The Venny’s staff are its greatest asset and provide 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.
Danni von der Borch- Director Play and Programs
Danielle has worked in the Communal Backyard/Adventure Playground field since 2001. Currently in the role of Director of Play and Programs, 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
Catherine is a qualified Social Worker and has recently completed her Honours in Social Work at RMIT. She has worked within the Melbourne Inner North/West community since 2013 and has had experience in management, operations and community programming roles. Catherine has qualifications in Social Work, Psychology, Theology, Children services and Business Development. Catherine is currently completing a Masters in Business Administration.
Lloyd Greenland – Play Lead
Lloyd began working at The Venny as a youth mentor at the age of 17 years old. He comes with experience as a play worker and holds a qualification in Youth Work from RMIT University, Melbourne. Lloyd has travelled to over 13 countries gaining knowledge globally and has volunteered his skills to ‘The Happiness Project’ working in a play setting in Rajasthan, India in 2019. Lloyd also has experience running programs such as Dinner Night and Boys Group program at The Venny.
David Kutcher- Special Projects Manager (Contractor)
David is the longest serving GM and Board member in The Venny’s history. He has completed well over 10,000 hours of play work practice. Some highlights of David’s years include, an exemplary child safety record including winning an award for The Venny from the National Award for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. He oversaw the The Venny’s transition from from a Co-operative to an Incorporated Association, and then attained charitable and DGR status. David dramatically increased The Venny’s funding resources, negotiated and acquired more land- doubling the land footprint for children. David drove the consultation and input into a purpose built new building and the implementation of a design concept ‘hills, hollows, hideaways, and horticulture’ for the new play space. He travelled to study models of Playwork in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. Importantly David has a proven track record of building risk competency and play sufficiency and putting children and young people front and the center of all decision making and play practice.
Jonny Schauder- Strategic Director (Contractor)
Jonathan Schauder is a corporate psychologist who has taught negotiation and strategy at Harvard Law School in 1998. He has delivered final year and MBA subjects in the School of Economics and Commerce at Monash University: Negotiation, Strategy, Strategic Management and Services Marketing. For 11 years Jonny has worked as a training, mediation and conflict resolution senior consultant with CMA in Melbourne. He took on the role of Chair of the Board for the Family Mediation Centre from 2000-2002 and was a board member of LEADR from 2002-2004. In 2008 Jonny established The Change Agent Network delivering strategic and change services to clients including Worksafe, Monash College, St Vincent’s Hospital, BetterCare Victoria, RMIT and many local and state government teams.
Hala Nur- Youth Worker and Play Worker
Hala has competed studies in Youth Work and Counselling at RMIT and is currently studying a Master of Social Work. She has been an 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.
Bahja Abdi- Social Worker and Play Worker
Bahja is a qualified Social Worker and has completed her Honours degree in Social Work at RMIT, Melbourne. Bahja is highly involved in the Inner North West Melbourne African Community and has experience in policy work, youth focused programs and community engagement.
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 in Somali, Swahili, and has literacy skills in Arabic.
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.
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.
Leila Gerges- Administration Assistant and Play Worker
Leila is a practicing visual artist who recently completed her Master of Contemporary Art from University of Melbourne Leila has an extensive background in hospitality, arts administration, customer service and volunteer coordination.
Gabe Smith – Play Worker
Gabe is a fun loving Kensington local who has been coming to The Venny since he was a kid. A keen cyclist and outdoorsy person, Gabe also enjoys drawing, painting and cooking. Find Gabe outside hanging out on the tramp or taking care of the animals. Say hello: he’s friendly!