Karla Sanders | CEO

Karla Sanders founded Sticks ‘n Stones in 2013 alongside 30 passionate teenagers committed to empowering other young people to understand the part we all play in stopping bullying.

A Primary trained teacher, Karla spent 8 years overseas in a number of roles from classroom teaching in West Sydney in an Islamic School to working with Local Authorities to integrate Education, Health, Social Care and community groups as part of Extended Schools legislation.

Since 2013, Karla has been the grown up that supports our young people and our vision for a Bully Free NZ where EVERY (young) person is accepted and respected for who they are while leading the growth and development of our work.

She has committed hundreds and hundreds of unpaid hours to growing our organisation and is the ‘glue’ that keeps everything together.

Jennifer Huddleston | Operations Lead

Jennifer  joined the amazing Sticks ‘n Stones team in 2020 as the Administrative Super Star. She was so great that we were excited to offer her a new role in 2021 supporting all of our Community Facilitators and supporting the organisation and delivery of our programmes.

A former Secondary School and Primary School teacher, she is a firm believer in the work Sticks ‘n Stones does for our young people and communities. By empowering our young people to make change, we see young leaders emerge and follow their ideas through

Passionate about empowering young people and giving them a voice she even gets to facilitate a couple of her own groups of awesome young people in Central Otago.

She keeps busy with her young family on their small farm as well as other roles within the community. A firm believer of lifelong learning Jennifer is always pursuing the next opportunity to expand her knowledge and understanding of the world we live in.

Shantel Hape | Accounts Manager

Shantel moved to the Lakes District in 2018 from Christchurch.

She and her family moved here for their exterior cladding business. She has worked as a Legal Administrator for ten years and is enjoying assisting Sticks ‘n Stones and benefiting from working from home with her four boys.

She loves exploring the Otago district on bike rides and walks with her whanau.

Community Facilitators

Our Community Facilitators are a group of highly motivated individuals who work directly with young people in our partner schools. They are the ones delivering our programmes to our Jr. Ambassadors, Ambassadors and Advocates. This rock star team works hard building relationships with our young people, schools and community; empowering our young people to be involved in decision making, planning and delivery around changing attitudes around bullying and equipping them with the skills and strategies needed to recognize and respond positively to bullying behaviours, as well as understanding the impact of their words and actions. Keep an eye out for these amazing individuals in schools across Central Otago and watch the magic unfold as our young people take lead in making a bullying a thing of the past in Aotearoa.

Barry Grehan | Community Facilitator

Barry is from the Far North. The Very Far North. Ireland. To escape the shackles of his old banking life he decided to go as far away from home as he could.

Now, as our Community Facilitator in Wānaka, he’s encouraging playful kōrero that dives beneath our daily façade and he’s connecting the dots between young people and the community around them.

He also sings. In the shower. On the stage. And out on the streets.

Cheryl Campbell | Community Facilitator

Cheryl is from Southland and moved to Central Otago 3 years ago. A chartered accountant by trade she has a head for numbers but is a big kid at heart.

She has a wee dog named Harry who is a constant companion and goes on adventures with her.

Cheryl has a creative streak and enjoys carving and spends her spare time fishing and diving down south and riding her bike on the rail trail.

Connor Schmidt | Community Facilitator

Connor hails from the US calling Colorado and Alaska home and has been in New Zealand for two years primarily working in cafes. His experience around working with youth primarily comes from working at a family planning clinic and teaching healthy relationships, substance misuse prevention, sex education, and building resilience in teens.

He has also led a community based violence prevention program that worked to prevent domestic violence/sexual assault in the community and using similar bystander intervention techniques to prevent bullying in schools.

Connor enjoys making and drinking coffee, gaming, writing stories for Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, hiking, running, and reading.

Flavia Bustos | Community Facilitator

Originally from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, Flavia moved to New Zealand in 2009 looking for a different lifestyle away from the city lights. Instantly, she fell in love with Aotearoa.

With an Educational Psychologist degree resting in a drawer, Flavia worked for over a decade in the hospitality industry. Until one day, the drawer screamed for freedom. She can now happily say that she is working as a teacher aide at Mount Aspiring College in the special needs department and with Sticks ‘n Stones as a Community Facilitator.

Flavia is loving the opportunity to work with young people, and with passionate people in the community, towards a common goal: to make the world a better place.

Penny Bolton | Community Facilitator

Penny, is originally from the sunny Hawkes Bay but has been in Queenstown since 2002. She loves the region, all it has to offer and the sense of community that comes with living in Central Otago.

Originally trained as an Occupational Therapist, Penny and her partner, own and run The Playground, a business that is about giving people permission to play while connecting in a group environment.

Through this business and being the mum of two exceptional boys, she has discovered a passion working with young people, and empowering them to be the best versions of themselves. She is thrilled to be a part of the Sticks ‘n Stone team.