Jacqui – General Manager
Jacqui originates from Auckland and has been living and working in Queenstown for over a decade. She has raised two children, now both adults. Her passion for young people grew through training and volunteering for Youthline and during the course of completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. Following these experiences and through her own personal understanding of raising a child with Aspergers, Jacqui worked in both Intermediate and Primary schools with children who had both behavioural and learning difficulties. This led her to complete a Graduate Diploma in Teaching prior to moving to Queenstown. Jacqui loves working in the community as both a Manager and a Senior Youth Support Worker and continues to enjoy mentoring and advocating for the youth of the Whakatipu area and celebrating all that they contribute to our community.
Leah – Clinical Manager and Youth Counsellor
Leah is from South West Sydney and has just moved back to Queenstown from Aus. Leah first came to Queenstown in 2018 for a ski season, as she is an avid snowboarder and fell in love with the mountains, town life and the uniqueness that New Zealand has to offer. Leah has a Bachelor in Social Work (Honours) and has experience working with vulnerable children, young people and their families and most recently she was a Domestic and Family Violence Counsellor. Not only will you find Leah riding a snowboard, she will be shredding dirt on her mountain bike, hiking mountains, balancing in tree pose and hanging out with family and friends.
Leah has a passion for supporting young people to build confidence, acceptance and vital skills for managing life.
Paloma – Youth Social Worker
Paloma moved to Queenstown for a change after living in Taranaki for the majority of her life. Recently Paloma graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work and her experience has been centered around working with children and young people. Previously working as a Children and Youth Social Worker, Youth Mentor, and Childcare Worker, Paloma has developed a passion for supporting and empowering young people to be the best versions of themselves. In her spare time, Paloma enjoys the beach, baking, spending time with pets, and hanging out with friends and family.
Lee-Ann – Youth Support Worker
Lee-Ann grew up in the small coastal town of Timaru where she spent most of her time involved in sports. Her passion for supporting youth started there while competing and coaching in netball, athletics and basketball. She moved to Queenstown for a change after spending most of her adult life in Christchurch after completing a Bachelor of Criminal Justice. She has experience working in the Family and Youth Courts and is currently studying towards a Certificate in Mental Health and Addiction and Post Graduate Diploma in Education specializing in Counselling. Lee-Ann has always had a passion for being active and in her spare time you will find her riding her mountain bike, running up a local mountain or playing with her border collie Lady.
Sam – Youth Support Worker
Sam was raised in Hawkes Bay on the coastal town of Te Awanaga and has resided in various places around New Zealand and Australia. He began with the Whakatipu Youth Trust
on work placement whilst studying a certificate in mental health and wellbeing in 2021. Since completing study Sam has moved into a part time Youth Support Worker position.
Sam enjoys supporting local youth and challenging rangatahi to learn and grow through experiences. When Sam is not at the loft he works as a Skydiving Instructor and is passionate about all things flying.
Esmée – Youth Engagement Facilitator
Born and raised in The Netherlands, Esmée is fast adapting to NZ life and culture. Dubbed as the op-shop queen by her friends and family, she loves dressing up and finding gems at secondhand stores. You will find her in the hills, by the lake, or realigning her chakras with some yoga.
Esmée worked for the Lakes Weekly Bulletin as a graphic designer for two years. Never afraid of a challenge, all of a sudden Esmée was a stilt walking butterfly and a light up fairy at Luma thanks to a new gig with Flame Entertainment! Continuing the challenge, you can now hear her from 7pm-midnight on Radio Central and working for the Whakatipu Youth Trust.
As a Youth Engagement Facilitator, she loves being a positive influence for young people. You’ll find her playing games and chatting away with the teens.