The SunnyKids Story

It takes a village to raise a child

At SunnyKids, we provide a social and emotional safety net for thousands of children and their families through our award-winning “Virtual Village” practice model.

We also offer up to 8,000 nights of emergency accommodation, as well as domestic violence and referral counselling, each and every year to local families in need. We partner with health, education and child protection agencies to keep kids safe. Our underlying, driving belief is that any issue is not the child’s problem to fix, nor is it the family’s or the community’s problem alone. It requires a community solution in which everyone takes responsibility and works together, empowering us all. The SunnyKids Virtual Village uses five key areas to identify and secure the support that at-risk children, young people and families need to overcome issues and be their best. Each of these areas is important and they mesh to ensure a child’s wellbeing.

Our vision is a society in which everyone feels safe, belongs and has a chance to reach their full potential.

Our mission is to achieve this by working with children, families and communities to help everyone take responsibility for the future.

Where does the money go?

Frontline services include:

Housing and Homelessness / Safe and Nurturing Relationships / Economic Stability / Success in Education / Access to Good Health Care / Cultural Connectedness / Domestic Violence Support / Behavioural Management / Self Esteem / Resilience / SKIS (SunnyKids in Schools) / Mentoring through Sport / Kids Club / Tiny Tots / Education & Employment Services / Village Buddies.

Operational costs include:

Insurance / ITC / Administration / ICT / Motor Vehicle / Governance / HR / Marketing / Printing and Stationery / Banking / Office Equipment / Postage / Utilities.

In 2018 it cost SunnyKids:

  • $1.5M to deliver 16,000 hours of support
  • $35 to cover a refuge worker’s wage for an additional hour
  • $93.75 an hour to deliver family counselling
  • $600 to support each vulnerable child
  • $100 per student to run our ‘Mentoring Through Sport’ program
  • $1800 to screen, train and match a Mentor for the Village Buddies program

The SunnyKids Virtual Village

Our practice model, known as the SunnyKids Virtual Village incorporates children, young people and families in a broad-based partnership with government, private and community sector stakeholders. The ‘SunnyKids Virtual Village’ uses five key areas to identify and secure the support that at-risk children, young people and families need in order to be their best.



Mark Jamieson
Sunshine Coast Mayor

SunnyKids is honoured to have Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson as our Patron.
Mayor Jamieson has been a proud supporter of SunnyKids over a number of years. In November 2015 Mayor Jamieson launched SunnyKids Local Child Sponsorship Program, with the Mayor signing on as one of the program’s first child sponsors.

Meet the SunnyKids Board

Sally Desch

Sally Desch is the Director of HRM, a local recruitment and human resources agency. Sally founded HRM in 2005 wanting to replace her income as an employee by working for herself. 12 years later, HRM employs 7 staff and 40+ labour hire employees each week. Sally and her family are very active on the Sunshine Coast and wanting to make a difference for the next generation, they have been supporters of Sunnykids for around 3 years. Sally has two young children aged 6 and 8.

Education and credentials:

Sally is a member of the RCSA (Recruitment & Consulting Services of Australia & NZ). She is a member of the Maroochydore, Kawana & Caloundra Chambers of Commerce and she is on the Executive Committee of the Institute of Managers & Leaders (formally The Australian Institute of Management).

Notable achievements:

Sally was the winner at the Caloundra Business Awards for “Professional Business of the Year” only two years after starting her business and finalist for Professional Business Woman of the Year 2008 & 2012.

Mark Aponas

Mark Aponas is a Business Broker based on the Sunshine Coast. Mark has enjoyed a varied corporate career and brings a diverse range of skills to his role as a Business Sales Specialist. Mark’s career has spanned a number of industries over a 40-year history, Banking, Petroleum and Travel. His dealings at all levels of the corporate world have seen him succeed in executive positions particularly in the Petroleum and Travel sectors. Mark has a vast knowledge of the Franchise Industry and has also been involved with major acquisitions within the Corporate Sector. Mark deals with a number of Franchisors on a National Level: Jetts, Clark Rubber, & Sleepy’s and has good working relationships with other leading franchise & licence operations eg: Subway, Nando’s & Matilda/Puma Fuel.

High service and communication levels are a must within the Business Sales sector, “treat people with respect and dignity, listen with the intent to understand and never judge anyone you meet as they all have the potential to be a client.” Mark enjoys selling businesses and helping people fulfil their dreams & aspirations. Mark is a business owner within the sell a business team and is a member of the Australian Institute of Business Brokers and is a Certified Practicing Business Broker (CPBB).

Mark currently holds the position of Secretary to the Board and is also a P100 member.

Victor Woll

Victor Woll has a passion for numbers! Ever since first locking eyes onto his first spreadsheet at the age of 12 it was love at first sight. Since then, Victor has pursued his love of finance (and spreadsheets) gaining exposure in a number of different finance roles, starting out as a junior within the finance department of a German manufacturing company, then working within a taxation & business advisory practice, progressing to corporate auditing and more recently working as financial controller for an international fitness organisation.

Moving to Australia from Germany at a young age allowed Victor to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation that despite superficial appearances, we are all searching for a sense of belonging & encouragement, and the chance to be the best we can.

Education and credentials:

  • Bachelor of Business (Accountancy)
  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand

Education is a vital foundation of allowing us the ability to deal with all life’s lessons and opportunities. The care that SunnyKids provides in ensuring children receive educational support is incredible and imperative. Knowledge is power and I’m thrilled to support such a fantastic cause.

Marilyn Black

​Owner & Manager of Harlequin Blinds & Security, a local Manufacturer and Supplier of Home Products. Marilyn and her husband Julian have owned Harlequin for over 15 years, employ 9 staff and service the Sunshine Coast region. A proud supporter of Sunnykids and supports their belief and practices of improving the outcome to a young person’s life for a better future and to help and support the people in their refuge to better outcomes. Marilyn has three children and a young grandson and is very passionate about helping and supporting people and the community where possible.

Education and credentials:

  • Lorraine Martin Commercial College – Office and Reception Diploma
  • Gateway TAFE Qld – Accounting Certificate
  • University of the Sunshine Coast – Currently Studying Bachelor of Human Services
  • Suncoast Business Network – President
  • The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen – Team Leader

Notable achievements:

  • ​Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network – Finalist 2014

Brendan Mason

As Managing Director of Dalton Drive Early Learning, Brendan’s experience in sales, marketing, finance and human resources along with his wealth of experience gained from founding and operating previous Graphic Design and Marketing agencies spanning 14 years means he is well placed to advise SunnyKids on their brand and marketing strategies.

Living on the Sunshine Coast for over 24 years, Brendan has been an active member of the community, serving on school, chamber of commerce and sporting committees and Boards in various executive roles over 17 years. Brendan is Chairman of our Brand and Marketing sub-committee.

Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert has a wealth of experience in radio and print media. Along with her business partners, Sue purchased Think Office Technology 11 years ago. Sue looks after regional Marketing and Customer relations at Think Office Technology. Think Office Technology has been associated with Sunnykids for over five years now and it gives us great pleasure to continually see the fabulous work SunnyKids does every day for our community.

Sue has served on many boards including the Gladstone promotion and development board for over 7 years. During her time in Gladstone, she was also an active member of the Midday Rotary club and the Gladstone Zonta club.

Sue is a true believer in the fabulous work that Sunnykids does and is 100% committed to helping SunnyKids continue to fulfil its vision of “A society in which everyone feels safe, belongs and has a chance to reach their full potential.”

John Burnie

John is a career banker who currently holds the position of Private Client Director with NAB Private.  He has been a Sunshine Coast resident since the 1990’s.   He is married with two adult sons. John has been a supporter of Sunnykids for a number of years and joins the board with a keen interest in supporting the organisation in fulfilling its aims and objectives.

Annual Report

Read the 2018 SunnyKids Annual Report


ACNC Listing

Find out more on the ACNC website

Financial Report 2017
Financial Report 2018
Annual Information Statement 2017


There are many children who need help and just aren’t getting it. Early intervention is critical to ensure these kids reach their full potential.