Associate Professor Sara Walton graciously gives her time to Southern Youth Development taking on the significant role of our Chair.
Sara is a strong and passionate advocator for our young people/rakatahi.
Charlene is a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Otago. Her research and teaching are in the areas of sexuality, sexual abuse, and mental health.
Prior to working at the University Charlene worked with children, adolescents, families, and adults in primary mental health. She has some experience working with offenders.
A long time ago she taught drama to secondary school students.
She particularly enjoys working with children, young people, and their families and with male survivors of sexual abuse. In addition, areas of special interest include post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual abuse, sexual difficulties, and out-of-control sexual behaviours.
Professor Ceri Warnock course manages and teaches Resource Management Law, Energy Law and LAWS101 The Legal System, and also contributes teaching to Public Law and Inter-disciplinary Aspects of Climate Change.
Ceri has been a visiting lecturer at Kings College London, tutored at Hertford College, University of Oxford and prior to joining the Faculty of Law at Otago in 2006 practiced as a barrister in England and Wales.
Ray is the Head of Otago Polytechnic's Sustainability Office. He is committed to the big purpose of education: creating transformational change for a better world.
Ray's focus is on the integration of sustainable practice into programmes and practice across many disciplines and operational areas. This is achieved through capability development, learner experience design and innovative projects.
His current research is exploring how complexity theory can inform the design of opportunities for learners to maximise their global impact.
If he was to boil what he believes education should be into a few words it would be: authentic, action orientated, and purpose driven.
Colin is Chairman of OmniEye and the founder of TracMap, a precision farming GPS guidance and job management system. Colin became one of New Zealand’s best known agri-tech business owners. He grew TracMap to become one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural GPS businesses, before taking the technology offshore, selling its Ag Aviation GPS system worldwide, and the ground based job management system into the viticulture and orcharding sectors in Australia and North America.
Colin began his career farming in New Zealand’s South Otago, winning the prestigious NZ Young Farmer competition in 1982, before going into agricultural and management consultancy. As a consultant, Colin had a reputation for turning research concepts into economically successful business enterprises. Much of TracMap’s growth and success to date can be attributed to the application of those same skills and expertise to growing the TracMap business.
Trustee | Youth Advisor
For almost two decades Garth has been empowering young people/rakatahi to achieve their own successes, his main role involves educating rakatahi about employment skills and working with groups developing/extending their leadership skills and personal strengths. Garth has taken on the role of General Manager and is still doing the mahi both in the office and in the community.
Garth was raised with practical skills due to both sets of grandparents being farmers. This led to a lifelong passion for the outdoors and a solid work ethic of “just doing it because it has to be done”.
Garth is an avid sports fanatic, and still plays rugby during the winter months. He also enjoys tramping, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Leisa de Klerk
Partnerships & Contracts Manager
Leisa comes to the team with over 10 years experience in the for-impact community, leading and building growth, partnerships and reputation in the community and voluntary sector. A national, regional and local community sector leader, Leisa is involved in various community initiatives including sustainability, events, volunteering and funding and is a passionate advocate for rakatahi advocacy and success.
As well as partnerships and relationships, Leisa manages the marketing and social media side of Southern Youth Development.
Leisa can often be seen in the community with her two children, and when blessed with some free time, enjoys reading, painting and gardening.
Mandy de Leeuw
Finance and Administration
Mandy joined Southern Youth Development to take on the role of Finance and Administration.
She brings with her a range of administration and office management experience from the public and private sectors including local government, business development, membership, networking and hospitality.
Mandy enjoys bringing organisations and businesses together to achieve the greater opportunities for our rakatahi.
Senior Youth Worker - Ōtepoti
Jethro has been as a Youth Worker for Southern Youth Development for over a decade. When it comes to rakatahi the glass is always half full with Jethro and he works hard to help youth prepare themselves for work, further education or whatever life might bring. Jethro uses a holistic, real world and relational approach when working with rakatahi.
In his spare time, Jethro is a keen online gamer, home handyman, lover of books, tramping, good company and good conversation.
Youth Worker - Ōtepoti
Michelle first joined Southern Youth Development in 2007 using her energy and love of the outdoors to connect with and empower rakatahi to challenge themselves and expand their knowledge, skills and experiences for positive future choices.
She took some time away to have her two children and has recently rejoined the team to deliver our career focused Move programmes.
Michelle enjoys spending time with her family hiking, biking and exploring Otago's hidden treasures.
Youth Worker - Ōtepoti
Jessie is a Youth Worker at Southern Youth Development running our after school programmes and small groups in schools.
She has a Bachelor in Social Services specialising in Mental Health Support and has just completed her Diploma in Youth Work.
To relax Jessie binge watches Rick & Morty.
Youth Worker - Ōtepoti
Alex is a Youth Worker who runs our bike recycling programme, bikes@syd. He has just completed his National Diploma in Te Reo Māori (Level 6) and works hard to bring his reo into his youth work.
While living a minimalistic lifestyle Alex has a passion for sustainability, cycling and running. Alex enjoys sharing his connection to nature and the great outdoors with our rakatahi.
Youth Worker - Ōtepoti
Youth Worker - Clutha
Tess King is a Youth Worker at Southern Youth Development based in Balclutha. Tess made the decision to settle down in the Clutha area where she has been working to support people across all ages throughout her working life. Tess holds a Diploma in Social Services, specialising in counselling.
Tess supports the Clutha Youth Council and is excellent at making connections with the rakatahi of the Clutha area and helping where she can.
Supervisor - sẏd at the Gardens
Assistant Supervisor - sẏd at the Gardens
Ezra comes to Southern Youth Development as a graduate of the Gardens programme, where he himself was a trainee. His hard work and motivation has enabled him to find a place at Southern Youth Development where he now mentors rakatahi who were just like him.
Social Work Student
Amelia is a social work student currently on placement with Southern Youth Development. She has just completed her Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and has enjoyed coaching young people in gymnastics and trampolining.
In her spare time, Amelia enjoys watching Netflix and spending time with her friends and family.
Youth Work Student