Horsing around reaps powerful change for Mikayla

Two years ago, Mikayla struggled with poor self-image and low self-esteem. Today, she’s a role model and an inspiration to others, including her best friend, who is now following…

Two years ago, Mikayla struggled with poor self-image and low self-esteem. Today, she’s a role model and an inspiration to others, including her best friend, who is now following in her footsteps.

Behind Mikayla’s massive transformation has been the loving support of her school chaplain, Erin, and her team of equine friends. You helped make that possible.

Allora P-10 State School chaplain, Erin Wilson, runs Mane Matters, a horse program that focusses on the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of students from diverse backgrounds.

“We’ve worked with young people with major behavioural disorders, some with backgrounds of abuse, and others who have autism. We’ve had both bullies and the bullied, and young people who are grappling with who they are and their place in the world,” Chappy Erin says.

Since joining the program, Mikayla has made huge strides in her confidence and overall sense of wellbeing – and her love of horses.

“I’m more confident getting up in front of people now. I’ve learned how to have a relationship based on mutual respect. It’s such an amazing feeling when you connect with a horse that chooses to work with you. Chappy Erin calls it a heart-to-heart moment,” Mikayla says.

The bond between the horses and students is a huge Catalyst for change
– a chance to build confidence, trust, and self-esteem.

For Mikalya, there’s one horse in particular that she’s connected with.

“Fuggles is my favourite. I’ve been involved in her training and rehabilitation from previous bad experiences. I’ve loved seeing her transform from a scared, antisocial pony to now being able to trust people,” says Mikayla.

Mane Matters is also about supporting young people to make meaningful connections with the horses – the benefits of which flow both ways.

“Fuggles was one of our rescue ponies with a background of trauma and we never thought she’d be a ‘program pony’ at all. But now she’s one of our best,” says Erin.

A big reason for this, Erin explains, is the love and support Mikayla and the other students have shown Fuggles.

“Horses show us a lot about ourselves. They can act like a mirror for what we’re feeling and how we’re behaving,” she says.

Chappy Erin has seen many young people start the program with no self-confidence. But before long, they find their courage and begin to flourish.

“It’s about getting them to remain calm and be gentle with the horses. When the children are calm, the horses respond. It’s like that verse in the Bible that says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. It’s in those calm and quiet times that we make those special connections,” she says.

Joining the Mane Matters program is not for the faint-hearted. There’s a lot of hard work involved and each student is expected to roll up their sleeves to help out. Mikalya is one who has risen to the challenge and is now mentoring others.

“I’ve seen a girl grow in confidence. I’ve seen her develop leadership skills and she’s really stepped into that mentoring role. It’s so encouraging to see,” says Chappy Erin.

Mikalya’s best friend, Sam, agrees.

“I decided to do this program after seeing the change in Mikayla’s life. I wanted what she had,” says Sam.

Your support is keeping chaplains like Erin in schools across Queensland. Thank you! 

To learn more about Chappy Erin’s Mane Matters program, check out the Facebook page, or to support her work directly, click here championyourchappy.everydayhero.com/au/erin-wilson

Posted: 5/02/2019

You helped Emily find her smile again

Emily never had the opportunity to be raised in a home with a mum and dad. For the past 10 years she, and her brothers, have lived with their…

Emily never had the opportunity to be raised in a home with a mum and dad. For the past 10 years she, and her brothers, have lived with their loving and devoted grandparents.

But when her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, Emily lost her reason to smile. Thanks to the support of friends like you, Chappy Sam’s been in her corner and there when she needed someone the most.

“Although we strived to give Emily and her brothers all we could, life has been difficult but Emily has never complained,” her grandmother Bettina explains.

“Until recently, she had always faced her fears and experienced life with a smile on her face. She’s always been helpful and kind, and strived to be the best she could be.

“However, since her grandad became ill, we noticed her confidence plummet and not so many smiles any more. She didn’t outwardly demonstrate her feelings but we could tell that it had affected her deeply.”

Enter Chappy Sam and a resilience program for students just like Emily.

“Emily used to come to my room with her friends before she did the program, to play Uno and hang out,” Chappy Sam says.

“I knew she lived with her grandparents and I felt she would benefit from the program and it would encourage her.

“The guidance officer, her teacher, and the principal agreed she would benefit from it, but we just were blown away with how the program has impacted her.”

Bettina was also shocked at the positive change she witnessed in her young granddaughter.

“Emily told us about the program and my first thought was, ‘That’d be wonderful!’.

“It’s hard enough going through the changes that are happening to her but she has a lot more on her plate, too. I had no idea just how much it would lift her up,” Bettina says.

“She became more confident, happier and content. I haven’t seen that glow in her for so many years; she was happier than l had seen in years.”

Your support for school chaplaincy is equipping young people like Emily with the strength and resilience they need to overcome some of their greatest hurdles. To keep this support going, and to keep chaplains there to help support young people like Emily, visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 17/01/2019

Not by might or power

Some boys grow up believing a lie; that to be a man you have to show you’re tough – not to be messed with. They believe their reputation for…

Some boys grow up believing a lie; that to be a man you have to show you’re tough – not to be messed with.

They believe their reputation for this type of ‘toughness’ is the only way. Ultimately, it’s a way of thinking that can lead them on a path of self-destruction.

Thankfully there is another way…

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Posted: 28/11/2018

Dawn is changing lives with spare change

Ten years ago, Dawn Barrie saw a need and decided to fill it… with 50 cent coins. In her youth, Dawn had been profoundly impacted on Christian camps like…

Ten years ago, Dawn Barrie saw a need and decided to fill it… with 50 cent coins.

In her youth, Dawn had been profoundly impacted on Christian camps like those run by SU QLD. When she heard some young people couldn’t afford to go, she took action.

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Posted: 17/09/2018

If art imitates life, Moranbah’s in safe hands

Moranbah school chaplain Desley Kerr knows all too well the impact that domestic violence is having on children. “A single-parent family had been hiding here for years — the…

Moranbah school chaplain Desley Kerr knows all too well the impact that domestic violence is having on children.

“A single-parent family had been hiding here for years — the child never having been to a park or shop or played with friends because of threats to their lives,” she shared.

“I know of people who have spent the night hiding outside in bushes because they didn’t feel safe to go into their own home.  Our children should never be too scared to be home!

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Posted: 17/09/2018

Your support put these children in a league of their own

When our children watch their rugby league heroes in action on the footy field, they don’t always see the best examples of how to conduct themselves. Thanks to your…

When our children watch their rugby league heroes in action on the footy field, they don’t always see the best examples of how to conduct themselves.

Thanks to your support, one group of students at Eagleby State School are setting a great example for our highly paid superstars as part of a special rugby league program set up by their school chaplain, Nick Carroll.

“When I started as a school chaplain in 2012, I did all the pastoral care, but found it too reactive,” Chappy Nick recalls.

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Posted: 20/08/2018

Tour de Chaplain a show of support for chappies

More than 90 bike riders hit the highway for Tour de Chaplain – a gruelling 100km journey to raise awareness and funds for school chaplaincy in Central Queensland. From…

More than 90 bike riders hit the highway for Tour de Chaplain – a gruelling 100km journey to raise awareness and funds for school chaplaincy in Central Queensland.

From the town of Many Peaks to Yurwun, the riders battled cold, wind, and exhaustion to finish the journey, raising more than $23,000 for 12 chaplains who work at 19 schools in the Gladstone region.

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Posted: 30/07/2018

Chaplaincy’s safe space brings family together

Tantrums, trauma and tears were once part of the morning routine for Cleveland mum Tina and her daughters, Danneka and Natasha – both of whom suffer from anxiety and…

Tantrums, trauma and tears were once part of the morning routine for Cleveland mum Tina and her daughters, Danneka and Natasha – both of whom suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.

Thankfully, your support means those dark days are becoming distant memories for the family, who have since found solace and solutions through their school chaplain Tanya, and the room at school she calls home – Yanggabarra.

“Yanggabarra is a local Quandamooka word, which translates to ‘a safe place to be’,” Chappy Tanya explains.

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Posted: 16/07/2018

You’re breaking the cycle for at-risk Queenslanders

The A2B program is held on the land of the Darumbal, Wadja Wadja and Gungulu people. Indigenous students at Woorabinda State School in Central Queensland have been negotiating a…

The A2B program is held on the land of the Darumbal, Wadja Wadja and Gungulu people.

Indigenous students at Woorabinda State School in Central Queensland have been negotiating a “Bro Code” as part of SU QLD’s A2B program, supported by TEAR Australia.

The 16-week A2B program for at-risk youth aims to break negative habits and behavioural cycles by helping young people critically evaluate their experiences in school and in the community.

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Posted: 16/07/2018

A moment of growth you made possible

Many young people don’t have a ‘safe place’ where they can let their guard down and feel accepted without judgment. Remedying this issue is at the heart of SU QLD’s…

Many young people don’t have a ‘safe place’ where they can let their guard down and feel accepted without judgment.

Remedying this issue is at the heart of SU QLD’s camping ministry, which provides a range of fun, safe camps where young people can experience joy and love within a community.

It’s this love that Claire* saw transform her grandson after six days on SU QLD’s Summer UberTweak camp last year.

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Posted: 4/06/2018

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Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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