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.

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

Nicholas is our Education Manager with 15 years experience teaching. Joining KIDS in 2017 he upholds the motto of #Buildingstronglives and has represented the KIDS Foundation at the Noosa Triathlon in 2017 and like others in the KIDS Family has been inspired to complete an Ironman. Nicholas brings his teaching expertise and technological knowledge to the KIDS team. Within his role he overseas the distribution of the SeeMore safety education program which is in  kindergartens and Early Learning Centres across Australia as well as apsects of the Virtual Classroom. You may see him out in a local Kindergarten delivering the program or early in the morning training for his next event. When not at KIDS, Nicholas can be found Teaching in a classroom or hanging out with his wife and kids. 

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.

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.


Erynne Trotter
Injury Recovery Program Co-ordinator

Erynne was a longtime supporter of the KIDS Foundation before taking on the Injury Recovery Coordinator role in May 2018. Volunteering at her first KIDS camp back in 2012, Erynne was not only inspired by the amazing people she met but became immediately “hooked”, finding the experience truly rewarding and life changing.
As a registered psychologist, Erynne understands the importance of educating and empowering others to be the best version of themselves and is particularly passionate about supporting and empowering young people.

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