Aaron Smith, National I.Lead Co-Ordinator

Aaron is responsible for co-ordinating all things I.Lead.  He is passionate about empowering young people to achieve their full potential and is a strong advocate for youth-led co-creation, co-development and co-delivery. Working with young people from within the disability community to help bring about a more inclusive community through the provision of youth-led projects designed […]

Kevin Park, Social Media & Web Management Facilitator

He is from South Korea, but he lives in New Zealand at the moment. He has become a Christian since 2011. He has been a Christian writer since 2013, and He also has been a student at Carey Baptist College, studying biblical studies & theology since 2016. He is involved and ministering at Waiheke Island […]

Tanya Ashdown, Office and Projects Administration Coordinator

She joined YES Disability recently and is really excited to become a part of our team. Sonia told her that no day would be the same, and she was right, including Fires! She is married (for a really long time – 27 years) and has two children – Caitlin (24) and Connor (20). I previously […]

Jason Alexander, Chair

Jason is our Board Chair and has a strong background in technology working for various organisations in New Zealand and overseas. Jason currently works as the General Manager of Innovation and Strategy for a non-profit public health organisation based in West Auckland as well as running his own web design and development company. Jason was […]

Funders & Partners

A Special Thanks to the following people and organisations that help YES make a difference Corporate Sponsors Benefitz NZ Davanti Consulting Partners Benefitz NZ Grants and Donations Ara Taiohi Auckland Council (Local Boards) Auckland Foundation COGS Foundation North LeVA Lion Foundation Lindsay Foundation Lotteries Commission Matariki Trust Ministry of Education Ministry of Pacific Peoples Ministry […]

Lion Foundation House

The Lion Foundation House is the home of a number of organisations specialising in supportive services and advice committed to making a difference in Aotearoa.

Sonia Thursby, CEO

Sonia Thursby has worked in the Youth & Disability sector in New Zealand for over 25 years, with extensive prior experience in the UK. As a trusted ally to the sector, she has been able to put the voice of youth with disabilities at the forefront of every board she has been a part of, including […]

Cam Calkoen, Ambassador

Cam Calkoen is our Ambassador for YES, and has lived disability experience through cerebral palsy.  He is an inspirational public speaker and has been a key driving force in the creation of YES and our services.  Cam is also an athlete and narrowly missed representing New Zealand at the 2008 Paralympics.

Karen Ellis, Finance Manager / Accountant

Karen is the finance Manager/Accountant of YES and is a qualified accountant. She is responsible for everything related to the finances of YES including the accounts, payments, and payroll.  She has life experience with a disability, as she is deaf with cochlear implants, and just loves meeting and working with young people with disabilities.  Her varied […]


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