If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Vonnie, you will immediately have been drawn to her positive nature, warm smile and humble character. She is a beam of sunshine, spreading acts of kindness to all who cross her path, she is an optimist and will always see the bright side, seeing every challenge as an opportunity, she is selfless and brings out the best in people.
And, if you have ever had the pleasure of working with Vonnie, you will have been inspired by her strong work ethic, her strong advocacy for recognition of Developmental Educators and above all her quest to help young people with disabilities to achieve their goals, embrace their strengths and go on to lead independent, fulfilling and empowered lives.
As a skilled Developmental Educator working within Kudos Services, formerly Child and Youth Services, Vonnie has worked tirelessly over the span of her career across the southern and adult children’s teams and within the Intensive Family Intervention Program (IFIP) implementing positive person centred programs in engaging ways for children presenting with disability, behaviours of concern, complex needs, childhood trauma, attachment disorder, dual disability and impairments in functional adaptive skills.
Vonnie has created countless programs and resources using evidence based practices to engage children so that learning is fun and inspires joy, for otherwise mundane tasks such as learning to share, take turns, to eat and to communicate, to identify and regulate emotions, and learning how to play. Each program is individualised so that each child looks forward to visits with the promise of a fun session, usually involving an engaging activity that she will model so that parents can carry on with long after she leaves. She provides empathy and compassion to parents who have had to retell their stories over and over and has offered support and linkages to the community, going above and beyond to make families feel heard, supported and empowered.
Vonnie is meticulous in collecting data, completing any number of assessments to support the interventions she creates and always follows through with families so that they feel supported every step of the way.
incredible knowledge base and experience will be a loss for our organisation, and her presence will be sorely missed, but she is leaving behind a wonderful legacy – this is evident in the number of successful programs Vonnie has implemented and the positive and lasting difference she has made to the lives of the families she works with. We wish Vonnie all the very best in her retirement and future endeavours.