SDERA Ambassadors

SDERA Ambassadors advocate for the importance of school based resilience, drug and alcohol, and road safety education. All ambassadors bring with them their expertise, passion, commitment and experience to help support parents and young people in the community. In their diverse roles, they inspire students and teachers, conduct professional seminars, advocate on a policy level and educate the general public about the importance of SDERA’s work. They share our objective of helping young people make safer choices so that they can enjoy better mental health, greater physical well being and greater resilience.

The Perth Wildcats are an Australian professional basketball team who have been playing in the National Basketball League since 1982. The team educate children not only on the basketball court, but also in areas such as healthy lifestyle and anti-bullying. The Perth Wildcats continue to inspire and entertain West Australians both off the court and on it, and now do so in front of their biggest crowds in their 30 year history. 

Donna Cross is a Winthrop Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the Head of Health Promotion and Education research at the Telethon Kids Institute. Donna has been awarded over $21m in competitive grants addressing child and adolescent health and wellbeing which has supported 54 applied school and community-based research intervention projects investigating ways to enhance the social and emotional development and reduce bullying and other anti-social behaviour among children and adolescents. She currently leads nine 3 year research projects. In 2012, Donna was awarded the WA ‘Australian of the Year’ for her services to children’s health and wellbeing, and in 2017 was named a WA Scientist of the Year finalist. Donna’s 2017 Churchill Fellowship investigated ways children and young people’s development and learning is affected by their use of technology.

Kylie Catto is President WA Council of State School Organisations (WACSSO). She has been a committed advocate for the role parents play in their child’s education since the late 90’s when her eldest daughter started school. She is one of the 10% of parents who do 90% of the work, crediting her enthusiasm for volunteer involvement to her parents, who were always active members of the community. She was elected President of WACSSO in 2011 and in addition to her extensive voluntary involvement with education she has worked at a Senior High School in a number of roles. Her knowledge, passion and wonderfully outgoing personality make her the perfect Ambassador for SDERA.

Youth ambassadors

These young people were all finalists in the 2017 Young Achiever Awards for their commendable work in the areas of health and wellbeing. 

Pavitra Aran, 27 is the 2017 West Australian Young Achiever of the Year. As a zero2hero volunteer, Pavitra delivered school workshops across WA. She guided the development of the State Government’s Suicide Prevention 2020 Youth Engagement Strategy and founded Young Refugees of WA. As headspace’s first culturally and linguistically diverse youth worker nationwide, Pavitra attracted over 100 culturally diverse people to speak about mental illness and suicide. Pavitra has received numerous awards including SDERA’s Health and Wellbeing Award, a Multicultural Recognition Award and Murdoch University’s Academic Excellence Award. She continues to be an active speaker, panellist, and board member in the WA community.


James Fazio, 17 of Ballajura has taken an outstanding leadership role in the promotion of mental health issues to the students of Ballajura Community College. James is an ambassador of the zero2hero programme, partnering with them on a number of mental health initiatives. In consultation with the Principal and College Deputy, James planned positive mental health days to be incorporated into the school calendar and advocates for the simple message that “it’s okay not to be okay”. James was Ballajura Community College’s School Captain, receiving the Principal’s Award and Future Leaders Award in 2017, and the Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award of 2015.


Jennifer Edwards, 28 of Geraldton, leads the Child and Parent Centre initiative in Rangeway establishing partnerships with schools and the community. She is a Rotary member and Director, and was instrumental in establishing the Geraldton Rotaract for 18-30 year olds in 2017. Jennifer helps manage the Geraldton Beach Volleyball competition, both social and league. She has taken a leading role in coordinating the annual Volleyball Against Violence event for the last three years, raising money for domestic violence prevention in Geraldton. A Type 1 Child Car Restraint Fitter, Jennifer provides her service free of charge through the Child and Parent Centre, Rangeway.


Cory Payne, 21 of New Norcia was critically injured in a serious car crash when he was 17 years old and spent six months in hospital learning to walk and talk again. Two weeks after being discharged he completed the HBF Run for a Reason 4km course and raised over $19,000 for breast cancer research. Cory continues to raise money for various charities. He also raises awareness of driver fatigue by guest speaking at schools and sporting clubs. A video produced by Cory about his journey to recovery has received over 157,000 views on Facebook. He has also won two Australia Day Young Citizenship Awards and a Regional Safety Award.

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