For most 11-year old Queensland girls the greatest challenges in life can be finding time for homework or falling out with a friend in the schoolyard.
At 11 years of age, Toowoomba schoolgirl Bree Himstedt had already been removed from her drug-addicted mother’s care to live with her ‘Nan’. She battled depression and had even contemplated taking her own young life. Then she met school chaplain Debbie Dodds.
“I felt really down and had ideas of suicide,” Bree said, “because then maybe my problems would go away.”
Mrs Dobbs knew how I was feeling and checked on me all the time. She looked for ways to help. Whenever she had special goodies she would always give me some. One time she gave Nan a huge basket full of food. This made Nan cry and Mrs Dobbs joined in with her.”
Debbie often spoke to her friends of Bree’s talent as a dancer, and through one of Debbie’s contacts Bree was offered a chance to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people at a high school dance performance.
“A wonderful dream is coming true and it’s all because of Mrs Dobbs,” Bree said.
That year Bree was offered a scholarship by her dance teacher with the Kiyua Performing Arts Group in Toowoomba.
Throughout High School Bree remained in regular contact with her chaplain even after changing schools. She attributes much of her success in life to the compassion shown by her chaplain in her early years at primary school.
This is the power of school chaplaincy – a legacy of lives changed and futures restored.
This is why we run. You too can change lives. Join the SU QLD Bridge to Brisbane team and help keep chaplains in schools for young people like Bree.