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The Team

The team at Youth Solutions are passionate about providing health promotion and harm prevention services.

The team at Youth Solutions are passionate about providing health promotion and harm prevention services that are inclusive, culturally appropriate and serve the needs of young people in the Macarthur and Wingecarribee regions of NSW.

Each member of the team brings their own unique set of skills and expertise, and as a collective, are dedicated to preventing and reducing alcohol and other drug related harm among young people in the community.

The Team Includes:

Geraldine Dean, CEO

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts (Social Science)
  • Diploma of Community Services Coordination
  • Diploma of Management
  • Statement of Attainment; AOD and Mental Health Comorbidity
  • Statement of Attainment; Child Protection
    Biography

Geraldine joined the Youth Solutions team in 2003 and prior to her CEO position has held project coordination, communications, promotions and community relations roles at Youth Solutions.

The role of the Chief Executive Officer is to ensure that the mission and vision of Youth Solutions is inspired by and achieved through effective leadership. Geraldine oversees the implementation of the Strategic and Operational Plan, is responsible for people and culture, governance and compliance, general management of operations as well as guiding the overall delivery of services and programs.

Geraldine has extensive experience in human resource management, project management and media management, developing and implementing community development initiatives and events, website development and maintenance, coordinating internal and external communications and working alongside and developing relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders. Geraldine has also had the opportunity to work internationally as part of a sister city exchange program in Japan.

Geraldine is a champion of and displays a commitment to quality improvement and high professional standards. In 2018, Youth Solutions was again accredited at the Certificate level of Australian Services Excellence Standards.

Geraldine has a solid track record in volunteering for her local community and in a variety of capacities. Elected positions have included President and Director of a community childcare centre and Treasurer for a local junior rugby league football club. Geraldine currently sits as a Director of a well-respected disability service.
During her time as CEO, Geraldine has had the pleasure of leading the Service to achieve key milestones. Youth Solutions has received a number of awards which recognise the commitment to and the work towards improving the health and wellbeing of the local community.

  • 2014 Zest Awards – Exceptional Community Partnership in an LGA: Safe Celebrations Project
  • 2014 NSW Youth Work Awards – Service of the Year
  • 2015 Champions of the West – Indigenous Excellence: ARTucation Program
  • 2016 NSW Youth Work Awards – Peer Enrichment & Empowerment Project
  • 2017 Australia Day – Community Group of the Year: Youth Solutions’ Youth Advisory Group

In addition to these awards, Geraldine has been recognised on an individual level by being awarded the 2016 NSW Local Woman of the Year for Campbelltown.

Emily Deans, Research, Strategy & Design Coordinator

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Public Health
  • Master of Public Health
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development)
  • Mental Health First AidAccidental Counsellor
  • Training Statement of Attainment; Orientation to the
  • AOD Field
  • Statement of Attainment; Motivational Interviewing

Emily joined the Youth Solutions team in January 2018 and in her role as Research, Strategy & Design Coordinator works to ensure that Youth Solutions’ programs are informed by good practices, appropriately evaluated and cater for the needs of young people in the region.

Emily leads Youth Solutions’ qualitative research program and oversees the services’ Academic Advisory Group, which has been established to connect not-for-profit community work with leading public health research professionals. Prior to her role with Youth Solutions, Emily formed part of a research team at Deakin University (Melbourne) concerned with preventing gambling harm among young men, and has worked at UoW’s Wellbeing Referral Centre, which functioned as a mental health hub for university students. Emily is passionate about advocacy and the basic right for all individuals to have access to the resources and support they need to make healthy life choices.

Amanda Dillon, Community Relations & Communications Coordinator

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (Journalism)
  • Journalism Cadetship
  • Statement of Attainment, Orientation to the AOD Field
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Amanda has a background in media and communications with skills in journalism, social media management, website management and community engagement.

Prior to joining the Youth Solutions team in June 2014, Amanda was the Senior Reporter at the Macarthur Chronicle newspaper. Amanda is a passionate member of the Macarthur community and has supported a range of local community events including Relay for Life, Lifeline Macarthur and the 2015 Max Potential program. In 2015, Amanda was named as a finalist for ZEST’s ‘Outstanding Youth Leader of the Year’ (12 – 25 years).

Shannon McEwan, Finance & Operations Coordinator

Qualifications

  • Advanced Certificate in Commerce (Accounting)
  • Certificate in Office Skills (Clerical)

Shannon joined the Youth Solutions team in 2011 and currently holds the position of Finance & Operations Coordinator. Shannon works to ensure the accurate and efficient execution of Youth Solutions’ financial administrative systems and tasks. Shannon provides ongoing support to the Chief Executive Officer, the Treasurer, and the entire Youth Solutions team, and contributes significantly to the effective financial and operational management of Youth Solutions.

Sam Young, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Medical and Health Science
    Statement of Attainment; Orientation to the AOD Field
  • Statement of Attainment; Child Protection
  • Studying a Masters of Social Work (Qualifying)
    Biography

Sam joined the Youth Solutions team in January 2018 and currently holds the position of Youth Engagement Coordinator. Sam oversees the development and implementation of the DAIR project (Drug and Alcohol Information and Resilience Skills) and the PEEP project (Peer Enrichment and Empowerment Project).

Sam also provides mentoring to young people in Youth Solutions’ Youth Advisory Group (YAG). Prior to her role with Youth Solutions, Sam worked at PCYC South Sydney as a Youth Activities Officer and a Go4Fun Exercise and Nutrition Leader. Sam is passionate about working with young people within the Macarthur and Wingecarribee area to support and empower them to make safe and healthy lifestyle choices.

Karen Yuen, Community Development & Partnerships Coordinator

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Business (major in Accounting and sub majors in Management and Tourism Management)
  • Diploma of Youth Work
  • Certificate IV in Education Support
  • Certificate IV in Training and AssessmentCertificate
  • IV Youth Work
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
  • Statement of Attainment, Orientation to the AOD Field

Karen joined the Youth Solutions team in September 2013 and currently holds the position of Community Development & Partnerships Coordinator. Karen is an experienced group work facilitator, and is passionate about working with young people to empower them to make informed life choices.

In 2011 – 2013, Karen led the development of the Me-Power Community Resource; a ‘how-to-guide’ for facilitating life skills workshops for young people. Karen’s commitment to giving back to the local community is evident through her volunteer work for World Vision NSW, YWCA NSW, The Smith Family, the Australian League of Immigration Volunteers (ALIV) and the Chinese Parents Association (Children with Disabilities) Inc.

Bec Fortune, Health Promotion Officer

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts (Arts Management)
  • Studying a Masters of Social Work (Qualifying)
    Biography

Bec joined the Youth Solutions team in February 2022 and currently holds the position of Health Promotion Officer. Prior to working in human services, Bec worked in the Arts. She is passionate about human connections that build individual self-efficacy and community capacity. This is what led her to a career in the human services and youth work sector. Bec is now studying her Masters of Social Work, and is looking forward to learning and progressing within the field.

Bri Ellul, Administration, Marketing & Events Officer

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations)
  • Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
  • Admission to the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Bri joined the Youth Solutions team in April 2022 and currently holds the position of Administration, Marketing & Events Officer. Bri has always had a distinct interest in mental health and human rights.

Bri is an advocate for mental health and has assisted in coordinating fundraisers to support mental health organisations and charities. Her past experiences in marketing, combined with her legal and administrative knowledge has seen her embrace this role with an organisation that closely aligns with her values.

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