Susie O’Neill
Founder and Managing Director

Founder and Managing Director, KIDS Foundation
Susie is the Founder of the KIDS Foundation and author. Since 1988, Susie has worked with disadvantaged children commencing with the Children's Protection Society and in her professional role as a preschool and primary teacher. Susie completed a PhD in Education at Monash University in 2016 titled 'Developing Safety Risk Intelligence in Children. She has published eleven children’s books and written several papers that have been published in national and international journals.

Susie Spratling
Financial Manager

Susie Spratling (also known as Sprats), has been with the KIDS Foundation for almost 4 years working as our Finance Coordinator. As well as looking after all of the finances for the foundation, Sprats has been involved with events such as Ride-2-Port as our Lead Car driver, Camps and anything else that needs to be done she will put up her hand and help out! Sprats was also instrumental in getting us some loan cars through Nissan which were a great asset to the Foundation and helped us tow our trailer and ferry everyone around at Camp last year! She looks forward to catching up with all of you at the camps this year!

Matthew Thiele
Youth Ambassador

Matt was trapped in a car fire in April 1999 at the age of three, he sustained full thickness burns to just over 30 per cent of his body, the worst of his burns being on his face, head and hands. He spent three-and-half months in hospital, which included 33 days in intensive care. After two cardiac arrests in the intensive care unit, the doctors suggested that his life support be switched off and he be allowed to go, but he fought on hard.
Matt has been on a tough and emotional journey, but he is not one to feel sorry for himself. He is now one of the happiest kids around, always quick with a smile and enjoys life. When Matt came to the KIDS Foundation at 10 years of age, he was shy and thought he was the only person that had ever been burnt. But Matt soon learnt there are many survivors with stories similar and even some more devastating. Matt believes the KIDS Foundation has been life changing for him; it has led him to gaining his black belt in Karate and increasing his self-esteem, which has given him the confidence to speak at functions, on occasions in front of more than 2500 people.
Matt completed his VCE and now gives back to the KIDS Foundation by working in the recovery program where he meets new survivors and becomes a mentor to them.

Nicholas Van Der Molen
Education Manager

We are excited to have Nicholas join our team this year. Living locally, Nicholas has a young family,  he enjoys exercising and is working his way up to competing an event in the coming year perhaps a Triathlon, Marathon or an Ironman. Nicholas brings his teaching expertise and technological knowledge to the KIDS team. He has been teaching in local primary schools for the past 15 years and has been the Technology coordinator in schools during this time. He is currently working 3 days a week at The KIDS Foundation as well as continuing to teach as a Casual Relief Teacher on his days off. Nicholas has already been out delivering the SeeMore Safety program resources, to the kindergartens in Geelong and Melbourne and is looking forward to the launch of the Virtual Kinder on the Kids Foundation Website. 

Tanya Lawless
Michelle McCahon
Injury Prevention

Michelle has recently made a return to KIDS Foundation as an Education Consultant within the Injury Prevention team. She was a member of the KIDS Foundation team from 2009-2011 and then took a break to return to the classroom in a teaching capacity. She returns to KIDS with a stronger understanding of the benefits that are gained from having the SeeMore Safety program within preschools and kindergartens across Australia, having seen it first hand. Her time back in the classroom has also allowed her to understand the program from a teacher’s perspective and understand what aspects of the program are most valuable and user friendly within a classroom setting. Michelle loves being with children and enjoys visits into kindergartens to share the SeeMore Safety program and help educate the teachers on how to best deliver the program for maximum benefit and development of safety risk intelligence for the children involved. When not at KIDS Foundation, Michelle still works as a teacher at a local specialist school.

Leanne Smith
Events Manager
Carlee Grant
Events Manager

Carlee worked for the KIDS Foundation over 10 years ago in an events role and has recently returned to work one day a week on the organisation’s two annual fundraising events; Ride 4 KIDS Coffs to Noosa charity challenge and the Doing it 4 KIDS Noosa Tri. Last year, Carlee came on board just prior to the 2016 Ride 4 KIDS event taking over the reigns from Emma Tuddenham and is now excited to be part of the KIDS team once again.
Carlee’s family is based in Ballarat and between being a mum and keeping somewhat fit and active, she supports a number of businesses with their marketing, communication and events requirements as a management consultant. Experience in local Government, not for profit charity space and private industry has helped Carlee develop a sound understanding of what’s important when building a brand and achieving corporate goals.
Having worked with Susie back when Matt Thiele attended his first Charity Ball, Carlee knows the impact the organisation has and was excited to be part of this inspiring organisation.

Janine Buesnel
Stakeholder Engagement Manager.

Janine joined the KIDS team in August 2017. With an extensive background in regional media she also brings her community service and partnership experience to KIDS. Her husband, Craig, was a rider in the inaugural KIDS Charity Ride – Port to Port back in 2011, and through her involvement in the Local Organising Committee of the Australian Ironman she has been inspired by KIDS founder Susie O’Neill’s tenacity to strive every day and support the KIDS mission to ‘keep children safe and create a better life for those living with serious injury and burns.’

Janine will work closely with our corporate, government and community partners to make sure KIDS are delivering on commitments and importantly ensuring that partnerships are mutually rewarding for everyone.

If you are keen to learn more about KIDS and how we can partner with your organisation please get in touch –


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