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THE

TEAM

"Autism … offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by"

Dr Colin Zimbleman

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HELEN WHELAN BA (Drama), RN
Founder

Helen has a diverse background that includes being a registered nurse for 12 years and a marketing and business development Manager in healthcare for over 20 years.  She has an undergraduate degree in Drama and is the mother of a 24 year old son on the autism spectrum and is currently engaged in post-graduate studies at the Autism Centre of Excellence, Griffith University, Queensland.  As an autism advocate, Helen is the founder of Code Blue for Autism and responsible for the design and development of the Chill programs. She is passionate about helping Chill participants to learn about themselves, their abilities and how to be the best they can be.

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MICHAEL WHELAN PhD
Director

Michael is an academic, writer, musician and autism advocate. In addition to his memoir, The Other Country: A Father’s Journey with Autism which was published by Pan Macmillan in 2008, Michael also wrote the documentary film What are you doing?  This educational film for school audiences on the topic of social inclusion and autism was screened at the United Nations in New York as part of World Autism Day activities in April, 2013.  In 2014 Michael joined Autism Queensland where he developed Studio G, a post-school transition program for young people with autism.  Michael is now Associate Professor in Music and Sound in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology where he continues his work supporting young people on the autism spectrum. Michael is currently lead investigator on the Autism CRC’s Utilisation Project.

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NICK CILENTO BA, BSc(Hons)
Creative Director

Nick is an expert in physical theatre, circus and drama workshop facilitation. He specialises in drama facilitation and has extensive experience in supporting young people on the spectrum.  Nick loves dumplings and paw paw milk!  His favourite TV show is Taboo and he is really good at making things with wood.  He loves to make art with his 3D pen and is a keen gardener.  The most important thing in his life is his family and being healthy.

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LISA AITKEN BAM, JP(Qual)
Manager - Chill Programs

Lisa has more than 20 years of management and administrative experience in the health care sector and holds a Bachelor of Applied Management, an Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management and a Diploma of Business. Travel and reading are at the top of Lisa’s list when time allows, as well as spending time with family and friends. Lisa is passionate about working for organisations that make a real and positive difference to people’s lives and is proud to be a part of the Code Blue for Autism team.

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TRISH STEWART 
Manager - Chill Families

Trish has a background in project management in publishing and administration in the medical field. She studied fine art at university, graduating with honours and then spent some years living and travelling overseas. She loves cooking, growing food, art and animals. 

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MELANIE SANCHEZ BA
Psych(Hons)
Manager - Enrolments| Accounts

Melanie is an honours graduate in psychology who is passionate about mental well-being and helping others. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, hiking, reading, listening to music, and watching Seinfeld. She also loves to play basketball with her friends. Melanie believes in maintaining a positive and enthusiastic outlook on life. 

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LACHLAN WHELAN BFA
(Film, TV and Media Production)
Program Development | Facilitator

Having grown up with an older brother on the spectrum, Lachie in his element working as a peer mentor at Chill and absolutely loves his job! Lachie has a Bachelor degree in Film and TV and loves making documentaries and music videos. As a side job, Lach loves working as a Bartender in West End and makes a hell of a cocktail. In his spare time you’ll find him either writing and playing music with his band or rock climbing at his local bouldering gym.

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SARAH STANKE BFA
(Dance) Distinction
Manager - Social Media | Digital Design | Facilitator

Sarah is a dancer and actor recently graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Drama and is currently studying for her Master’s of Teaching degree at QUT. Sarah has a wealth of experience in creative workshop delivery working with young people from developing countries and refugee communities. She loves plants but the feeling isn't mutual, her happy place is her family farm and you'll find her roller-dancing the weekends away.

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ZAC BOULTON Adv Dip(Acting), BAppTheatre
Facilitator

Zachary Boulton is a proud Brisbane based actor, director, playwright and teacher. Zac also completed an Advanced Diploma of Acting at University of Canberra and a Bachelor of Applied Theatre at Griffith University. Zac has an extensive performance background in theatre, television and film.  He has been engaged as a guest artist teacher at Yeronga State High School and is a seasonal acting tutor at Queensland University of Technology.  Zac loves working with young adults and seeing them reach their potential.  He loves working with Chillies and being a part of their successes in Chill!

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HARRISON PAROZ
Chill Out Manager & Facilitator

Harrison is a musical larrikin. Born & raised in Toowoomba, he’s a big fan of rainbow lorikeets, Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, and telling stories through song. Although he works as an acoustic musician, Harry has many strings to his bow, including theatre-making, writing poetry, stage management, magic, juggling, clowning, and about a dozen other things. He loves cups of tea, good conversations, and is thrilled to be a part of the Code Blue team.

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DANIEL SIMPSON BA
(Theatre & Acting)
Facilitator | New Program Development

Daniel graduated from USQ with a Bachelor of Creative Arts majoring in Theatre and Acting. Born and raised in Brisbane, Daniel has a passion for art that is based and created in this amazing city. He also loves to play soccer, also known as football, as well as many other sports that keep him active and healthy. Daniel is so excited to be a part of the amazing Chill Team.

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HELEN CASSIDY
Facilitator

Helen is a dynamic and compelling teacher who brings a wealth of training and global experience to her workshops. Her breadth of training and experience in acting, movement, physical theatre, voice, clown and character give her a well- balanced approach and vision. Helen has led workshops for high schools, primary schools, corporations, industry peers and at festivals; and can easily tailor workshops to meet her clients/students needs. Her directing experience means she can also facilitate the creation of new work. 

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BELLA ABRAHAM Dip (Theatre/VisArts)
Facilitator &
Peer Mentor

Bella is an artist and slam poet with a background and diploma in theatre and Visual art. She has a roaring passion for helping people through art therapy and spoken word poetry. Bella enjoys road trips in her hippy van ( miss honey bea), eating cheeky vegan takeout food,  daydreaming about travelling, salt lamps and watching comedy shows.

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LUCY MCDOUGALL-SAGNER
Senior Peer Mentor | Facilitator

Lucy is studying a Bachelor of Social Work and has been with Code Blue for 4 years. She lives with her main man, her puppy Lamar and loves cooking, gardening and spending time with her friends and family. She loves getting outdoors and trying new things. She loves to chill and of course loves Chill! 

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EVE CARROLL BFA (Dance) Distinction
Facilitator &
Peer Mentor

Eve graduated from QUT with a Bachelor Fine Arts in Dance and Drama. She brings experience from her work in a broad range of community arts development projects; including within developing countries and local community ventures. Eve is passionate about creatively engaging and bringing people from a variety of backgrounds and experience to the arts.  Another of Eve’s passions is to explore new places, particularly sampling their food and meet new people.

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KYLA LEVI 
Facilitator

Kyla is currently a Fine Art student at Griffith’s Queensland College of Art majoring in Printmaking. She is a mother to 6 children aged between 21 and 6. Prior to starting a family Kyla was a VJ (host) on the now defunct Channel [V], Australia’s first 24 hour music television station. She loves film, gardening and visits to the art gallery. Kyla is passionate about creativity and connectivity with empathy and compassion being her top values.  

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TORI CARROLLBFA (Visual Arts)
Peer Mentor
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​Tori is an artist who graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art and Drama. She loves all things that allow artistic and creative expression. When she’s not making art, Tori loves adventuring, travelling, laughing and making memories with her loved ones.

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JERRY MCGIFFIN
Peer Mentor

Jerry is the 3rd biggest Judy Garland fan (South of the Brisbane River), who's always keen for Nando's. In his spare time he enjoys watching sad movies, reading, drawing, and listening to Oasis. In the future he hopes to achieve ultimate enlightenment or learn how to juggle. Jerry loves to chill and loves being apart of the chill team.

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THOMAS FORD
Peer Mentor

Tom is a film student crossed with a musician, studying at QUT. He spends most of his time climbing and jamming out with his band, and loves getting out and about with his friends. Almost as much as he loves staying indoors, eating pizza, and playing video games! He hopes to be either a filmmaker for National Geographic, or a semi-successful musician.

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ILDA FETAHAGIC
Facilitator &
Peer Mentor

Ilda is 21 years old and is a business student at QUT. She comes from a big Bosnian family, so food and football is always on her mind. Ilda loves to have a good laugh, and be surrounded by positive, coffee-drinking people. If she isn’t talking about cats she’ll happily tell you how much she loves Chill!

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ANIWAY AQUALIZAN
Peer Mentor
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Aniway is an Arts and Social Science student from UQ, majoring in Art History and Community Development. Her experience migrating from the Philippines with her family has shaped much of her passion in finding ways that art can connect people across borders. When she’s not writing essays, reading, or at work, you’ll find her either spending time with her family, making art or enjoying food. She enjoys learning and growing alongside new people!

CLARA GROSSMAN
Peer Mentor
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Clara is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychology at QUT. She was born and raised in Germany and has developed an inexhaustible curiosity for learning about other cultures and people. She enjoys yoga, being outdoors and exploring new places. Apart from that she loves being part of the Chill family. Facilitating growth and confidence in Chillies makes Clara feel passionate like nothing else. 

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HAMISH MCDONALD
Peer Mentor
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Hamish is a cat lover and feels a kinship with cats in their shared love of sleeping all day and fear of loud noises. He is the type of person to fall face first into a book and not be seen for a week afterwards. He constantly finds songs he loves, listens to it nonstop for about a fortnight, then never wants to hear it again. About 60% of his jokes land. 

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ANDREW SCHAFFER
Peer Mentor
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Andrew is 21 years old and is studying a Bachelor of Music online part-time at the University of New England. He loves all things technology related, enjoys building PCs and playing video games. He also enjoys hanging out with friends, whether that be in person or virtually. Andrew enjoys going on camping trips and spending time listening to music.  

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EMMA FORD
Peer Mentor

 
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Emma is studying a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (psychology) and is a big lover of cats! Her two fur babies are named, Gigi and Holly. Emma enjoys hiking, yoga, playing tennis, and spending time with her family and friends. One of her passions is travelling with one of her biggest adventures is being spending a year abroad in Italy. This is where Emma learnt to appreciate and develop a love for exploring new cultures.

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BOUDICCEA NORRIS
Peer Mentor
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Boudiccea is an avid digital artist and painter. She loves to paint and create images as a way of self expression. You will also often find her wearing clothes she has made herself, as she loves to sew and create new things. She studied singing briefly abroad and is passionate about music helping people to express themselves and connecting through song. She is thrilled to be a new addition to the Chill team.

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ALANA NOWAKOWSKI
Peer Mentor

Alana lives the student life, studying Occupational Therapy, which she loves! She’s a restless and inquisitive soul so loves adventures with friends and constantly learning (documentaries are her fav, nerdy I know). She believes there’s nothing a good song or walk in nature can’t fix. She is super social and loves connecting with people, so will happily chat about all the things you’re passionate about!

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JESSE DOMIC
Peer Mentor
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Jesse is a student at QUT currently studying his undergraduate in Psychology. A Kalkadoon man, constant traveling throughout his life has led him back to his birthplace, Brisbane, where he is pursuing a new life journey working with people who need a little support. Jesse’s passions are his work, sport and music. Watching Chillies break barriers is the reason he loves Chill. 

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CALEB STODDARD
Peer Mentor
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Caleb is a skilled musician who is studying a certificate III in individual disability support through Tafe, Queensland. He has a passion for connecting with people, listening and watching them grow. Caleb loves playing his guitar, making art, riding his bike, being silly and socialising with friends. He is excited to join the Chill team and learn and grow with our Chillies.

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STEPHEN CLAIR
Peer Mentor
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Stephen has a passion to help people and is currently studying to become a Psychologist. Stephen is interested in meditation, Taekwondo and gaming. Oh and he loves animals!

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TOM MEGGIT
Peer Mentor
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Tom is a UQ student studying a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences (Honours). Born and raised in Brisbane, Tom’s favourite activity has got to be getting outdoors, whether it be climbing some crazy cliffs or a lazy day surfing in the heat. Above all things though Tom values his friends and family the most. Tom is keen to be part of the Chill team!