Skip to Content

Dr Astrid Perry

Dr Astrid Perry

Dr. Astrid Perry found her passion as a ‘mentor for women’ with the Girl Guides of Switzerland. Since then, she has established herself as an advocate for social justice in NSW, advancing the wellbeing of women among culturally and linguistically diverse communities supported by Settlement Services International (SSI). Astrid’s belief is that every woman has the potential to contribute and the power to create a world where their children can prosper.

Astrid maintains strength-based approaches coupled with advocacy and targeted strategies, including setting gender participation targets, provide the means to achieve a more equal society. Astrid’s passion guided her to a PhD in Sociology, and despite limited English skills, she fixed her focus to public schools and education of girls, at a time of upheaval around gender based educational achievements.

Astrid campaigns for the inclusion of culturally diverse women to participate at the Commission on the Status of Women conferences, and has contributed to the Global Summit for Women, where she advocated for the unheard voices of refugee women. As a board member of the Australian Council on Refugee Women, Astrid has ensured gender is considered by her colleagues attending the yearly United Nations Convention on Refugees.

Astrid is well known as a champion for women’s rights and an advocate for awareness of domestic violence. She takes pride and consideration in providing liberal and competent advice in these areas and others


Mary Jo McVeigh

Mary Jo McVeigh

Mary Jo McVeigh is the founder and CEO of Cara House and CaraCare which support vulnerable children, young people and their families through trauma-specific counselling and human rights practices.

Mary Jo is an expert in child protection, trauma therapy, clinical supervision, management training, leadership coaching, facilitation, and professional self-care with over 25 years working with both public and private sectors. She completed her Honours degree in Social Science in 1983 before completing a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1986. Mary Jo is currently undertaking a PhD in Social Work at Sydney University, focussing on children’s rights and participatory values.

Mary Jo is a trained trauma therapist and an accredited mental health social worker. She is particularly skilled at working with professionals to bring about growth, notably in the areas of leadership, effectiveness, and communication. Mary Jo draws on her vast knowledge and experience in trauma and protection to inspire her audiences.

A passionate writer, Mary Jo has authored Without Question, the Language of the Mindful leader and Audacious Love along with three resources for working therapeutically with children and young people. The most loved, Wrapped in Angels, has received international praise and is recognised in NSW as best practice when working with traumatised children, young people and adults.


Shirley Smith

Shirley Smith

Shirley Smith, trained nurse, secretary, community volunteer and farmers wife, observed that many residents of her rural village were unable to attend medical care and treatment when required. The absence of suitable affordable public transport was very evident, particularly when one was no longer able to drive a car. Shirley noted how the Undertakers were never out of work, or so it seemed.

The idea of creating a volunteer team to provide suitable, affordable transport to and from medical care and treatment was formed by Shirley in 1999. The service was embraced by the community and over the course of 19 years, 2,673 residents have been assisted to achieve a total of 85,706 one way trips. To cover the cost of the fuel residents who required the assistance were asked to make an affordable donation.

A support team was formed to become the fundraising arm of this volunteer team. The service has now grown to include two paid employees supporting the volunteers and they continue to strive to serve their community by providing assistance for medical related transport.


Theresa Mitchell

Theresa Mitchell

Theresa Mitchell was a single mum in her early 20s when she saw an opportunity to support other families also doing it tough. Theresa started sourcing donations of baby foods and Christmas gifts to give to charities including the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul. This marked the start of her fundraising efforts which over the years has also included supporting organisations including SIDS, Multicap, Care Flight and the Endeavour Foundation.

While caring for her own children, Theresa became a foster carer. In total, Theresa has supported and cared for 155 children. She has also volunteered for a community in Palompon Philippines where she found sponsors for 30 children, organised the building of 10 houses and supported the facilitation of medical procedures.

In 2009 Theresa started Agape Outreach Inc. to support the homeless and needy in the Byron Shire, Tweed Shire and Gold Coast. After cooking a meal with her family and offering it to people on the streets one night 10 years ago, Agape now serves nearly 10,000 meals to the homeless every year. Agape has over 70 volunteers and a venue where they coordinate food hampers from rescued foods for families in need and run a range of free training classes including cooking, budgeting, life coaching, and relationship management.

Theresa runs Agape Outreach Inc. full time without a wage providing emotional, social and financial support to many.

Was this content useful?
Last updated: 04 Apr 2019
644838