Meet the Youth Engagement Team

Youth Engagement Team- here to support young people in connecting into education and employment

Ben Eastwood

Upper Hutt Youth Engagement Team Leader

My name is Ben Eastwood, I am a registered Social Worker. At Vibe I am a Team Leader in the Youth Engagement Service. I started working at Vibe in 2013 and continue to enjoy working here. I am lucky enough to work alongside my team to support young people to overcome barriers which prevent them from becoming thriving young adults and contributing members of society. The regular and really positive outcomes for young adults is what keeps me motivated and enjoying my job.

    Penoa Tuigamala

    Lower Hutt Youth Engagement Team Leader

    Talofa Lava….

    I joined VIBE early October 2016, having worked in the Government Sector for a number of years holding various leadership roles. I work on the premise that I will not ask the team to do things, that I will not do myself. I foster this by being in the field as much as possible, giving me a better insight to the needs of our Rangatahi, VIBEs business needs, not to mention a great way to build team relationships. I am very fortunate to be leading a group of Youth Coaches who are dedicated in their Mahi, forging key relationships with our young people with the view to empower them to make more informed decisions about their future and equip them with skills for their ‘lumana’i’ future!

    I am looking forward to VIBEs future journey with the Youth of the Hutt Valley!


      Melanie Andrews

      Youth Engagement Team Leader

      Kia ora. My name is Mel. I joined the VIBE team in early July 2017, as Team Leader for the Youth Engagement Service in Lower Hutt. I have worked in a number of roles previously, supporting tamariki and rangatahi. I am a qualified Lawyer. I have held a number of roles within the private sector and I have also worked privately as a Trainer and Consultant. I have worked for the past 7 years within the NGO sector in various roles, including the role of Family Violence Programme Co-ordinator in the Porirua/Kapiti region for children and young people who had experienced violence within their families. For past last 3 years, I held the role of Child Advocate within the Lower Hutt Police Family Safety Team, working with young people and their families in serious family harm situations. I have a broad range of experience liaising with Government Departments, Community Agencies and NGOs in the Hutt Valley and Wellington regions. I am passionate about advocating for youth rights and ensuring that young people have a voice. It is wonderful to see young people growing in their mana and sense of purpose and as they gain new life-skills and work towards achieving their personal and academic goals. I am excited to be leading the NEET Youth Coaches in their work as they mentor and build relationships with young people. I value the opportunity to be a part of the wider VIBE team, who work within the vibrant community of young people in the Hutt Valley.
      Nga mihi nui

        Antonia Ridley

        Youth Engagement Social Worker

        I have worked at Vibe since August 2012. I grew up in the Hutt Valley and love working back in this area with Young People.
        I am a qualified social worker and work alongside youth on the Young Parent Payment and Youth Payment.

          Elodie Dol

          Youth Engagement Coach

          Hi my name is Elodie and I am a Youth coach based in Vibe Upper Hutt. I am a qualified counsellor and I have 6 years of experience working with young people. I work mostly with young people in Upper Hutt College and Lower Hutt Capital Training. In my work with young people what I really enjoy is journeying with individuals as they discover their potential. What I like about working for Vibe is that we work to empower young people! We help them gain the skills and confidence they need to reach for what they want in life, and to become independent and powerful young members of society.

            Jodi Breukers

            Youth Engagement Coach

            My name is Jodi and I have been working with vibe since 2013 as a Youth Coach. I am a qualified, registered Social Worker and started working with young people in 2008. I am really passionate about the work that I do - I love being able to walk alongside so many awesome, resilient young people and believe that each and every one of them is capable of achieving greatness!

              Lance Fa’afoi

              Youth Engagement Coach

              Hi my name is Lance and I am a NEET Youth Coach in the Youth Services Team at Vibe. I have been with Vibe since March 2015. I really do enjoy working alongside young people helping them to make the most of their education, to reach their full potential and pursue their dreams.

                Letitia Keepa

                Youth Engagement Social Worker

                Kia ora Koutou

                Ko Letitia Keepa Toku Ingoa

                I have been at Vibe in the Youth engagement team for a year now.  I am a social worker/youth coach and work with Youth receiving the Youth Payment and Young parent payment, based at the Upper Hutt site.

                I completed my social work degree at Whitireia and am currently studying Te Putaketanga te reo maori at Te wananga O Aoteoroa.

                I have worked as a social worker for about 5 years.  I have spent about 4 years working with families, but it was a passion of mine to work with youth, so here I am at Vibe.

                  Neill Ballantyne

                  Youth Engagement Coach

                  I have been working for Vibe since January 2016 and LOVE IT! I have previous worked for World Vision as the 40 Hour Famine dude and have worked at the University of Otago supporting LGBT students. I love getting out into nature on adventures but also like chilling at home catching up on Netflicks! I believe that everyone has huge potential which is just waiting to be unleashed on the world.

                    Sara Hewson

                    Youth Engagement Coach

                    Hi my name is Sara and I have been working at Vibe since September 2013, first as a YP/YPP Social Worker and more recently as the Support Services Team Leader. I have a BSW and am fully registered with the SWRB. Working for Vibe has been a dream job for me as I love young people and get so much out of their enthusiasm, creativity, humour and energy. In my spare time I am a proud nerd and I love reading, movies and music.



                      Sue Murray

                      Youth Engagement Administrator

                      I have been working at Vibe since October 2014. My core role at Vibe is coordinating all incoming Youth Payment / Young Parent Payment applications within Wellington and Hutt Valley, and supporting young people in all aspects of this process.

                        Ash Reuben

                        Youth Engagement Administrator

                        I have been working at Vibe since Feb 2013. I am based full-time in Upper Hutt Vibe.
                        Being the first point of contact for Vibe is a big job.. I deal with face to face inquires, over the phone inquires, supporting the clinical team and everything in between!

                        I enjoy spending time with my family/friends and in my spare time my partner and I run a car club which is a lot of fun and a cool way to meet new people.

                          Rebecca Cottis

                          Youth Coach

                          Hello- I’m Rebecca and I am a Youth Coach here at Vibe. I started in June 2016. I really enjoy my job and working with young people is great fun! With my role I support young people with whatever is going on for them. Whether it’s talking about what’s going on for them in their life, help with school stuff, looking at study or work options and careers paths and what may be the best option for them. You name it and I can probably support and help you through it. If not I can point us in the right direction!
                          I am a registered Counsellor as before I started working at Vibe I was studying at WelTec. I love walking alongside and supporting people and know how nice it can be to have someone there in your life to be supportive and accepting of you.
                          In my spare time I enjoy relaxing and watching a good movie or TV series or getting in to a book, sitting in the sun, cooking & baking yummy things, going to markets and I love going to comedy shows when they are around and having a good laugh!

                            Sarah Withers

                            Youth Coach

                            Hiya I’m Sarah I have been at Vibe since 2013 working within the Youth Engagement Service and I love my Job and Vibe!!

                            Being a young Mother myself and unable to live at home from a young age, I have a massive passion for advocating with young people to ensure they are accessing the full supports available being a part of their journey and being motivated by the resilience by the young people we work with.

                            I enjoy spending time with my family, eating really yummy food and the beach (=

                              Andrew Leilua

                              Youth Engagement Coach

                              My Name is Andrew Leilua and I have just started working in the Neet Team for Vibe, my passion is working with young people and seeing the great potential that’s within them come out through positive decision making and where they position themselves in the near future. I have just become a first time Father and I am absolutely loving the experience that a Father has for his children. I look forward to working with the young people here at Vibe.

                                Ana Alesana

                                Youth Coach

                                Bula vinaka, Malo ni,
                                I joined the Vibe team in July 2017, as a Youth Coach, and am based at Wainuiomata High School and Kokiri Marae.
                                I am passionate about helping Youth to discover and fulfil their potential and love that I am able to do this with Vibe.
                                My role is to support, encourage, mentor and advocate for Youth so that they are equipped with the tools to achieve their goals. At the same time I am able to learn so much from those that I work with and am constantly learning and growing.


                                  Fiona Rushe

                                  Youth Coach

                                  Hi my name is Fiona, and I have just joined the fantastic team at Vibe In September 2017. I am originally from a small town in the West of Ireland and arrived in NZ in March 2017. I qualified as a social worker in 2011. Since then I have had various roles across Ireland; these included working with individuals whom for a variety of reasons, found themselves without a home. I have also done a lot of work with individuals with various complex needs – mainly those on the autistic spectrum and also people with intellectual disabilities. My most recent role in Ireland involved supporting people whom were making the transition from living in care to living independently. I am really passionate about helping people reach their goals and to fulfil their full potential. I truly believe that everyone can achieve anything, once they have self-belief, and sometimes a little guidance and support. In my spare time I love to cook, watch a movie, go to gigs/concerts, I love yoga and going to the gym. I am really looking forward to engaging with and supporting the young people in Hutt Valley.

                                    Natasha Love

                                    Youth Coach

                                    Hi I’m Tash
                                    I have spent the last 12 years as an early childhood teacher and am now following my other dream of becoming a social worker to work alongside children and youth.

                                    I am excited to be on this new journey working as a youth coach at Vibe. I am working with Youth receiving the Young Parent Payment and the Youth Payment.

                                    I feel honoured that I am able to walk alongside Youth while encouraging and supporting them through this part of their life journey to achieve their future goals and dreams. “


                                      Ashleigh Bolton

                                      Youth Coach


                                      Kia ora, my name is Ashleigh. I started at Vibe as a Youth Coach in November 2017, alongside working as a Youth Worker in Hutt Valley High School. I am excited to be part of the team and to support young people to discover and fulfil their potential in life.
                                      I am passionate about helping young people discover activities they can do for self-care. For me, I enjoy craft and getting out in nature.

                                        Renee Love-Paul

                                        Youth Coach

                                        Kia ora koutou,
                                        I started a new year with working at Vibe in January 2018. I look forward to walking beside all rangatahi in Te Awakairangi in enable them to realise their potential, plan and achieve their dreams and aspirations of becoming a future leader in their whanau, community, iwi and hapu.
                                        Previous to coming on board with Vibe I was employed with the whanau at Te Rau Matatini for 4 years. I had the privilege to take on various adviser, co-ordinator roles and finally as their Scholarships Project Manager and training co-ordinator. In these roles I had the opportunity to support local and national community groups, key stakeholders of a addiction treatment sector internship programme, iwi, and tauira and tauira mahi studying in various Mental Health & AoD tertiary qualifications around Aotearoa.
                                        Prior to working for the whanau at Te Rau Matatini, I was employed by the Ministry of Social Development, Work & Income - Porirua for 7 years as a case manager. I developed a passion for working with our whanau with mental health and addiction both in the community and under the care of CCDHB services.
                                        In my spare time I love chilling with my whanau & friends, supporting local community groups and clubs with administration support; co-ordination support; promotional material and events support.
                                        I am passionate about: music, karaoke, gardening, creative arts and crafts just to name a few.
                                        ‘Hapaitia te ara tika pumau ai te rangatiratanga mo nga uri whakatipu’.
                                        Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations.

                                        Nga mihi



                                          Free confidential health & support services for people 10 to 24

                                          Lower Hutt: 04 566 0525

                                          4 Daly Street Lower Hutt

                                          Upper Hutt: 04 528 6261

                                          Unit 7, Building 10, 68-70 Ward Street Upper Hutt

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