about us


Our Vision

To provide an opportunity for every young person to feel a sense of belonging

Our Mission

To train and support community members as they mentor young people

To partner with schools and the community in providing resource

To ensure the safety of children in accordance with the Victorian Child Safe Standards

Our Values

The Standing Tall model of school-based mentoring is based on our:

• Values of integrity, trust, respect and shared responsibility.

• Belief that the benefits of mentoring come from the development of a trusting relationship and all practices of the program are designed to allow this to take place.

• Aim to deliver a program where all participants are valued. 


Who We Are

The Standing Tall in Warrnambool committee consists of 10 passionate members from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to providing an opportunity for all young people in our community and tirelessly work together and with our community partners to achieve this.


Matty Stewart - Program Coordinator

Matty took on the role of Program Coordinator in early 2015, after being a mentor the previous year. He is involved in several community organisations including Ambassador for the Great South Coast Ice Challenge and the Let’s Talk suicide prevention program. He juggles his community commitments with his pizza shop Town & Country Pizza & Pasta, his Radio Breakfast show which he co-presents with his best mate on Coast FM and his weekend role calling the local football on 882 3YB. Matty is supported by his wife and their three children.

Ross Morey - President

Ross has been Chair of Standing Tall in Warrnambool since its incorporation in 2011. He has a breadth of management experience across a diverse range of industry sectors. Ross has a passion for helping youth and giving them the self-belief to achieve their goals.

Ross is a Member of the Australian Marketing Institute, has a Cert IV Training & Assessment and his MBA. Married to Kerri, a teacher at Brauer College, Ross gets to hear all about how the kids are travelling and the differences STiW makes. 


Tania Ross - Secretary

Tania is the Student Wellbeing Co-ordinator at Warrnambool Special Development School, she holds an education in Psychology having completed her Bachelor Degree in 2015. She is very committed to social justice and supporting vulnerable members of the community. Tania and her husband Aaron spent a number of years traveling and living overseas, this experience provided invaluable life lessons, which they now impart and share with their three boys.

Elizabeth was instrumental in bringing Standing Tall to Warrnambool. She was consequently involved in the development of the STiW program, and has continued her involvement as a Committee member since its inception. She was both a teacher and a school Chaplain over many years at Brauer College. Elizabeth is currently the STiW Secretary.

Emma McDonald Photo.jpg

Emma McDonald

Emma is new to the COM in 2018 after commencing in a mentor role in 2017. She has a Bachelor and Master of Education and has worked in the Education field for over 15 years both in Melbourne and Regional Victoria. Emma has a strong passion for youth engagement and well-being and is currently employed at South West TAFE as the Senior Educator of VCAL and Youth Programs. Emma and her husband David have 3 young children and through both of their work roles, have witnessed the significance that support and mentoring can bring to a young person in crisis. She looks forward to continuing this important work through Standing Tall.

Matthew Burgess - Vice President

Matthew is born and bred in Warrnambool and is currently Dealer Principal of Warrnambool Toyota. He is married with two young girls and has a passion for ensuring our youth have every opportunity to succeed as they are the future of our great city. Matthew loves fishing and AFL football he follows Essendon and North Warrnambool Eagles locally. He is a passionate and committed mentor at Warrnambool College.


Mick Absalom

Mick is a Senior Educator at South West Institute of TAFE Primary Healthcare division and spent 7 years as an elected Councillor with the Corangamite Shire. With partner Megan they have 6 children between us and he see’s every day the pressures that are on families and young people, and strongly believe in the mantra of any assistance for anyone in need invaluable.

Mike Toone

Married to Jenny with 6 children. Lived in Warrnambool for past two years. Retired in 2010 after 50 years in the workforce - 40 of those in media as a Sales Manager and General Manager of radio stations in Mildura, Horsham, Albury, Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast.

Mike has coached under age football (under 14s, 16s and 18s) for many years. He is a member of Warrnambool East Rotary. Mike is a mentor for Standing Tall as well as Committee member.


Adam Taylor - Treasurer

Adam Taylor is currently the Finance Manager at Corangamite Shire Council and has worked in finance for 15 years. Whilst completing the Leadership Great South Coast program in 2015, Adam worked in a small team to produce a prospectus for fundraising on behalf of Standing Tall. After seeing the great work completed by the program, he was offered a position on the Committee and happily accepted. Adam is married to Jenna and they have a daughter and Son.

Michael Harris

Michael has lived in and around Warrnambool since 2000, is married with two school-aged children, Michael joined the STiW Committee in 2014 and is the current Chair of the Operations Sub-committee. In 2015, he was instrumental in developing and implementing regular and formalised program and outcomes evaluation. This has enabled the ability to collect statistical evidence outlining the benefit of the STiW program for both youth and community, as well as providing the Committee with feedback on potential improvements.

Michael is a qualified Social Worker and currently is employed at South Western Centre Against Sexual Assault, South West Healthcare. He brings nearly twenty years’ experience in working with children, young people and families, in a range of service settings including private practise, child protection, mental health, education, rehabilitation, chronic illness, trauma and substance misuse.