Benwerren is predominantly run by volunteers. Our team is committed to the values of Benwerren and have a heart to see women and children whole and fulfilled. Some of our volunteers have been helped by Benwerren in the past and are now in a position to give back.
Our staff are trained in a variety of areas, each with unique life experiences. All have a commitment to the teachings of Jesus and are dedicated in demonstrating His love to others at Benwerren.
Dawn Develyn – President, Chief Executive Officer
Saradha Nanayakkara – Vice President
Susan Diggles – Director
Anita Mahoney – Director
Meet Benwerren CEO
Dawn grew up at Benwerren, a Christian guest house run by her family. She says “I was privileged to live my childhood in this beautiful setting. Along with my brothers, friends and guest children we experienced the freedom of exploring nature, the land, river and trees and the fresh air of the Yarra Valley. We had opportunities to be creative, having fun, games and concerts with the guests. My mum loved any excuse for a party. As children we worked hard at the guest house, but knew we were loved by God, family and friends. That is what I want for every child.”
Dawn was involved in teaching Sunday School from the age of 13. She believes there is great value in children contributing to their community at a young age. During her teen years, before and whilst training as a teacher, she organised local clubs alongside her brothers with mum cheering on the sides. She is a mother of 3 adult children and grandmother of 3. Dawn has taught for 20+ years in the Shire and still enjoys a morning with students at her grand-daughters school.
“For many years I watched, as together, my parents supported struggling families and individuals from the community. Mum would meet a person on the bus, within a short time tell them about Jesus and discover their struggles. She would then go home and share these with dad or the family and together they would work out how they could help in practical ways. My parents modelled hospitality, mercy and prayer and these have become an integral part of Benwerren.”
Whilst her mother had a life-long passion for supporting women, Dawn’s heart for children in particular, supported the development of the children’s program at Benwerren. “It is our heart that every mother have time and space to rest, reflect and connect with her children and that every child be given support required for them to develop to the best of their potential. (Maslows hierarchy of needs).
Over the years, Benwerren has evolved with the help of many, many volunteers and friends. Dawn has led the team at Benwerren for over 25 years carrying forward the vision from her mother.
Benwerren is a place of peace, connection, growth, hope and opportunity for many including it’s volunteers.