Youth Work WA Committee

Youth Work WA is a group of committed Youth Work professionals who volunteer their time to further the profession. If you are interested in being involved, or would like to assist with one of our events, get in touch here.

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Chairperson: Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson is the Vocational Training Manager at Youth Futures WA, and was previously a Youth Work Lecturer at North Metropolitan TAFE, with over 20 years’ experience in the Youth Work sector.

Dana’s key capabilities are in the areas of youth, ethics, critical incidents, homelessness, community development, suicide and self-harm, strength and rights based practice.

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Vice Chairperson: Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis has over 15 years experience in Youth Work, and has been an active member of Youth Work WA since 2010. Sarah is a lecturer at North Metropolitan TAFE and is passionate about Youth Work sector development. She has worked in areas including case management, metro and regional community development, outreach and homelessness.

Sarah has a degree in Youth Work and is studying a Masters in Human Rights.

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Secretary: Vanessa Msapenda

Vanessa first discovered her passion for Youth Work after volunteering for her local youth council. She studied Social Work and graduated with Honours after completing her thesis on Flexible Learning Options for regional young people.

Vanessa has been published in the peer reviewed journal Youth Studies Australia and worked in a variety of roles within the education, domestic violence and homelessness sectors. Vanessa currently works as a Case Manager at Foyer Oxford and is passionate about developing the Youth Work sector.

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Treasurer: Danielle Tilbrook

Danielle Tilbrook has over 15 years experience in the Community services sector, with the majority of her career engaged in Youth Work. Danielle possess qualifications in both Youth Work and Social Work and has undertaken a number of Management and Senior roles in the Youth Work field. Danielle has also worked for and with a number of local governments and non-profit agencies.

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Website and Branding: John Thomson

John Thomson is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, from the notable and influential Community Education degree programme, which was controversially cut in its 50th year. Fortunately, the work of the excellent teaching team continues at the University of the West of Scotland.

With 15 years’ experience of Youth Work, John has spent most of his career tackling the inherent injustices experienced by young people, through lifelong learning and employment, community development, and outdoor education programmes. John is the Foyer Oxford Manager, and has been a board member of the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia since 2013.

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Social Media Officer: Arbie Pattiselanno

Arbie Pattiselanno graduated with a Diploma in Community Welfare Work and has 13 years of Youth Work sector experience in a range of areas including drugs and alcohol, detached youth outreach and management and leadership roles.

He is the Community Development Officer – Youth at the City of Kwinana and is a passionate advocate for ethical Youth Work practice and acknowledging and recognising positive youth contribution and developing youth leadership opportunities. Arbie facilitates a youth African drumming ensemble and delivers the award winning LyriK (Leadership, youth, respect in Kwinana) program as well overseeing a number of youth development projects and youth led events.


Regional Representative: Kate Carter

Kate graduated with a Bachelor of Community Welfare (Youth Work) degree from the University of Western Sydney in 2006. Since moving to WA in 2007, Kate has undertaken a number of Youth Work and Program Manager roles within the Youth Sector, and was the Vice Chair on the board of the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia from 2010 – 2012. Kate now lives in the South West of WA and is passionate about promoting the work of Youth Work WA to regional Youth Workers.


Membership Officer: Mark Bird

Mark Bird’s career in the youth sector begun in 2010 as a volunteer Mentor. This lead to permanent roles as both a Case Manager and Education Officer for Youth Futures WA in 2012, which was attained whilst completing a Bachelor Degree Double Major in Psychology and Youth Work at Edith Cowan University. Teaching in the alternative education space for two years lead to Mark achieving the Program Coordinator position in 2015 at Youth Futures WA’s Anchor Point program. Mark was also one of three finalists for the inaugural Western Australian Association of Youth Workers 2014 Emerging Youth Worker of the Year Award.


Matt Bartlett

Matt Bartlett is a Youth Work Lecturer at Edith Cowan University with over 20 years’ experience in the Youth Work sector.

Matt’s Youth Work adventure includes a focus on working within and alongside educational settings, local governments, and a range of faith-based organisations. He is not only passionate about empowering young people to become active and engaged citizens but also training the next generation of professional Youth Workers. Matt is a graduate of Edith Cowan University’s Youth Work degree program.