Our People

Deirdre Hanna, Founder of Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. 

As Founder of Hopewell Hospice (1993) and Paradise Kids (1996), Deirdre has many years of experience in 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 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, health care and all things Integral. Currently she is managing Hopewell Education Services to pass on her wealth of knowledge and passion to all who attend our courses. For her full story please see the Our Family section of this website.


Mark Hunter, CEO of Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. 

In 2016 we welcomed Mark as CEO, he brings a blend of leadership, speaking, coaching and educational skills to the role. Mark has a passion for teaching and was a School Principal for over 30 years. Mark has been Chair of Greater Brisbane Disability Council, a Policy and Program Developer for the Department of Education and continues to Life Coach. Long before Mark became CEO he was an esteemed Volunteer Companion and Receptionist to our hospice residents. In 2001, Mark committed to improving his capacity to develop others' potential by training as a life-coach, a skill he still uses to support and improve the performance of others. In 2009, Mark won the Toastmasters World Championships of Public Speaking, a journey that took him over 10 years. He has a book on Leadership, “The Voice of the Bonsai - A Conversation on Leadership”, which is available via his website, www.markhunter.com.au. Mark’s experience with compassionate service to children and adults will propel our 2017 goals and help get accreditation for Paradise Kids. This will assist in increasing funding to continue and expand our services to Gold Coast families.


Calliopi Hooper, Paradise Kids Manager

Callie joined Paradise Kids in May 2015 as a Field Placement Student whilst studying her Counselling degree. Upon graduation, in May 2016, Callie was appointed to the position of Paradise Kids Manager, bringing a remarkable balance of business acumen and counselling skills with her. Callie's focus is providing initial support to families and our Illness Support Holiday Program, providing sponsored accommodation for children with a terminal or a life-limiting illness and their families to come from rural and remote areas for a Gold Coast Holiday. Callie is instrumental in building the professional standing of Paradise Kids by building partnerships in the corporate world, with like-minded local community members and our local schools. Callie is striving toward expanding our programs further including a PK program for schools and strongly believes this can be achieved in view of the amazing support we have through our current staff, volunteers, community members and organisations, and supporters within our local government.


Mireille Allan, Program Manager

Mireille is a trained grief and loss counsellor, and an experienced manager with a background in HR Management. She has a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy and has worked for Paradise Kids since 2001 as a session leader, adult facilitator, special events organiser and administrative coordinator. In the training programs she has a specialised role in the use of art for personal awareness and working with children’s art. She also teaches a course for parents of young children on Child Parent Relationship Training and a professional training program on Child Centred Play Therapy. One of Mireille many roles is facilitator of a support group for parents grieving the death of a child and overseer of our interns and our buddies.


Dr Pamela Chalip, Senior Counsellor and Team Leader

Pamela has been instrumental in the development of the Paradise Kids programs and has been part of the management team and delivery of services beginning in 1999. Pamela’s background is in education and management. She has teaching experience in the public sector in New Zealand and the private sector in the USA. She also has management experience in the university and private sector in the USA. She is a qualified teacher and counsellor with a doctorate in counselling from Bond University, a master’s degree in educational psychology from Dalhousie University (Canada), and Bachelor of Education from Waikato University (New Zealand). Pamela is currently employed by Education Queensland as a Guidance Officer, working in local schools on the Gold Coast as well as working part-time as a children’s counsellor and team leader for the Grief and Loss Support and Eyes on Bullying Programs here at Paradise Kids. Pamela also works as part of the team that trains volunteers and provides personal development workshops for Hopewell Education Services. 


Tomoko Sakai, 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. Her 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 is the group leader of 2 to 5 years Play Therapy Group, supervisor of Child Parent Relationship Training (CPRT) group and offers individual play therapy for children aged 2 to 6. 


The Paradise Kids Team 

Penny (left), is our girls' group leader.

A group photo of our group leaders with our founder, Deirdre Hanna.                                                                                          (L-R): Geoff, our boys' group leader, Pamela, Mireille, Dee, Robyn and Linda.

Helen (right), performs all the administration tasks for Paradise Kids and ensures children are correctly placed into each program. You are likely to be greeted by her big smile and a friendly hello when you walk through the doors of Paradise Kids.