hospitals and academic development in university-wide faculty course reviews, Janet became aware of the interconnections between project/inquiry-based learning for children and adult education.

Donna Wynn

South East Queensland: Ipswich

Donna’s career in early childhood spans more than 25 years in various service modes, including occasional care, kindergarten, long daycare and school-age care. She holds a specific interest in teaching children aged 0-5 years, where play is the underpinning element for learning.

Donna has actively implemented programs that promote care and education in early childhood settings. In 2019 Donna was the recipient of the Queenslander of the Year Award for advocacy of learning through play and enhancement of early literacy development.

Sudhesh Somu

Mount Isa

Sudhesh is originally from Sri Lanka and works for Save the Children. He works with indigenous communities in Mount Isa. In his role as a Healing and Wellbeing Worker, he engages directly with men using violence towards their intimate partners or their family members/relatives.
A huge part of his role is to build trust, do casework and most importantly, educate men about the impacts of Domestic Violence on their families and children and help hold them accountable for their behaviour.

Sudhesh has experienced hardship as a child and believes he is now in a place where he can give back and support children to be in safe homes and ensure their rights are being met.

Amanda Bell

North Queensland: Townsville

As a born and bred Townsvillian, who loves her region, Amanda wants to see more families live, invest, open/work for/support the local businesses and organisations of Townsville, North Queensland, ensuring the region thrives, not just survives. She is passionate about promoting small businesses and giving them a way to connect with families via her community-driven platforms, including townsvillefamilylife.com and mackayfamilylife.com.

As a mum, Amanda is passionate about children’s rights, as she hopes all adults are, whether carers of a child or not. Amanda believes children have lots to teach adults, and they need to be given the time and space to be heard.

Kerri Underwood

Gold Coast

Kerri is a long time Gold Coast resident who is passionate about the importance of early childhood education. As a Pre-School and Prep teacher for more than 35 years and a staff member of Coomera State School for 30 years, she is well-known in the local community. She works diligently to foster positive relationships with parents and the community. Kerri believes that every child deserves a champion – someone who believes in them and insists that they become the very best they can be. The lights of Kerri’s life are her two young grandchildren.

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