Meet the Team

Learn more about our friendly, creative & inspired team

The Team at Strong Communities believes that strong collaboration combined with honesty and creativity can have long term positive impacts on the community and change the lives of those we seek to empower.

Who are we

Strong Communities Ltd. is a not for profit social enterprise that was born from the deep understanding of the challenges that families and communities face in regional and remote areas.

Our mission

Strong Communities mission is to support regional communities’ wellbeing through the provision of services for children, families and organisations.

Our vision

Our Vision is To have thriving and empowered communities, where everyone has equal access to services; regardless of location, culture, gender, faith and socio-economic background.

Meet our friendly team

Crystal

Crystal Robson

Co-Founder
Senior Program Coordinator & Facilitator

Crystal has many years of experience in the Community Service Sector, Training and Development, Life Coaching and Regional Operations Management. Crystal is a registered and experienced facilitator of the following evidence-based programs:

  • Circle of Security® Parenting™
  • Circle of Security Classroom
  • 1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching
  • Engaging Adolescents
  • Seasons for Growth; Child and Young People
  • Seasons for Growth Parenting
  • Seasons for Growth Adults Program
  • Tuning into Kids
  • Stormbirds
  • LOVE BiTES 

Crystal is currently completing her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at CQU and has a strong professional reputation for engaging her group participants and collaborating with local professional networks to ensure that all participants get the most out of their experience in her sessions. Crystal lives in the picturesque Boyne Valley with her husband and children. Living in a regional area of Queensland means Crystal is driven to ensure that no matter your location you can still have opportunities to be empowered and educated through our programs and services. Driven by passion and empathy, Crystal is determined to empower parents and children with the knowledge and skills to feel strong and thrive when faced with challenge

Charmaine

Charmaine Tolhurst

Co-Founder
General Manager & Facilitator

Charmaine is a passionate Operations Manager and facilitator with 20 years experience managing, training and supporting not-for-profits and community groups in Australia, USA and the United Kindom.Charmaine is a trained facilitator of the following evidence-based programs:

  • Circle of Security® Parenting™
  • Circle of Security Classroom
  • Seasons for Growth; Child and Young People
  • Tuning into Kids
  • Engaging Adolescents
  • Love Bites

Charmaine is currently enrolled at CQU where a Bachelor of Business will build upon her Diploma of Retail Management which she has used to support community groups, youth and retail training in regional areas; which is close to her heart, coming from a small community. Currently living in Gladstone with her husband and 2 children, Charmaine spends her spare time camping with family and friends throughout Queensland and volunteering at Gladstone State High School and the Mt. Maurice Rural Fire Brigade. She is keen to share her knowledge on volunteer recruitment, retention and team building and enjoys implementing creative approaches to engage volunteers and youth and understands that no single approach is right for every person.

Natalia

Natalia Muszkat

Co-Founder
Director & Facilitator

Natalia is an experienced manager, facilitator and community development professional. Natalia has a number of qualifications, including a Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety (with Distinction) and a Diploma of Business (Governance). Natalia is a trained facilitator of evidence-based programs:

  • Circle of Security® Parenting™,
  • 1-2-3 Magic® & Emotion Coaching
  • Parents as Teachers
  • Seasons for Growth; Child and Young People
  • LOVE BiTES.

Other relevant education that has shaped Natalia include Partnering EssentialsTM programs and Social Return on Investment (SROI) practitioner training. Most recently, Natalia also completed training in Foundations of Directorship with the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Engagement Essentials with IAP2 (International Association of for Public Participation). Natalia lives in Gladstone with her partner and 2 young boys. She also serves in a number of community organisations and advisory bodies such the Queensland Country Women’s Association, the Gladstone Regional Council Reconciliation Action Plan Reference Group and the Queensland Multicultural Advisory Council.

Lohnet-SC

Lohnet Kahukuranui

Program Facilitator

For Lohnet, people and community is at the very forefront of the roles she has held within the community services sector. With over nine years experience within the industry in case management and recently as a Project Officer for a domestic and family violence project, Lohnet has enjoyed working closely alongside families and young people. She is also an experienced facilitator in the following evidence-based programs:

  • LOVE BiTES
  • Seasons for Growth Child and Young Person Program

Lohnet is currently completing her Diploma in Community Services which will formalise the work she has held in New Zealand and Australia and she has plans to continue her education further in this field.

During the week you will find Lohnet on the sidelines cheering for one of her three children on the sports field, volunteering for the Junior Rugby League club that her children participate in or gathering with her Maori whanau in Rockhampton where singing songs and speaking Te Reo Maori allows her to maintain a connection with her home of Aotearoa. Lohnet enjoys thinking outside of the box to communicate ideas and she also values collaboration where, in Maori, she uses the following proverb to help guide her when working with others: “Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.” “With your basket, With my basket, The people shall prosper.”

Cassie

Cassie Farias

Program Facilitator

Cassie is a qualified Social Worker with 12 years experience, graduating from the University of Queensland in 2007.

Cass began working in community development in Warburton, a remote Aboriginal community in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Western Australia. She has worked across Queensland from Brisbane to Central and Far North Queensland. She has also worked overseas in the Philippines, India and Costa Rica.

Her social work roles have included facilitating Protective Behaviours in primary schools, as a child counsellor offering play therapy as well as in various secondary schools with Love Bites. Cassie’s most recent areas of experience have included counselling and working with adolescents and adults who have experienced domestic and family violence at a Youth and Family Care agency, offering crisis counselling, crisis accomodation, court support and women’s and men’s groups. Cassie is an experienced facilitator in:

  • Love Bites
  • Circle of Security Parenting
  • Circle of Security Intensive training
  • 123 Magic & Emotional Coaching

Outside of social work Cass has taught beginner Circus Arts with children, teens and adults and has completed some study in Yoga and Ayurveda. Cassie is Mum to a baby boy, she and her Costa Rican partner protect a section of primary rainforest on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica, an important area for jaguar conservation.

TraceySmith-SC

Tracey Smith

Program Facilitator

Meet Tracey Smith one of our Program Facilitators here at Strong Communities.

With over 20 years of experience, Tracey has a real art for engaging individuals and groups in a wide range of projects including major events, art mentoring, workshops, project development, healing work and coaching.

Tracey is qualified in Certificate IV Training and Assessment and a facilitator of the evidenced based programs: Seasons for Growth; Child and Young Person Program, Seasons for Growth; Parent Program, and Drum Beat.

Tracey’s intent is to inspire, connect, share and empower; often using creativity as a joyful vehicle for connection, education, problem solving, expression and healing.

Tracey has a real passion for the environment and is the proud Founder of the Gladstone Creative Recycling Centre. Passionate about many worthy causes Tracey has Fundraised over $30,000 for local organisations including Australian Animals Care and Education, and Prostrate Cancer Foundation. Tracey is an award winning small business owner and we are very excited to have her as part of our team!

If you would like to connect with Tracey you can contact info@strongcommunties.org.au

Maria-SC

Maria Luisa Parnell

Crèche Coordinator

Maria is Strong Communities Crèche Coordinator and provides child minding services for parents attendee our workshops.

Maria has a certificate III in Childhood education and is working towards completing her Diploma of Early Childhood Education. Maria is originally from the Philippines and loves living in Gladstone. In her spare time Maria loves to spend time with her friends and family, going to the beach and camping.

Parents can be assured Maria is keeping their little ones safe, entertained and comforted while they attend our in-person programs.

FAQ's

Strong Communities was founded from an inspired and passionate desire to do more for our communities. We have established a range of services to empower people regardless of location, culture, gender, faith and socio-economic background.

View our workshops here to find the right program for you and then register your interest. A friendly team member will then be in touch to confirm your spot.

Want to be involved? Our volunteers are valued members of our Strong Communities team. Get in touch with us here if you’d like to offer your value and time to help us make lasting positive impacts in the community.