About Us - Little Dreamers Australia

We’re here to support Young Carers throughout COVID-19. Find an update on our programs here.

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 10 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 Buchner 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. This eventually culminated in a business plan for an organisation called Little Dreamers, way back in 2009.

More than ten years later and over 5,000 young people reached, we’re now 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. We’re also working towards the creation of a peak body for Young Carers and the introduction of a National Carer Act in Australia (did you know that this is yet to exist?).

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
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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

Steph's Headshot
Steph

National People and Culture Manager

Emma's Headshot
Emma

National Marketing and Events Manager

Nat M's Headshot
Nat M

Graphic Designer

Laura's Headshot
Laura

Education Program Manager

Miranda's Headshot
Miranda

Family Support Worker

Amber's Headshot
Amber

Family Support Worker

Yuval's Headshot
Yuval

Big Dreamers Coordinator

Cassie's Headshot
Cassie

Impact Measurement and Research Analyst

Phil's Headshot
Phil

Facilitator

Cath's Headshot
Cath

Virtual CFO

Adam's Headshot
Adam

Admin Assistant

Dog
Daisy

Chief Barketing Officer

Our Board

Trevor Givoni's Headshot
Trevor Givoni

Clinical Psychologist | Department of Education and Training

Little Dreamers
Rebecca Smith

Head of Marketing | Thankyou ANZ

Michael Thurin's Headshot
Michael Thurin

Management Consultant | A.T. Kearney

Dana Rochwerger's Headshot
Dana Rochwerger

Search Manager | Innovate Online

Sally
Sally McLeod

Group Financial Controller | Forever New Clothing Pty Ltd

Amanda
Amanda Shilkin

People and Culture Manager | Luxury Escapes

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

Throwback to karaoke nights with our Big Dreamers! 🎤🌟 #LDDreamBig ...

LAUNCHING NEXT WEDNESDAY! 🌟
If you’ve ever wished there was a subject called ‘How to Handle Your Money 101’, you’re in the right place 🙌 Introducing Money Matters, a series that's all about helping Young Carers navigate the world of money and the 1001 questions that come with it.
Week 1 drops next Wednesday on the Dreamers Hub with our first podcast episode and modules.

BONUS: Follow the podcast (Spotify link in our bio) before next Wednesday and go into the draw to win an @american.traveller suitcase and backpack (perfect for helping you save some money and start planning for your post-COVID travel adventures!) 🏖️
...

Meet our new Regional Family Support Worker! 🌟
Georgia (Gee for short) loves drinking coffee with friends, watching the sunrise and going on adventures. Her favourite foods are pasta, sushi and chocolate, and her ultimate Dream Experience is to spend the day with pandas! 🐼
She's most excited about being able to contribute to the welfare of Young Carers and their families in regional communities - and so are we! 💖 #LDDreamBig #MeetTheTeam
...

Online Tutoring is in full swing! 🙌 With the upcoming transition back to remote learning in Victoria, it's a great time to seek that extra support with school work 📚
Young Carers Victoria wide can apply for our Online Tutoring, which is all facilitated on Zoom by our wonderful team of volunteers. Find out more at 👉 bit.ly/tutor-mentor
...

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