You’re building community across cultures

Part of Australia’s beauty is found in its diversity. But diversity without a shared sense of community can lead to sharp divisions. Through your generous support and a grant…

Part of Australia’s beauty is found in its diversity. But diversity without a shared sense of community can lead to sharp divisions.

Through your generous support and a grant from Department of Home Affairs, SU Camps have launched the its first CHAT Super Sports Camp. These events bring campers together, helping them better understand and engage with different cultures and beliefs.

17-year-old lta, who comes from a Samoan background, first heard about the camp through her local church pastor.

“I went along with some people from my church,” lta says.

“My favourite sport was basketball – it was competitive and really fun.

“Even though I didn’t have any school friends with me on camp – I made new friends from different backgrounds and cultures.”

As much as she enjoyed the sport, lta says her favourite part of camp was the group chats after sport ended each day.

“Someone new would get up and speak about how they came to Australia and what it was like in their home country,” lta says.

“I really engaged with it – just hearing what they went through and how life was different for them.

“It changed my perspective. Their lives were so much harder and tougher than what I’ve been through here – a lot of them experienced racism.”

Camp Director Troy Wilson felt inspired and encouraged after seeing cultural barriers break down over the five-day camp.

“The goal is to get kids from different cultural backgrounds to come together, have fun and learn about one another in a safe space,” Troy says.

“Sport is the perfect medium for this. We had some kids who couldn’t speak English really well, but once you got them on a court or a playing field they understood how to work together to score a goal or get a ball over a net.”

The camp had a positive impact on lta. She said she’ll definitely come along to the next CHAT Camp.

“It’s a really memorable experience and heaps of fun too. It taught me that no matter what religion, culture or belief we have, we are still the same in that our humanity makes us ‘one’ – and regardless of our differences and difficulties culturally, we can overcome them all,” lta says.

Your support makes camps like this possible. We couldn’t do it without you. To find out how you can get behind camps like this one, head to suqld.org.au/camps or email camps@suqld.org.au

Posted: 5/03/2020

New SU QLD Training equips Charissa to change lives

For 34 years SU QLD has been training the next generation of youth workers through formal qualifications and internship-based programs. Through your support, we have launched a new qualification –…

For 34 years SU QLD has been training the next generation of youth workers through formal qualifications and internship-based programs.

Through your support, we have launched a new qualification – a Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care (CHC42315). We’re already hearing encouraging stories from students who have completed the qualification.

Charissa registered for the first intake of the nine-month course, which equips students with the foundations they need to work as a school chaplain.

“I loved how even though most of the course was online – the sense of community was really strong. The trainers had lots of real-life experience in youth work too, which was really valuable as a student,” says Charissa.

After graduating, Charissa secured a job as the school chaplain for St Bernard State School. She says the training equipped her with skills she is now using in her work each day.

“Probably the most useful thing I learnt was how to have effective pastoral conversations with young people,” Charissa says.

“It’s all about helping them [the young person] to think about what they want to do in the situation rather than giving them the easy answers or putting your own bias on it.

“That was huge for me because before I’d just want to swoop in, fix all their problems and be the rescuer – but it’s actually about giving them the power to make those key decisions for themselves.”

Alanna Sorrensen, SU Training’s Delivery Manager, says the new Certificate IV in Chaplaincy is a great way to get the training and qualifications you need to work effectively as a chaplain.

“The course ensures students are properly trained and equipped to provide support as a chaplain, and only takes nine months to complete,” Alanna says.

“Intakes are open all the time, with new cohorts starting every second month throughout the year.

“It’s a great option for people who want to be equipped to make a difference to the next generation.”

If you have a passion for helping young people and want to make a difference, a Cert IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care (CHC42315) may be for you!

Visit training.suqld.org.au to find out more about starting your qualification in Youth Work or Chaplaincy.

Please note: The completion of a qualification with Scripture Union Queensland (RTO 30548) does not guarantee employment in school chaplaincy with Scripture Union Queensland or other school chaplaincy employing authorities.

Posted: 4/03/2020

You’re creating safe spaces for our children

Stepping into high school is a massive step for many children. Everyone looks so much bigger, the workload and expectations (both academically and socially) rise. As parents it can…

Stepping into high school is a massive step for many children. Everyone looks so much bigger, the workload and expectations (both academically and socially) rise. As parents it can be stomach-wrenching enough, but for the individual child, it’s even more daunting.

For Chappy Deb, she’s passionate about supporting all young people, but she has a special heart for these young ones in transition.

One way she does this is through her A2B program, which your support is making possible in schools right around Queensland.

In 2019 the entire seventh grade went through the program at Kuranda District State College, and loved every minute of it.

“A2B is all about teaching life skills. I like to describe it as ‘understanding more about myself, others and the world,” says Chappy Deb.

“I am so passionate about this program. It covers some of the key issues young people are going through starting school. We learn things about identity, physical and emotional well-being, personalities, friendships, teamwork, anger responses, purpose and potential.”

“I use A2B as a tool for the students to understand themselves better, and learn how to better relate to others in their cohort. It also shows them that I am someone they can go to when they have issues, and that I’m someone they can trust.”

12-year old Joel says that the program created the space for him to have real-life conversations and ask some big questions.

“My favourite part of the program was getting to be all together and talk about life and emotions and things you don’t get to talk about in class. It was a safe space,” says Joel.

The program has helped foster a strong sense of community at Kuranda, which features a mix of students from indigenous, low socio-economic and high academic backgrounds.

“This program helps our young people understand the uniqueness and commonalities of individuals in their town. Even though these students come from totally different backgrounds, it shows them they still have things in common and can encourage each other when they’re facing challenges,” says Chappy Deb.

“The teachers also found the program hugely beneficial. It enabled them to see their students in a different context, as they saw students taking on various leadership responsibilities.”

Thanks to your support our children and young people are discovering more about themselves, others and the world around them. Your generosity is making a big difference! To help our young people continue to discover their meaning and purpose, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 4/02/2020

Because of you, Jonan finished the race

Chaplains are desperately needed in our schools for many reasons. Amidst all the programs, breakfast clubs, fundraisers and events, our Chappies are there to look after the social, emotional…

Chaplains are desperately needed in our schools for many reasons. Amidst all the programs, breakfast clubs, fundraisers and events, our Chappies are there to look after the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of young people like Jonan.

Through your selfless and big-hearted support, Jonan’s story today is a very different one. He was very nearly another tragic statistic, but because of your support, the Charters Towers alumni was given a second chance.

“Jo would never have finished school if it wasn’t for Chappy Sharon,” says mum, Sue.

“His dad died when he was ten. Jo was diagnosed with ADD, Tourette’s and Sensory Integration Dysfunction. By the time he got to Grade 10, he’d lost his way. Because of his ADD, Jo would lose his concentration every two minutes, and over Grade 11 and 12 he saw Chappy Sharon on a regular basis. She sat by his side, constantly reminding him to keep on track with his work.”

“Mind you, Jo wasn’t an angel! We begged the school to give him another chance. The school agreed, but with conditions. At first I just sat and cried, fearing that Jo wouldn’t be able to meet the conditions they set.”

Despite the mountain that loomed ahead of him, Jonan began to climb one step at a time and Chappy Sharon never left his side.

“I confided in Chappy Sharon as a friend, and she helped me through. When it felt like I would fail, Chappy was the one who stood by my side and said, ‘Jo, you can do this,’” says Jonan.

“I wanted the experience of finishing school and graduating with my friends, and Chappy Sharon kept me focused. She helped me make a plan, and she rallied other teachers to help.”

“There are heaps of kids like me who are struggling and need extra support to keep on track. They need a chaplain just like I did.”

Chappy Sharon knew Jonan had it in him to succeed – he just needed to know someone believed in him.

“I sat by Jo’s side and provided educational support for eighteen months. He was always on the verge of walking out of class, but when he did he’d come straight to my office. I knew he needed to let it out (with lots of colourful language) and I was there to listen,” says Chappy Sharon.

“Truthfully, it was really tricky working in that space. But watching Jo keep on going and not give up made it worth it.”

“The walk I got to go on with Jo’s mum was also really valuable. Sue was anxious about her son’s future, but my heart was to bring peace to the situation and encourage her too.”

Through your faithfulness, Chappy Sharon was there for Jonan and Sue in a season of uncertainty, and was there to celebrate with the family when Jonan came out the other side victorious.

“In the end, Jo got his QCE. And four months later, he was offered the job of a Drillers Offsider, for which the minimum requirement was his Grade 12 certificate!” says Sue.

“It was a fight to the end, but I’m so grateful Chappy Sharon was there. Facing the possibility of having your child not finish school, and missing out on their full potential is an awful feeling. Chappy Sharon lifted such a burden for me.”

Thank you for supporting chappies across Queensland schools.

Your generosity means that chappies like Sharon, who are inspired by their faith, are there supporting our young people in need. To keep this vital support in our schools visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 15/01/2020

From helped to helper – your support shaped Shakira’s story

Shakira’s story with chaplaincy began when she was a little ‘preppie’. She’d just lost her cousin after a terrible accident. Too young to make sense of the tragedy, she…

Shakira’s story with chaplaincy began when she was a little ‘preppie’. She’d just lost her cousin after a terrible accident. Too young to make sense of the tragedy, she found comfort spending time in the Chappy Room at Alexandra Hills State School. 

Through your support, someone was there for Shakira in her time of grief and confusion – Chappy Terry.

By Grade 4, Shakira had discovered a passion for helping others in times of need. Inspired, Chappy Terry awarded her with a badge and the title ‘Chappy Helper’.

Now in Grade 10, Shakira is still actively involved with her old primary school’s chaplaincy program, and is grateful for Chappy Terry’s encouragement all those years ago. 

“It’s hard to sum up how much chaplaincy has made a difference in my life. It’s lovely to know there’s a safe space in the school where there is a person or a group of people who you can rely on,” says Shakira.

“As a Chappy Helper, I would run little games at lunch, monitor the younger children and make sure everyone was okay and having a good time. I really enjoyed getting to know people from other grades, and being recognised around the school as someone they could go to if they needed help.”

Shakira reflects that being a student visiting the Chappy Room was quite different to being a Chappy Helper, but some things stayed the same.

“I would talk to Chappy Terry about anything I felt concerned or upset about, particularly with friendship issues. People can be a bit nasty, and Chappy Terry would encourage me to think about the situation from a different perspective,” says Shakira.

“Later, I really loved being a Chappy Helper because it gave me a platform to help others and share how Chappy Terry helped me.”

 

Chappy Terry recognised Shakira’s natural gift for leadership, and was blown away by her willingness to get involved.

“Ever since she was young, Shakira has always been such a strong supporter of chaplaincy. It’s so wonderful to see that the connection to chaplaincy doesn’t fade – that these young people still feel comfortable popping back in even after they’ve left,” says Chappy Terry.

“Shakira comes in to say hello and bakes a chocolate weet-bix slice as a sweet treat for the students at our Friday Chappy Breakfast. She has a beautiful story about how powerful chaplaincy has been for her. ”

Thanks to your generous support, students like Shakira are journeying past the pain into a bright future, knowing they have someone by their side every step of the way. Your support makes this possible. Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

 

Posted: 15/01/2020

Lauren’s gifts from the heart

Through your support school communities across Queensland are being blessed by the everyday actions of their school chaplains. But as Chappy Carol from Vienna Woods State School can attest…

Through your support school communities across Queensland are being blessed by the everyday actions of their school chaplains.

But as Chappy Carol from Vienna Woods State School can attest to, the blessings often flow both ways.

When she first met a big-hearted young girl named Lauren, she was moved by her compassion for those in need. What followed has been a partnership that continues to bless and impact her local community.

Since she was in prep, Lauren has given away her birthday presents to those in need.

This selfless act started after the Queensland floods, when Lauren saw the devastation that affected other kids in her class. The following year, six year old Lauren and her mum, Deb, contacted a chaplain through the Radio Station 96.5, and gave gifts to a little girl whose house burnt down.

On the invitation to her birthday parties, Lauren writes specific details of someone in need and the people at her party bring gifts to be passed on anonymously.

Over the last eight years, Lauren has helped a man suffering from cancer, a lonely teenage girl and a family who lost their mum. 

“I know that money can’t buy happiness, but it can make a difference when it makes people feel special,” Lauren says.

Since she was in prep, Lauren has been giving away her birthday presents to those in need.

The process of selecting a special ‘someone’ each year, led to partnering with local chaplains who are the heartbeat of their communities, explains Deb, who also volunteers with the Local Chaplaincy Committee.

“Chaplains know that perfect person who needs a little bit of encouragement,” Deb says.

“Over the years they’ve played a really important role for Lauren, because they’ve been our gift registry!

“It’s a very joyful journey. I get a warm-fuzzy smile thinking about it.”

Chappy Carol says the partnership between chaplaincy and families is incredibly important.

“This family, everything they do is about giving. Lauren is very generous and her mum, Deb is always thinking of ways to bless others. As a chaplain, I get the best job of sharing the love around,” Chappy Carol says.

Lauren has started a beautiful tradition of generosity that will last for many years to come.

Your support helps make partnerships like Lauren and Chappy Carol’s possible. Please help keep this going. Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 2/12/2019

Chappy celebrated for going “above and beyond”

A massive congratulations to Gympie State High School’s beloved Chaplain Joy Mahoney, who was thrilled to discover she’d been nominated for the 15th Pride of Australia Award in October…

A massive congratulations to Gympie State High School’s beloved Chaplain Joy Mahoney, who was thrilled to discover she’d been nominated for the 15th Pride of Australia Award in October this year.

The Award is designed to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Australians who are making a difference in their communities. Those who know Chappy Joy are the first to say she is doing a wonderful job as she selflessly sows into her community each and every day.

Chappy Joy is a devoted chaplain who strongly believes in her call to chaplaincy, and works whole-heartedly to brighten the lives of everyone around her.

“For me it’s not just supporting people who are going through crisis, but walking alongside young people and their families towards a future of hope,” says Chappy Joy.

“One thing I love is supporting people to function in a healthy way so their future is not dictated by their past.

“My work lets me uncover the genuine gold in people. Getting this nomination was unexpected, but also made me very grateful for the community I’ve been placed in. I couldn’t do it without their support!”

Chappy Joy, you certainly live up to your name! Thank you so much for all you do in your community, and congratulations on this nomination – terrific work!

Chappies like Joy are making a massive difference in communities across Queensland. If you feel the call to chaplaincy, visit suqld.org.au/morehands to find out more.

Posted: 18/11/2019

You helped these boys become overcomers

If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly. Young…

If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly.

Young people who anger easily and struggle to control their behavior can have a huge impact on the pace and feel of a camp. But the truth is, they can feel isolated and alone.

Don Truss’s heart for these at-risk youth spurred him to assemble a team of leaders to launch Overcomers Camp. The camp, which ran for the first time in the 2019 June/July school holidays, hosted 17 boys from South and Central Queensland schools.

The boys came from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some had a parent in trouble with the law or came from broken homes, while others had experienced alcoholism or substance abuse first-hand – or even a combination of all. The camp focused on loving and supporting these young people through a week of fun, yet sometimes messy activities.

“I guess the heart behind it is to support boys who are going through major challenges internally and don’t know how to express it without acting out or getting angry,” Don says.

“A bunch came off suspensions at school – when they feel threatened they often answer with their fists, which gets them into trouble. The week gave us a great chance to speak into that space, showing God’s love and giving them alternatives to the physical responses they often default to.”

The camp was themed around military history – focusing on how character and mateship are crucial for any good soldier.

“On the first day, we ran team challenges where the boys and leaders had to get everyone through obstacles in thick mud,” Don recalls.

“One of the rules was to get through together – no man left behind – so we got sent back to the start a lot of times!

“But in the end, they got through it together and the feeling of success as a group was such a powerful way to start camp.”

On top of the mud-based activities the boys conquered a range of obstacle courses, had flour bomb fights, explored tunnels together and ended the week zipping around in dirt buggies.

12-year-old camper Eli had a great time on camp.

“My favourite part was going through the mud,” Eli recalls.

“I think it’s important to have fun in life – this camp was heaps of fun and much more.

“I’d love to come again, and I’ll make sure I bring more of my mates with me!”

Overcomers Camp introduces 17 at-risk campers to aspects of leadership, responsibility, self-control, respect, forgiveness and mateship.

Thanks to your support, at-risk teens in regional communities are growing through tough circumstances at camps like Overcomers. Keep this vital support going – visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 7/11/2019

Trek through our heartland launches new chappy services

In July, Scripture Union Queensland and Inspired Adventures partnered to send a team of passionate supporters to trek the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. A group of 14…

In July, Scripture Union Queensland and Inspired Adventures partnered to send a team of passionate supporters to trek the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.

A group of 14 big-hearted SU QLD supporters undertook the 6 day challenge to ensure the vital work of school chaplaincy continues. The team hiked 60+ kilometres across Australia’s beautiful, rugged and formidable red centre – and raised an incredible $55,461!

Through the funds these amazing adventurers raised (and a massive thanks to you wonderful people who supported them) we’ve been able to launch two new chaplaincy services, while also providing support to four existing services.  For long-time SU QLD supporters, Wendy Phillpotts and husband Steve, the trek meant so much more knowing what it was in support of.

“Larapinta was fantastic – the highlight of my year! We’ve had a long-term involvement with SU and chaplaincy, so it wasn’t a hard decision. Right from the start, we knew it was going to be achievable but still a challenge,” says Wendy.

“We had 3 chaplains in our group, which was wonderful. Getting to see the gifting’s they have, and hear about how they are using those in their schools was incredible. It was great to meet other people who are like-minded.”

Along with the community building, Wendy was blown away by the diversity of the landscape.

“The scenery was breathtaking. We trekked through massive gorges, sandy riverbeds and rock-hopped on rocks that were purple, pink and blue. At night we got to sleep under the stars in a swag, which was a new experience for me. It was a spectacle to see the shooting stars, and watch the moon moving across the sky.”

Steve and Wendy Phillpotts – long-time supporters of SU QLD

 

Also taking part in the adventure, SU QLD Regional Manager for Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay, Kerry Evans, says the trek not only had an impact on those who took part, but it will now positively impact children in his local community.

“These funds have been fundamental in getting new school chaplaincy services started in schools that have never had a chaplain.

“The journey was more challenging than I was expecting, but seeing the need for teamwork and encouragement every day out on the trail showed me that by working together, we really can make a difference in the lives of young people.”

Kerry Evans – Regional Manager for Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay

 

A massive congratulations to this amazing group of people who have put in an incredible effort to raise money for school chaplaincy. And thank you to all those who supported the team financially and prayerfully.

Posted: 22/10/2019

You were there when Kate felt alone

Families are not built to break, but sadly they do. Often children suffer the brunt of the consequences, and are left feeling unsafe, insecure and alone. Kate’s* parents separated…

Families are not built to break, but sadly they do. Often children suffer the brunt of the consequences, and are left feeling unsafe, insecure and alone.

Kate’s* parents separated when she was 7 years old. She felt alone in the world.

At her greatest moment of heartbreak and anguish, Kate found someone to lean on in her time of need – her school chaplain, Jen. You made this possible.

“I first met Kate in Grade 3 after her mum asked me to check in on her,” Chappy Jen says.

“She was extremely anxious – she wasn’t sleeping, which made her tired, which gave her headaches so she couldn’t concentrate on her work. It was a horrid cycle.

“She would grind her teeth nervously at school and her anxiety led to some really serious tummy pains.”

She was struggling with her feeling like her family wasn’t normal. Kate’s parents had separated.

“She was sad because she felt she didn’t have a normal family, so we talked about what a ‘normal family’ looked like,” Chappy Jen recalls. 

“I helped her see that each family is beautifully unique, and got her to think about the positives she could see in her situation.”

Kate said that through the support of Chappy Jen she was also able to access additional support to help her through.

“I felt like I was the only person in the world going through a family separation because I didn’t see any of my friends with the same problems,” Kate recalls.

“I was young enough to start, but not fully process the situation, so it just made me feel anxious and sad. This had a big impact on my school work – I struggled concentrating and my grades went down.”

Chappy Jen was there each week for Kate, which eventually helped her see the situation in a different light.

“She’d just speak to me like a friend would, but we didn’t always talk about the situation – sometimes we’d do drawings or play Skip-Bo,” Kate says.

“I remember her showing me a statistic that 1-in-4 families go through something similar to what I was going through, which made me feel way better. Just knowing I wasn’t the only one in the world who this was happening to made it more manageable.

“I remember one day she helped me write a letter to my dad to tell him how I was feeling. I never ended up showing dad the letter, but just writing it down took a huge weight off me.”

The impact this support had was incredible. In Grade 6 Kate was named school captain. Her mother Elise* learnt the value of chaplaincy firsthand through the process – and she couldn’t be more grateful.

“I don’t really know why I first went to Chappy Jen – but I’m glad I did,” Elise recalls.

“I guess I knew she was there in the school – it seemed like a good place to go and check on how Kate was doing.

“Jen recognised that she needed support, talked to me then referred her onto a GP to help her with her physical health issues.

“It’s really important for parents and families to have access to a chappy – it’s an invaluable service for those in need.”

Thanks to your support, school chaplains are there to support children like Kate through tough times. You can continue to support school chaplains at suqld.org.au/donate

*At the family’s request we have changed the names of certain individuals mentioned in this story. 

Posted: 15/10/2019

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