About Us - Little Dreamers Australia

About Us

Make Life Better

What We Do

As Australia’s leading Young Carer organisation, we work with young people who provide unpaid care for a family member with a disability, illness or addiction across a range of direct support programs.

Over the past 11 years, we’ve become a game changing force in the Young Carer space, developing internationally recognised best practice programs and changing the lives of thousands of Young Carers. From cities to rural farms, we work in every corner of Australia, ensuring Young Carers are never left out, forgotten or lonely.

We’re working to improve the quality of life of Young Carers right across the country, with an ultimate vision to ensure that every single Young Carer around the world is supported by someone or something by 2030.

Holiday Program

Our Story

The Little Dreamers story began when our Founder and CEO was just nine years old. She asked the very question that still drives us today: “Who cares for the carers?”

Maddy grew up caring for her younger brother, who had a range of chronic illnesses, and her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. At nine years of age, she identified a gap in the support system for Young Carers and began to raise awareness through fundraising events and stalls.

More than ten years later and over 5,000 young people reached, Little Dreamers is Australia’s leading Young Carer organisation. Across a range of key support programs co-designed with young people in caring roles, we’re breaking down barriers and empowering youths, with a vision to ensure that every Young Carer around the world is supported by someone or something by the year 2030.

Our Impact
About Us

Who is a Young Carer?

A Young Carer is someone under the age of 25 who provides, or intends to provide care for a family member with a disability, illness, mental illness or an addiction.

While Young Carers often learn compassion, kindness and empathy from having a caring role, being a Young Carer can significantly impact on one’s education, social life, employment and mental and physical health.

  • 1 in 10 Australian youths are Young Carers
  • Carers Australia estimates 2 to 3 Young Carers in every Australian classroom
  • 50% of Young Carers live close to or below the poverty line
  • 40% of Young Carers do not finish high school
  • 60% of Young Carers are unemployed
  • 2 in 3 Young Carers experience mental illness
  • Young Carers have been named in the top 4 most marginalised youth populations in Australia
Learn More

Our Team

Maddy's Headshot
Maddy

Founder and CEO

Tasha's Headshot
Tasha

State Manager (VIC)

Carla's Headshot
Carla

State Manager (NSW)

Alex's Headshot
Alex

State Manager (QLD)

Nat C's Headshot
Nat C

National Head of Programs

Emma's Headshot
Emma

National Marketing and Events Manager

Steph's Headshot
Steph

National People and Culture Manager

Cath's Headshot
Cath

Virtual CFO

Laura's Headshot
Laura

Education Program Manager (VIC)

Cassie's Headshot
Cassie

Impact Measurement and Research Analyst

Nat M's Headshot
Nat M

Graphic Designer

Adam's Headshot
Adam

Admin Assistant

Taylar's Headshot
Taylar

Events and Fundraising Coordinator

Miranda's Headshot
Miranda

Family Support Worker (VIC)

Amber's Headshot
Amber

Family Support Worker (VIC)

Gee's Headshot
Gee

Regional Family Support Worker (VIC)

Yuval's Headshot
Yuval

Big Dreamers Coordinator

Mary's Headshot
Mary

Family Support Worker (NSW)

Vuong's Headshot
Vuong

Family Support Worker (NSW)

Katie's Headshot
Katie

Program Coordinator (NSW)

Photo-coming-soon
Jennie

Education Program Manager (QLD)

Photo-coming-soon
Dee

Program Coordinator (QLD)

Dog
Daisy

Chief Barketing Officer

Our Board

Michael Thurin's Headshot
Michael Thurin

Board Chair |

Management Consultant | A.T. Kearney

Trevor Givoni's Headshot
Trevor Givoni

Clinical Psychologist | Department of Education and Training

Dana Rochwerger's Headshot
Dana Rochwerger

Digital Acquisition Manager | Bared Footwear

Sally
Sally McLeod

Group Financial Controller | Forever New Clothing Pty Ltd

Amanda
Amanda Shilkin

Independent Employee Experience Consultant | Inside Out Hub

Zoe
Zoe Nasr

People and Culture Director at Remedy Drinks

Make Life Better

Our Advocates

Little Dreamers

"Young Carers are some of the most resourceful and resilient people around. Heavy responsibilities rest on their shoulders and they face and overcome challenges, often daily, that most adults would struggle to solve. We should champion all children and young people in caring roles, recognise their talent and support them to have the choices and freedom that the rest of us take for granted."

Little Dreamers

"There is an emerging consensus that around 10% of children and young people are Young Carers. They are involved in various caring roles for an ill or disabled relative/parent in their family, such as showering them, helping them to the toilet, keeping an eye on them, etc. These children represent a hidden army of young people who are also family carers. They will be on your street, in your community, in your schools . . . . can you see them yet?"

Little Dreamers

"If you’re a young adult caregiver, I implore you to share your story. Make yourself known. This may mean opening up to a friend, forming an online peer support group, or meeting with your state representative. Whatever you do, however seemingly big or small, is incredibly important in ensuring that the world knows that you serve an invaluable role as a young adult caregiver. Your acts of sacrifice are courageous and inspiring, particularly in a society that increasingly argues that today’s millennials are selfish and narcissistic. You are irreplaceable. You matter."

Our Ambassadors

Dena Kaplan's Headshot
Dena Kaplan

Ariel Kaplan's Headshot
Ariel Kaplan

Gemma-Ashley Kaplan's Headshot
Gemma-Ashley Kaplan

Alicia Banit's Headshot
Alicia Banit

Michael Short's Headshot
Michael Short

Our Partners

We're super excited to introduce our final Young and Unstoppable speaker, Josh!

Josh’s journey began in 2009 when he was 9 years old and took over his family’s flock of 40 hens 🐣 He wanted some pocket money as he loved lego, so he started selling his eggs to local shops and eventually at farmers markets.

Eight years later, Josh has 20,000 hens living in state of the art solar powered mobile sheds, laying nearly 10,000 dozen per week 👏 Josh's Rainbow Eggs are sold at 70 Coles and Woolworths stores and many independent supermarkets.

During this time, he's talked one on one to thousands of customers, given many talks at schools and libraries, and spread his passion for ethical free range eggs. His story demonstrates that age is no barrier, and he loves being able to inspire a whole generation of young entrepreneurs 🌟
...

Introducing our next Young and Unstoppable speaker, Candace, from @littlelitterproject ♻️

The Little Litter Project began after Candace noticed an increase in litter across parks and roadsides. After calling the local council and Vicroads to request the removal of this litter, she was handballed back and forth and no action took place.

That was the moment she decided to start up her own initiative to raise awareness on the topic of pollution and waste management, aiming to decrease the amount of litter we see in our public places 🙌

Candace is super passionate about the environment 🌱, eco-systems, and the protection of them, and we can't wait for her to share her wisdom and passions with us next Friday!
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We absolutely love our Holiday Programs, and we’re so so so excited about our return to face-to-face programs early next year! 🎉💕

Stay tuned for our announcement of dates very soon ☀️

#LDDreamBig
...

We're super excited to introduce you to our third Young and Unstoppable speaker, Seb! 🙌

Seb is a Workshops Coordinator at @minus18youth, Australia's charity for LGBTQIA+ youth. Informed by his years of navigating the world as a young trans and queer person as well as growing up in a complex family unit, he uses his story and knowledge of living in the queer community to educate future allies on how they can best support LGBTQIA+ youth, friends and family 🌈

Seb's background in performing arts has allowed him to develop his own unique brand of quick-wit and energy in order to evoke empathy and have an audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

We can't wait to hear Seb share his journey and the incredible work that Minus18 does! ✨

#VicYouthWeek #LDDreamBig
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A happy quote for a sunshine-y day ☀️🙌💛 #LDDreamBig

Via @katie_illustrated
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