The Venny’s staff are its greatest asset and provides safe attachment figures for the children and young people they engage with. Our staff use trauma informed frameworks and reflective practice principals in their work and maintain current best practice approaches with professional development and training, predominately with the Australian Childhood Trauma group. All Staff at The Venny have a current Working with Children Checks, Police Checks and First Aid certificates.
David Kutcher- General Manager
David has managed The Venny for the past 18 years. He previously worked as an outreach worker for Open Family and at Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.
Some of the highlights of David’s years at The Venny include the construction of the new building and play space, studying similar models in Play in the UK, Europe and Scandinavia, developing a sustainable financial model, and increasing the usage and profile of the playground. He gains particular satisfaction from listening and responding to the needs of marginalised local children and youth and whether that is by providing assistance with development, growth, health, housing, education and advocacy.
Danni von der Borch- Community Development and Therapeutic Support Worker
Danielle has worked in the Communal Backyard/Adventure Playground field for 16 years. Currently in the role of community development and therapeutic support, her background in creative art practices allows for a synthesis of both art and play in the sessions she runs. Danielle is a creative arts therapist and currently teaches in this field at MIECAT in Melbourne. She engages with a therapeutic intention in her work with vulnerable kids and young people and play is one of the tools she uses.
Catherine Hude- Operations Manager and Play Worker
Catherine has been working with children and youth for over 8 years. She has managed childcare centres, holiday programs and also worked for the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services. Catherine is currently completing her final year of her degree in Social Work and Social Science (Psychology) at RMIT, she has also completed studies in Early Childhood, Theology and Business Management.
Debby Maziarz- Business Development Manager
Debby is a experienced social entrepreneur, youth worker, mentor, educator and fundraiser in the arts and community sectors. In 1996 she founded the Westside Circus, a not for profit community arts organisation.
Hala Nur- Youth Worker and Play Worker
Hala has competed studies in Youth Work and Counselling at RMIT and has been a active member of the Inner North West Melbourne African Community for several years. Hala has experience managing large community events and camps tailored for Youth.
Jenny Barnes- Play Worker
Jenny has experience teaching local at risk children and community members English, Jenny has also worked on local youth programs. Jenny has completed training in Music, Linguistics, Teaching and is also fluent in Auslan.
Keith Persall- Play Worker
Keith has been a play worker at The Venny for eight years and is a highly experienced play worker with many tools to draw upon such as photography, woodwork and creative building.
Abshiro Hussein- Play Worker
Abshiro is qualified in children services and has been working at The Venny for nine years. Abshiro is a key African Community member and is fluent Somali, Swahili, and has literacy skills in Arabic.
Tracie Overstead- Maintenance and Play Worker
Tracie has been an active member of The Venny community for 38 years and has worked at The Venny for 20 years. Tracie is a experienced play worker and currently completes maintenance at The Venny.