Our Leaders

Deirdre Hanna, Founder & Senior Counsellor

As Founder of Hopewell Hospice (1994) and Paradise Kids (1996), Deirdre has many years of experience working in chaplaincy, palliative care and with children dealing with grief and loss.

Deirdre worked as an Ecumenical Chaplain in the Gold Coast Hospital and became concerned for people unable to be at home at the end of life. This inspired development of Hopewell Hospice as a home-style residential palliative care facility. She later gave expression to her concern for children dealing with grief, loss and illness after the death of a parent by initiating the services of Paradise Kids.

Her qualifications include Bachelor of Theology (BTh); Churchill Fellow (Spiritual Care of Cancer Patients, 1995); Ecumenical Chaplaincy Certificate; Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership; Certificate in Transpersonal Psychotherapy and Counselling; Doctoral studies in Doctor of Ministry Program at the University of Creation Spirituality; Multi-Disciplinary Certificate in Hospice Care, St Christopher’s London; Certificate in Mindfulness Meditation from the Massachusetts Medical School Mind-Body Stress Reduction Clinic; Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics; and Diploma in Swedish Massage. 

Deirdre wrote the Paradise Kids Program in 1996 after travelling to many parts of the United Kingdom and North America on a Churchill Fellowship to gather information about children's hospice and grief and loss programs. She led the PK programs over many years starting with just a small group of 6 children. Paradise Kids has been adapted to follow William Worden's four tasks of mourning, to suit our own culture and cultures of children from different parts of the world. Deirdre loves studying in order to enrich the lives of others. She volunteered at Lifeline for ten years as a trained Telephone Counsellor and Supervisor of Counsellors. Deirdre is passionate about children, education, spirituality, wellness, healthcare and all things Integral. Currently, she is managing Paradise Kids to pass on her wealth of knowledge and passion to all who attend our programs and courses. For her full story please see the Our Founders section of this website.


Tomoko Sakai, Services Coordinator & Senior Counsellor

Tomoko has made Australia her home for past 18 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Psychology and a Master of Journalism as well as Master of Social Science in Health Practice and a Master of Counselling UQ. With a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law & Practice Tomoko has worked as a paralegal in law firms on the Gold Coast managing cases referred by Legal Aid and Domestic Violence duties. Tomoko is currently working on attaining a Certified Neuropsychotherapy Provider.

Tomoko passion is making a difference in the areas of domestic violence, studying the impacts of Domestic & Family Violence (DFV) on children's development & mental health. Tomoko coordinates our services and is the group leader of 2 to 6 years Child-Centred Play Therapy Group and offers Individual Child-Centred Play Therapy for children aged 2 to 11. To all the children who come under her care, Tomoko is affectionately known as Tomo. 


Robyn More, Group Facilitator

Robyn is a caring and compassionate woman who has faithfully contributed her time and talents to Paradise Kids since 2005 in a variety of ways. This includes being Grief & Loss Buddy then a Grief and Loss Group Facilitator, working alongside young girls in our Girls' Group and being one of the buddies in our first ever our Eyes on Bullying program.

Robyn is passionate about supporting children after trauma. Making a difference in little people's lives is what keeps her going and seeing the children transform into confident, caring, resilient and healthy individuals. Since 2012 she has assisted our financial department with her bookkeeping skills. Robyn also helps the wider community by serving as a Justice of the Peace and was a Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Volunteer. For her extensive volunteering, Robyn was recognised and shortlisted as one of three finalists for the 2017 International Volunteers Day, Volunteer awards at a ceremony on the Gold Coast.